Posts Tagged ‘ grammar ’

(#23) ..done it/ ..是 .. 的

I have a hard time trying to name the title for this post because the grammar structure cannot be directly translated into english, but since it is frequently used in daily life, so there is a need to go through the usage here. It is a little like passive voice, but yet not exactly. Bear with me, guys.

Remember? We went through the following example before:
杯子谁打破bei1 zi3 shi4 shui2 da3 po4 de4? directly translated: (The) glass, it is who, broke it?

But for simplicity’s sake let’s assume I’d confessed to the crime:
杯子我打破bei1 zi3 shi4 wo3 da3 po4 de4.   directly translated: (The) glass, it is me, broke it

The grammar structure is Pronoun/Noun + 是/不是 + Pronoun + Verb + 的.

In this example

Noun = 杯子 bei1 zi2 glass
Pronoun = 我 wo3 me
Verb = 打破 da3 po4 broke

You should still recall that 是/不是 shi4/bu4 shi4 is the verb for ‘am’, ‘are’, ‘is’/’am not’, ‘are not’, ‘is not’. You probably can also recall 的 is used as apostrophe-s, but in this case, it is added to the back of a verb, modifying the verb to give it a ‘done-it’ meaning.

By the way, 杯子我打破 bei1 zi3 shi4 wo3 da3 po4 de4 is a sentence form.  During a conversation, you can answer (a little) more concisely with 是/不是 + Pronoun + Verb + 的.

杯子谁打破bei1 zi3 shi4 shui2 da3 po4 de4?  Who broke the glass?
我打破shi4 wo3 da3 po4 de4.  It is me who broke it.

More examples:

苹果我吃. ping2 guo3 shi4 wo3 chi1 de4. It is me who ate the apple.

电视机她关. dian4 shi4 ji1 shi4 ta1 guan1 de4. It is her who switched off the television

谁说shi4 shui2 shuo1 de4? Who said so?

我说! shi4 wo3 shuo1 de4! It is I who said so!

这些苹果妈妈买zhe4 xie1 ping2 guo3 shi4 ma1 ma1 mai3 de4. It is Mother bought these apples.

妹妹妈妈接回来mei4 mei4 shi4 ma1 ma1 jie1 hui2 lai2 de4. It is Mother brought sister home.


New Vocabulary:

  • 苹果 ping2 guo3 apple
  • 电视机 dian4 shi4 ji1 television
  • guan1 shut down, close, switch off
  • xie1 some
  • mai3 buy
  • 妹妹 mei4 mei4 younger sister
  • 接回来 jie1 hui2 lai2 fetch back, brought back

(#22) Past tense / 了

One great thing about learning chinese, is that there is no complicated past tenses to learn. As a matter of fact, it is so simple that I don’t even need to explain much.

To express a verb in past tense, you just need to add 了 le4. Sometimes in conversation we pronounce it as liao3 too, because it is a bit more colloquial, and it is cute sounding.

Ok, examples next.

zuo4 do        做 zuo4 le4 did
chi1 eat        吃 chi1 le4 ate
he1 drink      喝 he1 le4 drank
qu4 go          去 qu4 le4 went
mai3 buy      买 mai3 le4 bought
shuo1 say    说 shuo1 le4 said

I think it is extremely clear how to form past tenses in Chinese, I’ll take the chance to introduce some new vocabulary, why don’t you practice forming past tenses with them?

ting1 listen, hear
lai2 come
kan4 see, watch
zou3 walk (in certain contexts, go)
xiao4 smile
ku1 cry

(#20) Who / 谁

To say ‘who’, the chinese word is 谁, however you will find that the pronunciation is interesting. We are usually taught that it is pronounced as shui2, but in daily life we actually pronounced it as shei2.

But for simplicity’s sake, I will use shui2 in the explaination in this blog, but like said, it is more likely to be pronounced as shei2 in our daily life, so please do remember the pronunciation shei2 as well.

One bad news.  谁 shui2 may be a simple word, but the usage in chinese is a little hard to predict. I’ll list as many examples as I can and hopefully you can remember some of the common ones.

喂, 请问你找? wei2, qing3 wen4 ni3 zhao3 shui2? Hallo, can I ask who are you looking for?

这个杯子是打破的?zhe4 ge4 bei1 zi3 shi4 shui2 da3 po4 de4? [Directly translated] This glass, by whom is it broken by?
In such scenarios, the word order is noun+interrogative pronoun+verb.

Actually you can say 打破这个杯子? shui2 da3 po4 zhe4 ge4 bei1 zi3? Who broke this glass?
It will be interrogative pronoun+verb+noun in this case. It gets the message across, but honestly, it is a little unnatural.

你是ni3 shi4 shui2? Who are you?

说的?shui2 shuo1 de4? Who said so? / Says who?

? zhao3 shui2? Who are you looking for?

你是我的ni3 shi4 wo3 de4 shui3? Who are you to me?

New Vocabulary:

  • 杯子 bei1 zi3 drinking glass
  • 打破 da3 po4 break Can only be used for items such as cups, plates, drinking glasses, pots etc, where the broken parts are shards. Cannot used this word for items such as toys, limbs, heart etc. However, it can be used on abstract terms, similar to break the silence 打破沉默 da3 po4 chen2 mo4, break the tension 打破僵局 da3 po4 jiang1 ju2.