I am (doing)...

我在听。(wo3 zai4 ting1)  I am listening.

我在玩。(wo3 zai4 wan2)  I am playing.

我在走。(wo3 zai4 zou3)  I am walking.

我在看。(wo3 zai4 kan4)  I am looking/watching

你   很   adj。    You are very (trait/characteristic of the person).

你(ní) 很(hěn) 高(gāo)。  You are very tall.

你(nǐ) 很(hén) 好(hǎo)。  You are very nice.

你(nǐ) 很(hén) 美(měi)。  You are very beautiful.

你(ní) 很(hěn) 帅(shuài)。  You are very handsome.

**Literal meanings:

很(hěn):(adv.) very; often used in Chinese to omit “be” (am/are/is).

好(hǎo):(adj.) good, right, or nice

她(tā) 是(shì) 一(yì) 名(míng)   + noun。   She is a (the career of the person).

她(tā) 是(shì) 一(yì) 名(míng) 学(xué) 生(shēng)。   She is a student.

她(tā) 是(shì) 一(yì) 名(míng)  老(lǎo) 师(shī)。   She is a teacher.

她(tā) 是(shì) 一(yì) 名(míng) 医(yī) 生(shēng)。   She is a doctor.

她(tā) 是(shì) 一(yì) 名(míng) 律(lǜ) 师(shī)。   She is a lawyer.

**Literal meanings:

是(shì) :be (am/is/are)

名(míng): a classifier that is used to assist the noun; For example, a “bottle” of water, a “class” of students, “bottle” and “class” are considered as classifiers in Chinese.  Although in English there aren’t too many of these noun classifiers, in Chinese every category of nouns comes with a specific classifier.  In this case, 名(míng) is the proper classier for a person’s job.

他(tā) 有(yǒu) 两(liǎng) 个(gè) + noun。   He has two (something).

他(tā) 有(yǒu) 两(liǎng) 个(gè) 手(shǒu) 机(jī)。   He has two cellphones.

他(tā) 有(yǒu) 两(liǎng) 个(gè) 杯(bēi) 子(zǐ)。   He has two mugs/cups.  

他(tā) 有(yǒu) 两(liǎng) 个(gè) 背(bēi) 包(bāo)。   He has two backpacks.

他(tā) 有(yǒu) 两(liǎng) 个(gè) 女(nǚ) 儿(ér)。   He has two daughters.  

**Literal meanings:

两(liǎng):(number) two, but only used before a noun; for example, 两(liǎng) 个(gè) 学(xué) 生(shēng): two students.

手(shǒu):(n.) hand

机(jī):(n.) machine

背(bēi):(v.) to carry

包(bāo):(n.) bag

女(nǚ):(n.) female

这(zhè) 是(sh)ì 她(tā) 的(de) + noun。   This is her (name of the place).

这(zhè) 是(sh)ì 她(tā) 的(de) 家(jiā)。   This is her home.

这(zhè) 是(sh)ì 她(tā) 的(de) 学(xué) 校(xiào)。   This is her school.

这(zhè) 是(sh)ì 她(tā) 的(de) 大(dà) 学(xué)。   This is her university.

这(zhè) 是(sh)ì 她(tā) 的(de) 办(bàn) 公(gōng 室(shì)。   This is her office.

**Literal meanings:

的(de):possessive form in Chinese, similar to (‘s) in English; for example, 老(lǎo) 师(shī) 的(de) means the teacher’s, 学(xué) 生(shēng) 的(de) means the student’s.

Interrogative Word: What...?  什么 (shěn me)      

什么 (shěn me) can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.

Example 1: Place 什(shěn) 么(me) at the beginning of a sentence when you are asking for a specific definition or details about something and the pronoun is unnecessary.

什(shěn) 么(me) 是(shì)卫(wèi) 星(xīng)? What is satellite? 

什(shěn) 么(me) 事(shì)*     What’s up/What’s the matter?

Example 2: Place 什(shěn) 么(me) at the middle of a sentence when you add an explicit pronoun to the sentence.

你(nǐ) 叫(jiào)* 什(shěn) 么(me) 名(míng)* 字(zì)*?   What is your name?

他(tā) 拿(ná) 着(zhe) 什(shěn) 么(me) 东(dōng)* 西(xi)*?  What  is he bringing/carrying?

Example 3: Place 什(shěn) 么(me) at the end of a sentence when the object is not specified and a verb is in front it.

这(zhè) 是(shì) 什(shěn) 么(me)?  What is this?

你(nǐ) 说(shuō) 什(shěn) 么(me)?   What did you just say? (ironically)

Literal Meanings***

事(shì): (n.) matter

叫(jiào): (v.) to call; to be called

名(míng): (n.) name

字(zì): (n.) word/character

名(míng) 字(zì): (n.) name

东(dōng) 西(xi): (n.) generic word for “thing” and “stuff”

Interrogative word: How...?  怎样 (zěn yàng) how

怎样 (zěn yàng) can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of a sentence.

Example 1: Place 怎样 (zěn yàng) at the beginning of a sentence when the subject is implied and the pronoun is unnecessary.

怎(zěn) 样(yàng) 去(qù)* 学(xué) 校(xiào)?   How (do you) get to school?

怎(zěn) 样(yàng) 可以(kě yǐ)* 买(mǎi) 到(dào) 那(nà) 本(běn) 书(shū)?   How (can you) get(buy) that book? 

Example 2: Place 怎样 (zěn yàng) at the middle of a sentence when it’s followed by a verb and the the subject/object is explicit.

我(wǒ) 在(zài) 学(xué) 怎(zěn) 样(yàng) 讲(jiǎng) 中(zhōng) 文(wén)。  I am learning how to speak Chinese.

这(zhè) 个(gè) 怎(zěn) 样(yàng) 安(ān) 装(zhuāng)?  How (do I) install this?

Example 3: Place 怎样 (zěn yàng) at the end of a sentence when you are asking for an opinion.

你(nǐ) 觉得(jué dé)* 怎(zěn) 样(yàng)? How are you feeling?/How do you feel?

这(zhè) 个(gè) 吃(chī)* 起(qǐ) 来(lái)* 怎(zěn) 样(yàng)? How does this taste like?

Literal Meanings***

去(qù): (v.) to go

可以(kě yǐ):  (v.) can; able to

觉得(jué dé):(v.) to think (as an opionin)

吃(chī):(v.) to eat

来(lái):(v.) to come

起(qǐ) 来(lái):(v.) to get up

RSS Learn Mandarin Daily

  • Day: "What do you like to eat" in Mandarin
    Day 9: “What do you like to eat” in Mandarin 吃 (chī) to eat 什么 (shěn me) what 你喜欢吃什么? (nǐ xǐ huān chī shěn me) What do you like to eat? 鸡肉 (jī ròu) chicken 我喜欢吃鸡肉。 (wǒ xǐ huān chī jī ròu) I like to eat chicken. 沙拉 (shā lā) salad 我喜欢吃沙拉。 (wǒ xǐ huān […]
  • Day 8: “How’s your day today” in Mandarin
    今天 (jīn tiān) today 你今天怎么样? (nǐ jīn tiān zěn me yàng?) How’s your day today? 很 (hěn) very 好 (hǎo) good 我今天很好。(wǒ jīn tiān hěn hǎo) I am very well today. 累 (lèi) tired 我今天很累。(wǒ jīn tiān hěn lèi) I am very tired today. 懒 (lǎn) lazy 我今天很懒。(wǒ jīn rì hěn lǎn) I am very […]
  • Day 7: Why do you want to learn Chinese (based on Day 6)
    为什么 (wèi shěn me) why 中文 (zhōng wén) Chinese 普通话 (pǔ tōng huà) Mandarin; the common language 为什么你想学中文? (wèi shěn me nǐ xiǎng xué zhōng wén) why do you want to learn Chinese? 去 (qù) to go 我想去中国。 (wǒ xiǎng qù zhōng guó) I want to go to China. 唐人街 (táng rén jiē) Chinatown 我喜欢去唐人街。 […]
  • Day 6: "Where are you from" in Mandarin
    你是从哪儿来的? (nǐ shì cóng nǎ ér lái de ?) Where are you from? 紐約 (niǔ yuē) New York 我是从纽约来的。 (wǒ shì cóng niǔ yuē lái de) I am from New York. 加州 (jiā zhōu) California 我是从加州來的。 (wǒ shì cóng jiā zhōu lái de) I am from California. 英国 (yīng guó) England 我是从英国來的。 (wǒ shì cóng […]
  • Day 5: "What do you like to do?" in Mandarin
    Day 5 喜欢 (xǐ huān) to like 什么 (shěn me) what 你喜欢干什么?(nǐ xǐ huān gàn shěn me) What do you like to do? 我喜欢看书。 (wǒ xǐ huān kàn shū) I like to read. 我喜欢看电影。 (wǒ xǐ huān kàn diàn yǐng) I like to watch movies. 我喜欢做运动。 (wǒ xǐ huān zuò yùn dòng) I like to […]
  • Day 4: "How to get to..." in Mandarin
    怎么样去洗手间? (zěn me yàng qù xǐ shǒu jiān) How to get to the bathroom? 怎么样去便利店? (zěn me yàng qù biàn lì diàn) How to get to the convenience store? 怎么样去学校? (zěn me yàng qù xué xiào) How to get to school? 怎么样去公司? (zěn me yàng qù gōng sī) How to get to the company? Please […]
  • Day 3: "He/she has two + noun" in Mandarin
    他/她有两个袋子。(tā yǒu liǎng gè dài zǐ) He/she has two bags. 他/她有两个杯子。(tā yǒu liǎng gè bēi zǐ) He/she has two mugs/cups. 他/她有两个包子。(tā yǒu liǎng gè bāo zǐ) He/she has two buns. 他/她有两个孩子。(tā yǒu liǎng gè hái zǐ) He/she has two children. Please like our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/inspirlang/ Inspirlang.com
  • Day 2: "I am doing..." in Mandarin
    我在听 。(wǒ zài tīng) I am listening. 我在看。 (wǒ zài kàn) I am looking/watching. 我在睡。(wǒ zài shuì) I am sleeping. 我在做。(wǒ zài zuò) I am doing (something). Please like our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/inspirlang/ Inspirlang.com
  • Day 1: How to say one's career in Mandairn
    他/她是一个学生。 (tā shì yí gè xué shēng) He/she is a student. 他/她是一个老师。 (tā shì yí gè lǎo shī) He/she is a teacher. 他/她是一个工程师。 (tā shì yīígè gōng chéng shī) He/she is an engineer. 他/她是一个医生。 (tā shì yí gè yī shēng) He/she is a doctor. Please like our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/inspirlang/ Inspirlang.com