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Grammar Notes for lesson 2

The linking verb 是 shì 

The linking verb 是 shì is used to link nouns or pronouns, as in 他 是 老 师 tā shì lǎoshī he is a teacher and 我 是 学 生 wǒ shì xuésheng I am a student. (See lessons 4 and 5)


This term refers to a verb when its function, used together with its own object, is to modify the main verb of a sentence. An example is 在 zài, which can be used as a co-verb meaning to be located in, on or at a place. Please note in this context that sequence and background are important in Chinese when it comes to describing actions. The first action in a sequence should come first in an utterance. In 小 丁 在 家 看 书 Xiǎo Dīng zài jiā kàn shū Xiao Ding is reading a book at home the first action in the sequence could be described as the background to the main action, but it still has to come first, with the co-verb 在 zài  followed by the noun 家 jiā  forming a co-verb clause. In the example given here Xiao Ding would have had to be at home before he started reading the book.

The particle 吧 ba

The particle 吧 ba  is placed at the end of a sentence to indicate suggestion.

Modal verbs

Modal verbs are like auxiliary verbs and are placed before main verbs. Examples are: 应 该 yīnggāi and 得 děi to have to…, to be obliged; 可 以 kěyǐ to be permitted; 能 néng to be able; 想 xiǎng to want, to intend; and 爱 ài to like, to be fond of.