Grammar 10

Learn Chinese: grammar 10

The sentence structure for emphasizing

In Chinese, to insist on an element in the sentence, we place the verb shì before the element on which we want to insist and we place de at the end of the sentence.

Have a look at the following examples:
我坐飞机去中国。 I go to China by plane.
我是坐飞机去中国的。 It is by plane that I go to China.
我是明年七月坐飞机去中国的。 It is in July next year that I go to China by plane.
我明年七月是坐飞机去中国的。 It is by plane that I go to China in July next year.
我明年七月坐飞机是去中国的。 It is in China that I go in July next year by plane.
这是在火车站买的。 It is at the station that I bought it.

This is not very complicated, but it is a grammar point sanctioned at level 1 of the Chinese HSK certificate.

The verb-object

We have already talked about verbs-objects (separable verbs): verbs that cannot be used without an object.

"Sleeping" 睡觉 shuìjiào is a typical verb-object:
shuì (to sleep)
jiào (slumber)

睡一个好觉 shuì yí gè hǎojiào to have a good sleep.
睡午觉 shuì wǔjiào to take a nap.

"Eating" 吃饭 chīfàn is a verb-object, but it tends gradually to lose this status in spoken language: we can sometimes hear chī alone.

Examples with 吃饭 chīfàn :
我很喜欢吃饭。 I love eating.
我喜欢吃中国菜。 I like Chinese food. (Note that in Chinese we say "I like to eat ...")


In Chinese the word "too much" tài is very often associated with the particule le at the end of the sentence (but le loses here any grammatical utility, it is a language usage) except in the negative sentences.

她做的菜太好吃了! The dishes she makes are excellent!
太好了! Great!
他不太喜欢坐飞机。 He does not like flying too much.


In front of a verb, zài indicates that the action is in progress:
我在做饭。 I'm cooking.

ne at the end of the sentence has the same meaning but is more used in oral expression: 我做饭呢! I'm doing cooking!

How to distinguish the particule used to ask reciprocal questions (你呢?) and the particule that indicates that the action is in progress?

If is preceded by one word only, it means that it is used to ask reciprocal questions:
他呢? And him ?
火车呢? And the train?

If is preceded by a sentence, it indicates that the action is in progress:
他做什么呢? What is he doing?

In fact, zài and ne are most often used together:
他在睡觉呢。 He is sleeping.
我在学习呢。 Je suis en train d'étudier.

Last modified: Friday, 24 May 2019, 8:32 AM