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An Introduction to Chinese Grammar 汉语语法入门

动作的状态 Aspects of an Action

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The states of an action include progression, continuation, and completion. In Chinese adverbs and aspectual particles are often used to express the state of an action.

动作进行 The Progressive Aspect of an Action

The adverbs 、and 正在 placed in front of a predicate verb indicate that the action is in progress. The modal particle may also be added to the end of the sentence. For example,

  1. 正在处理。 I am taking care of it for you right now.

    (The action of 处理 is progressing.)

  2. 休息。 I am resting.

    (The action of resting is in progress.)

  3. 睡觉。 He is sleeping.

    (The modal particle expresses that the action 睡觉 is in progress. An adverbial adjunct is not needed.)

  4. 睡觉看书。 He is not asleep, he is reading a book.

    (The negative form uses the adverb .)

动作持续 The Continuous Aspect of an Action

The aspectual particle expresses that an action or the result of an action is continuing. The state of an action or the result of an action can be in the past, present, or future. For example,

  1. 。 The door is open.

    (The action of the door opening has already been completed but the state still continues.)

  2. 笔记本。 He brought a notebook.

    The aspectual particle is placed before the object 笔记本.

  3. 我们昨晚时候。 Last night when we arrived it was still open.

    (The use of 昨晚 indicates that the condition is in the past.)

动作完成 The Perfect Aspect of an Action

When added after a predicate verb, the aspectual particle expresses the completion of an action. A completed action may take place in the past, present, or future and a time word or phrase is used to express this. For example,

  1. 成功。 I succeeded.

    (The aspectual particle is added after the predicate verb 成功.)

  2. 到了大使馆。 I have arrived at the embassy.

    (The aspectual particle is placed after the predicate verb and before the object 大使馆.)

  3. 火车票。 I did not buy a train ticket.

    (The negative form uses the adverb .)

  4. 洗手。 I washed my hands.

    (In this sentence is a modal particle. The object is simple and the sentence ends with the modal particle so the aspectual particle after the verb is left out.)

  5. 到了机票。 (I bought the plane tickets.)

    (The aspectual particle should be placed after the complement of result .)

  6. 到了没有? Did you buy some?

    (没有 can be added to raise a question.)

将来动作 Future Actions

The adverb and the modal particle can be used to describe an action that will happen in the future. The adverb functions as an adverbial adjunct. The negative form uses the combination .

  1. 老板快要退休。 Our boss is going to retire soon.
  2. 我们孩子明年大学。 Next year our child will take the college entrance exam.
  3. 毕业。 I have not graduated yet.
  4. 他们结婚。 They will get married soon.

    (If the adverb is used then can be omitted. Also, when using the adverb a concrete time cannot be stated.)

过去动作 Past Actions

To describe an experience in the past the aspectual particle can be added after the predicate verb. For example,

  1. 我去上海。 I have been to Shanghai.

    (The object 上海 is placed after the aspectual particle .)

  2. 曾经物理学。 I studied physics before.

    (The adverb 曾经 can also be used before the predicate verb.)

  3. 首都博物馆。 (I have never been to the Beijing Museum.)

    (Use the adverb for the negative form.)

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