Chinese Grammar

The Morphology

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.

  1. 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).

  2.       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 trees)
          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 )
  3. 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 ( be ).

  4. 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.  (by),(let), (tell). 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.

  5.  Adjective: show the quality or forms of people or things, or the state of action or behavior.

  6.       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? )
  7. Adverb: used in front of verbs or adjectives to show degree, extent, time or negation, etc., e.g. Degree: (very), (very), (extremely), (extrordinarily),

  8. Extent: (all),  (only)
    Time: (already), (ever), (just), (at the moment), (immediately),  (often)
    Negation: (not), (no),  (not)
    Positive: (surely),  (sure)
    Repetition or continuity: (again), (again),  (again)
    Mood: (however),  (even)
    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 of adjectives.

  9. Pronoun: replace nouns or numerals.

  10. Personal pronouns: to replace the names of persons or things, e.g. (me), (you), (he), (she), (it), etc.
    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.
    (this),(that) : 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.
    (these), (those): indicate known sums or amounts.
  11. Preposition: introduce nouns, pronouns or other linguistic units to verbs or adjectives and show the relationship between time, space, objects or methods.

  12. (at), (from), (to), (to), (to), (along): show direction or place.
    (from), (from), (when), (at), (at): show time.
    (for), (for): show purpose.
    (for), (about), (for), (to), (like), (about): show subject or relationship.
    (by), (let), (tell): show passive voice.
  13. Conjunction: connect words, phrases or sentences. e.g.

  14. (and), (and), (in addition), (but), (however), (because), (if), (even if), etc.
  15. Auxiliary words: There are mainly three kinds of auxiliary words in Chinese:

  16. 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.
            "" 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).
    The Chinese words never change grammatically their forms like those of English.
The Syntax

    Members of the Sentence
        In Chinese there are all the six sentence members in English except the predictive

    Simple Sentences:

   Compound Sentence: it is connected by coordinate conjunctions and includes two or more simple sentences, e.g.

            (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

           The basic grammatical structures of the modern Chinese include the following categories:

        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.

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