Chinese grammar

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The grammar of Standard Chinese shares many features with other varieties of Chinese. The language almost entirely lacks inflectionso that words typically have only one grammatical auxiliary verb in mandarin.

Categories such as number singular or plural and verb tense are frequently not expressed by any grammatical means, although there are several particles that serve to express verbal aspectand to some extent mood. The basic word order is subject—verb—object SVO. Otherwise, Chinese is chiefly a head-last language, meaning that modifiers precede the words they modify — in a noun phrasefor example, the head noun comes last, and all modifiers, including relative clausescome in front of it.

Chinese frequently uses serial verb constructionswhich involve two or more verbs or verb phrases in auxiliary verb in mandarin. Chinese prepositions behave similarly to serialized verbs in some respects several of auxiliary verb in mandarin common prepositions can also be used as full verbsand they are often referred to as coverbs. There are also location markers, placed after a noun, and hence often called postpositions ; these are often used in combination with a coverb. Predicate adjectives are normally used without a copular verb "to be"and can thus be regarded as a type of verb.

As in many east Asian languages, classifiers or measure words are required when using numerals and sometimes other words such as demonstratives with nouns. There are many auxiliary verb in mandarin classifiers in the language, and each countable noun generally has a particular classifier associated with it.

Examples given in this article use simplified Chinese characters with the traditional characters following in brackets if they differ and standard pinyin Romanization. In Chinese, the concept of words and the boundaries between them is not always transparent, [1] and the Chinese script does not use spaces between words. Grammatically, some strings of characters behave as single words in some contexts, but are separable in others. Chinese morphemes minimum units of meaning are mostly monosyllabic.

Syllables and thus morphemes in most cases are represented as a rule by single characters. Some words consist of single syllables, but many words are formed by compounding two or sometimes more monosyllabic morphemes which may be either free or bound — that is, they may or may not also be able to stand independently. Auxiliary verb in mandarin two-syllable compound nouns have the head on the right, while in compound verbs the head is usually on the left.

There is a strong tendency for monosyllables to be avoided in certain positions for example, a disyllabic verb will not normally be followed by a monosyllabic object — this may be connected with the preferred metrical structure of the language. A common feature in Chinese is reduplicationwhere a syllable or word is repeated to produce a modified meaning. This can happen with:. Chinese like English is classified as an SVO subject—verb—object languagebecause transitive verbs precede their objects in typical simple clauses, while the subject precedes the verb.

Chinese can also be considered a topic-prominent language: Certain modifications of the basic subject—verb—object order are permissible and may serve to achieve topic-prominence. In particular, a auxiliary verb in mandarin or sometimes indirect object may be moved to the start of the clause topicalization. It is also possible for an object to be moved to a position in front of the verb, for emphasis.

Another type of sentence is what has been called an ergative structure, [7] where the apparent subject of the verb can move to object position; the empty subject auxiliary verb in mandarin is then often occupied by an expression of location compare locative inversion in English. Chinese is also to some degree a pro-drop or null-subject languagemeaning that the subject can be omitted from a clause if it can be inferred from the context.

In the next example the subject is omitted and the auxiliary verb in mandarin is topicalized by being moved into subject position, to form a passive -type auxiliary verb in mandarin. Adverbs and adverbial phrases that modify the verb typically come after the subject but before the verb, although other positions are sometimes possible; see Adverbs and adverbials.

For constructions that involve more than one verb or verb phrase in sequence, see Serial verb constructions. For sentences consisting of more than one clausesee Conjunctions.

Some verbs can take both an indirect object and a direct object. Indirect normally precedes direct, as in English:. Compare the similar use of to or for in English. Some verbs can apparently take two direct objects, which may be called an "inner" and an "outer" object.

Chinese nouns and other parts of speech are not generally marked for numbermeaning that plural forms are mostly the same as the singular. Its use in such cases is optional. The head noun of a noun phrase comes at the end of the phrase; this means that everything that modifies the noun comes before it.

This includes attributive adjectivesdeterminersquantifierspossessivesand relative clauses. Chinese does not have articles as such; a noun may stand alone to represent what in English would be expressed as "the When used before a noun, these are often followed by an appropriate classifier for discussion of classifiers, see Classifiers below and the article Chinese classifiers.

However this use of classifiers is optional. This does not apply to nouns that function as measure words themselves; this includes many units of measurement and currency. For adjectives in noun phrases, see Adjectives below. For noun phrases with pronouns rather than nouns as the head, see Pronouns below.

Chinese relative clauseslike auxiliary verb in mandarin noun modifiers, precede the noun they modify. A free relative clause is produced if the modified noun following the de is omitted. A relative clause usually comes after any determiner phrase such as a numeral and classifieralthough for emphasis it may come before.

There is usually no relative pronoun in the relative clause. Instead, a gap is left in subject or object position, as appropriate. If there are two gaps the additional gap being created by pro-droppingambiguity may arise. If the relative item is auxiliary verb in mandarin by a preposition in the relative clause, then it is denoted by a pronoun e.

That is, when specifying the amount of a countable noun, a classifier must be inserted, and the classifier has to agree with the noun. This phenomenon is common in East Asian languages. In English, some words, as in the cited example of "cattle", are often paired with a noun used much like the Chinese measure word. Bottle in "two bottles of wine" or piece in "three pieces of paper" are further examples. However, certain nouns representing units of measurement, time or currency are themselves classifiers, and can therefore be counted directly.

The classifiers for many nouns appear arbitrary. Classifiers are also used optionally after demonstrativesand in certain other situations. See Noun phrases above, and the article Chinese classifier. There is also a formal, polite word for singular "you": The third-person pronouns are not often used for inanimates instead, demonstratives are preferred. Adjectives can be used attributively, before a noun. Gradable adjectives can be modified by words meaning "very", etc.

When adjectives co-occur with classifiers, they normally follow the classifier. However, with most common classifiers, when the number is "one", it is also possible to place adjectives like "big" and "small" before the classifier, for emphasis: Adjectives can also be used predicatively. It is nonetheless possible for a copula to be used in such sentences, to emphasize the adjective: Adverbs and adverbial phrases normally come in a position before the verb, but after the subject of the verb.

In sentences with auxiliary verbs, the adverb usually precedes the auxiliary verb as well as the main verb. Some adverbs of time and attitude "every day", "perhaps", etc. Some verbs take a prepositional phrase following the verb auxiliary verb in mandarin its direct object.

These are generally obligatory constituents, such that the sentence would not make sense if they were omitted. It is not generally possible for auxiliary verb in mandarin single verb to be followed by both an object and an adverbial complement of this type although there are exceptions in cases where the complement expresses duration, frequency or goal.

Aspect markers can then appear only on the second instance of the verb. The typical Chinese word order "XVO", where an oblique complement such as a locative prepositional phrase precedes the verb, while a direct object comes after the verb, is very rare cross-linguistically; in fact, it is only in varieties of Chinese that this is attested as the typical ordering. Expressions of location in Chinese may include a preposition before the nouna postposition after the nounboth, or neither.

Chinese prepositions are commonly known as coverbs — see further below. If a noun is modified so as to denote a specific location as in "this A locative expression can auxiliary verb in mandarin appear as a auxiliary verb in mandarin without the need for any additional copula. The adjective itself auxiliary verb in mandarin not modified.

However, it is normally only used when its auxiliary verb in mandarin is a noun or noun phrase. The English existential phrase " there is " "there are", etc. Chinese does not have grammatical markers of tense. The time at which action is conceived as taking place past, present, future can be indicated auxiliary verb in mandarin expressions of time "yesterday", "now", etc.

However, Chinese does have markers of aspectwhich is a feature of grammar that gives information about the temporal flow of events.

There are two aspect markers that are especially commonly used with past auxiliary verb in mandarin Some authors, however, do not regard guoor the zhe described below, as markers of aspect. There is also a sentence-final particle lewhich serves a somewhat different purpose. The perfective le presents the viewpoint of "an event in its entirety". Some examples of its auxiliary verb in mandarin. The above may be compared with the following examples with guoand with the examples with sentence-final le given under Particles.

The experiential guo "ascribes to a subject the property of having experienced the event". The first of these precedes the verb, and is usually used for ongoing actions or dynamic events — it may be translated as " be in the process of -ing " or " be in the middle of -ing ". The second follows the verb, and is used mostly for static situations.

Both markers may occur in the same clause, however, e. The delimitative aspect denotes an action that goes on only for some time, "doing something 'a little bit'". Other compounds may be reduplicated, but for general emphasis rather than delimitative aspect.

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Word order in Chinese is more rigid than in English. However, sometimes you may find sentences that seem to defy normal word order.

The English translation does this too: I live in China. The reason for this is that "in China" is a preposition prepositions indicate place or time that is tacked on to the main sentence—"I live. When using both a preposition for time and a preposition for place, put the preposition for time first.

Note the variation in word order. You can also place a preposition for place, but not for time, at the end of a sentence. Another structure for Chinese sentences is topic-comment. That is, the first thing mentioned is the topic of discussion and then the speaker will add a comment following that.

It is used to emphasize a certain part of the sentence. In the following example, the speaker wants to emphasize that he is going to read the particular book being discussed.

From Wikibooks, open books for an open world. Examples - Exercises - Stroke Order. Retrieved from " https: Views Read Edit View history.

Policies and guidelines Contact us. In other languages Add links. This page was last edited on 14 December , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Search inside this book using Google. The amount of the disparity between the two is placed after the adjective.