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Mandarin Chinese Sentence Patterns HSK Level 1.

Lesson 1

Structure

Subj. + Verb

You can form very simple sentences with just two words.

Examples

Subject Verb Translation


Nmen ch. You eat.
T xio. He laughs.
W d. I read.
N q. You go.
Nmen kn. You look.
N li. You come here!
W shu. I speak.
Hizi k. Children cry.
Shi yo xu? Who wants to study?
Shi xing wn? Who wants to play?

Lesson 2
Subject-verb-object
A basic sentence usually has an object, and is formed with this structure:

Structure

Subj. + Verb + Obj.

This is the same as in English, and is commonly referred to as SVO word order. You can express
a huge variety of things with this simple structure.

Examples

Subject Verb Object Translation


Tmen ch ru. They eat meat.
N h ch ma? Do you drink tea?
W q xuxio. I go to school.
T shu Zhngwn. He speaks Chinese.
N xhuan hizi ma? Do you like kids?
Wmen yo mi dinno. We want to buy a computer.
Nmen xing ch Zhnggu ci ma? Do you want to eat Chinese food?
W i n h bba. I love you and dad.
Tmen yo zu shnme? What do they want to do?
N xing q shnme dfang? What place do you want to go?
Lesson 3

with Verb Phrases


Structure

Since it is an adverb, (y) is inserted after the subject, before the verb or verb phrase.

Subj. + + Verb / [Verb Phrase]

Examples

W y xhuan. I also like it.


W y sh xusheng. I am a student too.
T y yu y g rzi. She also has a son.
Tmen y sh Fgu rn ma? Are they also French?
W y xing xu Zhngwn. I also want to study Chinese.
Tmen y hu q ma? Are they also going?
W mma y xhuan ch shujio. My mother likes to eat
boiled dumplings too.
Xiohi y ky h ji ma? Can kids drink alcohol too?
N y xing li w ji ma? Do you want to come to my house
too?
T y jude zh ge losh b ho. She also thinks this
teacher isn't good.

Let's take one more look at two different English sentences which mean the same thing, but can
result in bad Chinese if you translate word-for-word.

W y xhuan. I also like it.


W xhuan y. I like it too.

Note that the translation for the first sentence is "I also like it." The translation of the second
sentence is "I like it too," which is equally correct in English, but translated word-for-word into
Chinese, the (y) comes at the end of the sentence, which is 100% wrong in Chinese.

A Note on the Negative Form


Please note that in English, we replace the word "too" with "either" in negative sentences. For
example:

A:I like cats.


B:I like cats too.

A: I don't like cats.


B: I don't like cats either.

In Chinese, regardless of whether the sentence is positive ("I like them too") or negative ("I
don't like them either"), (y) is used the same way. Just make sure you put the (y) before
the (b) or other negative part that comes before the verb.

W y b xhuan. I don't like it either.


W y b zhdao. I don't know either.
T y mi yu. He doesn't have it either.
N y b xing li w ji ma? You don't want to come to my
house either?

Lesson 4

with Adjectives
Structure

(y) can also be used with adjectives. Remember that for simple "noun + adjective" sentences
you normally need to include an adverb like (hn) before the adjective. In that case, just put
the (y) before the adverb.

Subj. + (+ Adv.) + Adj.

Examples

N y hn go. You are also tall.


T y hn png. He is also fat.
W bba y hn shui. My dad is also handsome.
Hnn ci y hn l. Hunan food is very spicy too.
Zh zhng ji y hn hoh. This kind of alcohol is also good.
Zhge dfang y hn pioliang. This place is also pretty.
Zutin hn lng, jntin y hn lng. Yesterday was
cold, and today is also cold.
T shngq le? W y hn shngq! He got angry? I'm
also angry!
Zh ge wnti y hn mfan. This problem is also very
troublesome.
W jude zh ge cntng y hn ho. I think that this
restaurant is also good.

Expressing "me too" with


It can be tricky to know how to say "me too" when you first study (y), as you can't say "w
y" all by itself. That's not a complete sentence; you can't just leave (y) hanging there with
nothing after it.

The all-purpose correct sentence is "w y sh," which literally means, "I am too," but can also
stand in for "me too."

Structure

The correct structure uses the verb (sh):

The fills in for whatever was just said.W y sh. I am too. / Me too.
Always put something after ! It never ends a sentence.W y.

Examples

The "me too" structure works with other subjects, as well. But for these simple examples, we'll
stick to the classic (w) subject.

A: W sh Migu rn. I am an American.


B: W y sh.Me too. / I am too.

For this next one, you'll notice that the "me too" reply repeats the original verb (xhuan)
instead of using (sh). Both ways are possible.

A: W xhuan knsh. I like to read.


B: W y xhuan.Me too. / So do I.
Lesson 5

Structure For Time Sentences

In Chinese, time words can appear in one of two positions in the sentence: either at the beginning
of the sentence (before the subject), or directly after the subject. The structures are:

Time + Subj. + Verb + Obj.

Subj. + Time + Verb + Obj.

So if you start speaking with "time first" English word order, you can carry on and get away with
it. If, however, you're saving the time word for the end of the sentence, you can be pretty sure
that it doesn't sound at all natural to your Chinese audience.

Examples

Zutin w q le jib. Yesterday I went to the bar.


W zutin q le jib. I went to the bar yesterday.

Xi g xngq t yo hugu. Next week he is going back to his


country.
T xi g xngq yo hugu. He is going back to his country
next week.

Mngnin w yo ki y g gngs. Next year I want to


open a company.
W mngnin yo ki y g gngs. I want to open a
company next year.

Xi g yu wmen jihn ba? Next month shall we get


married?
Wmen xi g yu jihn ba? Shall we get married next
month?
Xinzi n nng li w bngngsh ma? Now you can
come to my office?
N xinzi nng li w bngngsh ma? Can you come to
my office now?

Lesson 6
Structure For Location Sectences
To indicate the location that a verb takes place in, (zi), followed by a location, comes before
the verb.

Subj. + + Place + Verb + Obj.

Notice that the location is placed before the verb in Chinese, whereas, in English, it appears
afterwards.

Examples
W zi Shnghi shng dxu. I went to college in Shanghai.
N yzh zi zh ji gngs gngzu ma? Have you
always been working in this company?
W zhum xing zi ji shujio. During the weekend, I want
to sleep at home.
need a "" with "" to indicate the location " on the bed." B
yo zi chung shng ch dngx. Don't eat food on the bed.
N xing zi nr ki shngr pidu? Where do you want
to have the birthday party?
need a "" with "" to indicate the location " in the
bathroom." T xhuan zi csu l chu yn. He likes to smoke in the bathroom.
need a "" with "" to indicate the location " in the
subway." Hn du rn zi dti shng ch zofn. Many people eat breakfast on the
subway.
KTV Xinzi wmen zi KTV chng g. Now we're singing songs
at KTV.
Lobn zi huysh jin kh. The boss is seeing the client in
the meeting room.
N zi wimin ch guo wnfn le ma? Did you eat
dinner outside?

Notice that in English we usually put the location at the end of a sentence. This is different in
Chinese, as we put the location after the subject, but before the verb.