Parts of Speech and Their Functions
Like English, Chinese words/terms can also be divided
into ten kinds: nouns, pronouns, adjectives, numerals, verbs, adverbs,
prepositions, conjunctions, interjections and auxiliary words. The difference
here is that there is no article in Chinese and there is no auxiliary words
in English like that in Chinese.
Nouns: indicate the names of people or things, they can be further divided
into four sub sorts, proper nouns (e.g. Beijing), common nouns (e.g. society),
abstract nouns (e.g. culture, ideology), time nouns (e.g. tomorrow), place
nouns (e.g. surroundings).
In English all the countable nouns have
plural forms with the general ending -s ( except the irregular forms),
while in Chinese the nouns never change their forms. We use numerals to
realize plural meanings, e.g. (many
The English nouns have also the possessive
case "'s", while in Chinese we use only the character (meaning
'of' ) after the nouns to show the same meaning, e.g.
(a two-week's holiday
(a friend of
my father's )
Verbs: indicate the behaviors, actions or changes of people or things.
They have several subsidiary categories: model verbs ( e.g. can, should),
tendency verbs (e.g. come, go, enter
) and deciding verb (
In Chinese there is no verb changes at all. We use tense auxiliaries
to show the tenses: e.g.
(equals the present continuous tense),(equals
the past tense) (equals
the perfect tense).
In Chinese, we use several prepositions to show the passive voice, e.g.
As for mood, In English, the subjunctive mood is represented by the changes
of verbs, e.g.
If it had not been for your help,
we would not have achieved so much in our work.
while in Chinese it is:
We simply use the conjunction ()
to show the mood.
Adjective: show the quality or forms of people or things, or the
state of action or behavior.
In English, the adjectives have comparative
degree and superlative degree, e.g. fast, faster, fastest. We can see that
the two degrees depend on the suffix changes of the words to be realized.While
in Chinese, we simply use, ,
in front of the adjectives to show the degrees, e.g. (Can
we do our work better with fewer people and less money?
Adverb: used in front of verbs or adjectives to show degree, extent, time
or negation, etc., e.g. Degree: (very), (very), (extremely), (extrordinarily),
Time: (already), (ever), (just), (at
the moment), (immediately),
Negation: (not), (no),
Repetition or continuity: (again), (again),
Mood: (however), , ,
In Chinese the adverbs can be used only in front of the verbs or adjectives
while in English they may appear after. Another difference is that English
adverbs, like adjectives, also have comparative degree and superlative
degree while in Chinese we have the same words to show them as in the case
Pronoun: replace nouns or numerals.
Personal pronouns: to replace the names of persons or things, e.g. (me), (you), (he), (she), (it),
Interrogative pronouns: to inquire the unknown things, actions, natures,
etc. e.g. (what), (how), (who)
Indicative pronouns: to distinguish things, actions or natures, e.g.
: indicate known things.
(here), (here), (there), (at
the moment), (at
that moment): indicate place or time.
(like this), (in
this way), (in
that way): indicate the nature of known things or actions.
indicate known sums or amounts.
Preposition: introduce nouns, pronouns or other linguistic units to verbs
or adjectives and show the relationship between time, space, objects or
(at), (from), (to), (to), (to), (along):
show direction or place.
(from), (from), (when), (at), (at):
(for), (about), (for), (to), (like), (about):
show subject or relationship.
(by), (let), (tell):
show passive voice.
Conjunction: connect words, phrases or sentences. e.g.
(and), (and), (in
addition), (but), (however), (because), (if), (even
Auxiliary words: There are mainly three kinds of auxiliary words in Chinese:
Structural Auxiliaries: used between terms ( including terms and other
linguistic units) to show grammatical relationship, e.g.
shows that the term ( or other linguistic units) before it is attributive.
The Chinese words never change grammatically their forms like those
shows that the term ( or other linguistic units) before it is adverbial.
shows that the term ( or other linguistic units) before it is complement.
is an auxiliary used in front of verbs, e.g. ""(what
were said), here (all)
and the verb (say)
are the attributive of the noun (word).
Members of the Sentence
In Chinese there
are all the six sentence members
in English except the predictive
1. the Statement: it states a thing or an opinion, e.g.
(We go there by train.)
Compound Sentence: it is connected by coordinate conjunctions
and includes two or more simple sentences, e.g.
2.the Question: it inquires a situation, e.g.
(Shall we go there by train?)
3.the Imperative: it puts forward demands or give orders, e.g.
(Please don't say any more./!)
4.the exclamation: exclaim about the quality, degree or content of
(What a beautiful flower!)
(He not only said so, but did in the same way.)
are the connecting characters which connect two minor sentences and thus
form a compound sentence.
Basic Grammatical Structures
basic grammatical structures of the modern Chinese include the following
Some Chinese syntactical structures
are simple and others are complicated. But even the most complicated structures
are the combination of the above basic ones. So it is very important to
master the basic ones.
subject-predicate: This kind of structure means that the organised characters
or other grammatical units form a relationship of subject and predicate.
The subject is stated by the predicate, e.g. in
(red east), (red)
is the object stated and serves as subject while
(red) states it and seves as predicate.
related structure: This means that the organised characters or other grammatical
units have an "equal position", there is no "subordination", e.g. in
(Beijing and Shanghai),
(Shanghai) are in an "equal" position.
subordinated sructure: On the contrary, in this kind of structures the
organised characters or other grammatical units do have subordinations,
e.g. in (study
(repeatedly) decorate and limit
(study) and thus it subordinates to the latter.
complementary structure: Similarly, in this kind of structures the organised
characters or other grammatical units also have subordinations and they
form a complementary relationship, e.g. in
(clear/learly) serves as a conplementary part to show the effect of
(say). This kind of structure is different from the above one in that the
complementary part always appears after the main part (the verb here).
predicate-object sructure: This kind of structure means that the
organised characters or other grammatical units form a dorminate (predicate)
and dorminated (object) relationship, e.g. in
(study a language),
(study) is the verb who "dominates" the object (language)
which is the concerned the thing.
appositive structure: This kind of structure means that the organised characters
or other grammatical units refer to the same thing and form an inter-explanatory
relationship, e.g. in
(president Jing Zemin), both (Jing
(president) refer to the same thing.
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