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An Introduction to Chinese Grammar 汉语语法入门

句子用途 Sentence Use

陈述句 Declarative Sentences

Declarative sentences narrate an event or describe a point of view. They end in a period. For example,

  1. 地球。 (The Earth is big.)
  2. 他们足球。 (They are playing soccer.)

疑问句 Interrogative Sentences

Interrogative sentences raise a question and end in a question mark. For example,

  1. 敲门? (Who is knocking on the door?)
  2. 几岁? (How old are you?)
  3. 吃饱? (Are you full?)

There are seven types of interrogative sentence:

  1. Questions that use the modal particle

    Add the modal particle to the end of a declarative sentence. The word order of the declarative sentence does not change. For example

    1. 吃饭? (Are you going to eat?)
    2. 美国? (Are you American?)

  2. Questions that use interrogative pronouns

    The interrogative pronoun can be placed in the location of the subject, the object, or the predicate. For example,

    1. 加班? Who is doing overtime? (The interrogative pronoun is placed at the position of the subject.)
    2. 哪里? Where are you going? (The interrogative pronoun 哪里 is placed in the position of the object.)
    3. 怎么? What is wrong with your car? (The interrogative pronoun 怎么 is placed in the location of the predicate.)
  3. Affirmative-negative questions

    Affirmative-negative questions place positive and negative forms of the predicate adjacent to each other. For example,

    1. 上海? Are you going to Shanghai? (Subject + predicate + + predicate + object)
    2. 足够没有? Do you have enough money? (Subject + predicate + object + + predicate)
  4. Questions using the conjunction 还是

    This kind of question poses several alternatives in conjunction and expects the person answering to make a choice.

    1. 明天休息还是加班? Are you resting or working overtime tomorrow? (Subject + predicate1 + 还是 + predicate2)

      This question uses the two predicates 休息 and 加班 to ask what are you going to do?

    2. 公寓还是别墅? (Do you live in an apartment or live in a house? (Subject + predicate1 + object1 + 还是 + predicate2 + object2)

      This question uses the two objects 公寓 and 别墅 to ask where?

    3. 他们还是我们? Are we going first or are they going first? (Subject1 + predicate1 + 还是 + subject2 + predicate2)

      This question uses the two subjects 他们 and 我们 to ask who?

    4. 咱们今天还是明天? Are you going today or tomorrow? (Subject1 + adverbial adjunct1 + predicate1 + 还是 + adverbial adjunct2 + predicate1)

      This question uses the two adverbial adjuncts 今天 and 明天 to ask when?

  5. Questions that use 是不是

    This kind of question uses 是不是 to confirm a condition. 是不是 can be used in all kinds of sentences. For example,

    1. 是不是明天美国? Are you going to the United States tomorrow? (Subject + 是不是 + predicate)

      是不是 is usually placed between the subject and the predicate.

    2. 是不是明天美国? Are you going to the United States tomorrow? (是不是 + subject + predicate + object?)

      Sometimes 是不是 is placed at the beginning or end of the sentence.

    3. 明天美国是不是? Are you going to the United States tomorrow? (subject + predicate + object + 是不是?)
  6. Questions that use

    This kind of sentence adds the particle to the end of a one word sentence to ask the location or condition of a person or thing.

    1. 咖啡。)? (I would like to drink some coffee.) How about you?

    2. 电话? (Where is the telephone?)
    3. 背包? Where is your backpack? (endocentric phrase + )
  7. Questions using

    This kind of sentence uses the adverb to ask about degree or quantity. There can only be a single word after , which is usually a monosyllabic adjective. For example,

    1. ? How tall is that tree?
    2. 母亲多大? How old is your mother?

祈使句 Imperative Sentences

Imperative sentences express a command, a request, or advice in an imperative tone. A period or explamation mark is used at the end of the sentence. The subject is often missing and the predicate is usually a verb. For example,

  1. ! Quick, go!
  2. 吃饭! Eat!
  3. 请进! Come in!

    (The verb is often used at the beginning of the sentence.)

感叹句 Exclamatory Sentences

Exclamatory sentences express admiration, love, surprise, loathing and other emotions in an exclamatory tone. An exclamation mark is used at the end of the sentence. For example,

  1. 今天天气! It is freezing today!

    (Exclamatory sentences often use adverbs expressing a high degree, such as 、and .)

  2. 孩子聪明! (That child is so clever!

    (The modal particles and are often added to exclamatory sentences.)

Glossary and Other Vocabulary