(#3) How are you? I’m good. / 你好吗?我很好。

Let’s do an obligatory post on saying hi and replying when you are being said hi to.

你好吗?ni3 hao3 ma1? How are you?

我很好。 wo3 hen3 hao3. I’m good.

 

But let me break that down into individual characters. You should recognise ni3 你, which means you. “好” hao3 means good, and in this case, it means well. ” 吗” ma1 is a formal method to ask question, and this character – always paired with a question mark – is affixed at the end of the sentence.

 

Some other possible answers to the question:

不错 bu4 cuo4 : not bad

还好 hai2 hao3 : okay

不好 bu4 hao3 : not good

(#2) Apostrophe-s / 的

In english, when you want to express something belongs to another, or another person, we use apostrophe-s, or ‘s.

In chinese, we use 的 de4 to express.

钱! wo3 de4 qian2: My money!
是我shi4 wo3 de4: It’s mine!

Again, using “我的“ wo3 de4 can replace ‘my’ or ‘mine’.

钱! ni3 de4 qian2: Your money!
是你shi4 ni3 de4: It’s yours!

钱! ta1 de4 qian2: His money!
是他shi4 ta1 de4: It’s his!

钱! ta1 de4 qian2: Her money!
是她shi4 ta1 de4 : It’s hers!

Let’s be a little less mercenary and talk about something else. “的” can be used in other ways similar to how apostrophe-s is used in english.

Friend’s: 朋友 peng2 you3 de4

Mother’s: 妈妈 ma1 ma1 de4

Today’s weather: 今天天气 jin1 tian1 de4 tian1 qi4

School’s bookshop:学校书店 xue2 xiao4 de4 shu1 dian4

Dont worry too much about the vocabulary first. Just look at the “的”.

Also sometimes “的” is dropped when it is absolutely clear, or when it is not the focus point of the conversation.

If you want to say “My friend is clever”, and your emphasis is on ‘clever’, then you can say 我朋友很聪明, dropping the 的。

Comparing to when you want to emphasize that MY friend is clever (probably not someone else’s friend), then you can say 我朋友很聪明。

If it is too confusing, let’s revisit this later. For now, remember that basic use for “的”.

New Vocabulary

  • de4
  • qian2 money
  • 朋友 peng2 you3 friend
  • 妈妈 ma1 ma1 mother
  • 学校 xue2 xiao4 school
  • 书店 shu1 dian4 bookshop
  • 聪明 cong1 ming2 clever

(#1) I, you, he, she / 我,你,他,她

Let’s begin with identifying

wo3: I, me
ni3: you
ta1: he, him
ta1: she, her

Chinese is similar to English in terms of the word orders, and we constantly use the pronouns too. But instead of different words for different contexts, pronouns in chinese are much simpler.

可以 wo3 ke3 yi3: I can
! shi4 wo3: It’s me!

See? Same word in two different contexts, replacing both ‘I’ and ‘me’ cleanly.

可以 ni3 ke3 yi3: You can
! shi4 ni3: It’s you!

Okay~ It is equilvilent in the case of ‘you’.

可以 ta1 ke3 yi3: He can
! shi4 ta1: It’s him!

可以 ta1 ke3 yi3: She can
! shi4 ta1: It’s her!

Note that in chinese, “he” and “she”, or “him” and “her” is pronounced the same way, as ta1. Therefore sometimes in long conversations and we are mentioning several people in the convo, we have to insert the names frequently to make the conversation clear.

New Vocabulary

  • wo3 I, me
  • ni3 you
  • ta1 he, him
  • ta1 she, her
  • 可以 ke3 yi3 can
  • shi4 am, are, islisten