Chinese language skills for Britain: Disseminating Best Practice
Sentence Patterns for reading skills Week 1
Tips Vocabulary Sentence patterns Reading practice Main text
The question word 什 么 refers to a noun, which is often the subject or object of a sentence, as in
what textbooks do primary schoolchildren study?
怎 么 is used to ask how something is done. It should be placed before verbs, as in
How do you do your housework?
The marker 的 is used to form a clause which describes a noun. The marker 的is placed between the description and the noun. This construction is like an inverted relative clause in English For instance,
The things which they can learn at home are numerous.
As you can see, the clause of description which they can learn at home is placed before the marker 的, and this is followed by the noun things.
Modal verbs are used to express obligation, feeling, intention, permission and capacity, and can be placed before main verbs of sentences. For instance,
May I play after school?
(You) shouldn’t play after school.
When an adjective is used as a predicate, such as to be + adjective, we label it a stative verb. In
This book is very good.
The adjective 好good is used as a stative verb. The linking verb to be 是 is not used in Chinese. For instance,
There are very many primary schoolchildren in China.
The linking verb 是is used to connect two nouns or pronouns.
He is a student.
以 is placed before position words such as 前before, 后after, 内within,外out, 上above and下below to indicate the time or position of the phrase before 以. For instance,
After going back home
Many co-verbs are verbs in Chinese, but some of them, such as 为 and 被, can only be used as co-verbs in modern Chinese.
Sequence is very important in Chinese when it comes to describing actions. The first action should come first. For example,
I study at home.
我坐飞机去了中国 I went to China by airplane. You have to think that the action of 坐 飞机 taking the airplane happens before
As you can see from the above examples, a co-verb is followed by a noun to form a co-verb clause.
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