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Grammar Notes for lesson 4

tài expresses excessiveness

The affirmative form of the 太 tài construction is 太 tài [stative verb] 了le, which means extremely [stative verb] as in 太 好 了 tài hăo le extremely good. The negative form is 不 太 tài [stative verb] without 了le, which means that something is not very [stative verb], as in 不 太 好 bú tài hăo not very good.

The question particle 呢 ne

呢 ne is placed at the end of a sentence. It can be used in the following situations:
1. To bounce a question or statement back to the person you are having a conversation with, as in:
A: 你 好吗 nĭ hăo ma ?
how are you?
B: 我 很 好. 你 呢 wŏ hěn hăo. nĭ ne?
I am very well, and you?
2. To ask the question where? as in 我 的 书 呢 wŏ de shū  ne where is my book?
3. To reinforce questions formed with a question-word [who? what? which? when? why? where?] and to show that a speaker really wants to know the answer, as in: 他 是 哪 国 人 呢 tā shì nă guó rén ne what nationality IS he? 你 看 的 是 什 么 书 呢 nĭ kàn de shì shénme shū ne what book ARE you reading? 你 去 哪 儿 呢 nĭ qù năr ne  where ARE you going?

不是...... búshìshì … sentence construction

The 不是...是... búshì shì… sentence construction is used to deny one statement and confirm another, as in 不 是 我 的 语 法 不 好, 是 语 法 太 难 了 búshì wǒ de yǔfǎ bùhǎo, shì yǔfǎ tài nán le it is not that my grammar is weak, it is that the grammar is too difficult.

Use of 以后 yǐ hòu

以 后 yǐhòu is used to form time clauses. So, if 以 后 yǐhòu is placed after a noun or phrase to form a time clause, it defines a time after the action indicated by the noun or predicate, as in: 午 饭 以 后 wǔfàn yǐhòu after having lunch. However, if 以 后 yǐhòu is placed at the beginning of a phrase and used as a time word, it means later, in the future, as in 以 后 我 想 去 中 国 yǐhòu wǒ xiǎng qù Zhōngguó later/one day I would like to go to China

Telling the time

The linking verb 是 shì to be is not needed when giving the time or the date: 今 天 星 期 天  jīntiān xīngqī tiān today is Sunday. 现 在 两 点 零 五 分 xiànzài liǎng diǎn líng wǔ fēn it is five past two. (See lessons 2 and 5)

The adverb 那(么) nà me

nà   is short for 那 么 nà me . If 那 (么) nà (me) is placed at the beginning of a sentence it implies if this is the case….