FDTL Reading Session


Sentence pattern and function word index


There are approximately 108 sentence patterns and expressions. The numbers in the brackets refer to lesson numbers.



Abbreviations and additions (11/13)

A balanced number of syllables in a phrase is important in written Chinese. Sometimes a syllable in a word can be omitted in order to form the abbreviated expression desired. Syllables can also be added to a word to form an expression, as shown in the following sentence which contains the co-verb take a certain form of transport and the resultative verb phrase to arrive by flying in   arrived in Taipei on a China Air flight.  As the word China Air after to take has two syllables, it would be desirable for the verb to be attached to another syllable . Similarly, the place name Taipei after the resultative verb arrive has two syllables, therefore the verb has another syllable, as in .


Alternatively, these additional syllables can be removed if needed. For instance: the verb in the article is used differently, sometimes on its own as in (a desirable four-character expression) and sometimes with another syllable as in 搭乘. Please see Newspaper reading tips below.

The following sentences have abbreviated elements. Can you identify these elements? Do you know why they are abbreviated?


Sometimes, if the syllables in the sentences have a natural break, then constructional function words can be omitted. For instance: if (I) don’t come (here), (we) won’t know each other is a conditional sentence. The meaning is still clear even without the function words and because the sentence has a natural break point. A five-syllable sentence with phrases of two against three is regarded as a desirable sentence pattern.


Sayings and slogans are often made up of three and four character phrases, as we have already seen. There are also five and seven character expressions. A seven-character expression is formed by a four-character expression plus a three-character expression, as in 你方唱罢我登场 one after another, changeable. It is used as a metaphor. It literally means when you finish singing it will be my turn to go on the stage.


Adverbial marker de (8)

The adverbial marker is used to describe the manner in which an action is carried out. For instance:



we have to discuss this issue seriously.


…bĭ…, the comparative construction (6)



 V        (amount)


增长    37.3%

This year


last year same period

increase 37.3%

This year it has increased by 37.3% compared with the same period last year.


bìng with negations bu / méi 不/没 (not) at all (1)

This is used to emphasize the fact that something is not what was expected. It can only be used in the negative form.

这么容易的 问题

其实            不用   问。

such easy DE question

actually (one) at all should not ask

One shouldn’t ask a such easy question at all.




is the negative form of and used as a comparative construction. However, sometimes is similar to . is placed between phrase A and phrase B. This construction implies that the situation in phrase A is not as good as it is in B. Either A or B can be abbreviated. For instance:






国的 量。

China’s economic power is not as great as that of the US.



bùguăn…huò…            NO MATTER …OR… (14)

is short for . Another similar expression is … For instance:


( )


( )


No matter whether it is raining or snowing we will definitely come to the class.


Co-verb (1)

Many co-verbs are verbs in Chinese, but some of them, such as and , 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 went to China by aeroplane. You have to think that the action of  () taking the airplane happens before going to China, therefore by aeroplane     (坐飞 ) should be placed before went to China (去中 ). If you want to say I go to school by car it is understood by a Chinese person that you have to take the car before you can reach school, so by car (坐汽车 ) should be placed before go to school(去学 校).

As you can see from the above examples, a co-verb is followed by a noun to form a co-verb clause.


used as a co-verb (7)

A verb in the construction changes the form, situation or direction of the object. A verb in the construction is in complex form. It is usually a verb of method of action plus another element. The elements which can be attached to the main verbs in sentences are:

Resultative complements


应该             力量

放在       工作 


should    BA strength

put  on  work on

We should put our energy into our work.

Directional complements




already  BA book

deliver in go LE

He has already taken the book in.

(complement of degree) constructions

                               这个         工作



BA  this GE work   

do DE very no good

You didn’t do this job very well.

一下 (or verb)




please you

again    BA this GE exercise

do  once

Please do this exercise once more.


cóng…(V)dào… …(V) … FROM … TO… (7)

This construction is used to indicate a sequence of actions. Like the other co-verb constructions, a …clause is followed by a main verb clause, in this case (V) .

For instance:



from home

walk to school.

Walk to school from home.


jiāng used as a co-verb (8)

can also be used as a co-verb like . It is often used in written Chinese, but can be used in both written and colloquial Chinese. All the rules which apply to   also apply to. For instance:



our school

JING most good DE students

send go England study

Our school sends its best students to Britain to study.


yóu…dào…V FROM …TO… (8)

This construction is similar to …Vwhich creates an idea of distance. could be followed by a time word, number or place word. For instance:



From 60,000 people

increased to 80,000 people


wèi FOR… used as a co-verb (8)

is followed by a noun or V-O pattern to form a co-verb clause. A main verb is often placed after a co-verb clause. For instance:

The member states provide troops for this army.


            xiàng used as a co-verb (9)

When is used as a co-verb, it means towards, to or from. is followed by a noun or a noun clause to form a co-verb clause. For instance:



When Chinese people want to go abroad, they can apply for passports from the Public Security Bureau.


…chéng , e.g.,   40% (15)

Percentage in Chinese is often described by the word . One is 10%, four means 40%. 45% will be   four 10% and half.


chéng…(qūshì)…(趋势) APPEAR…TENDENCY  (6)

The description of the tendency is placed between and 趋势. For instance:

中国人口   增长


China population increase rate

appear  rise     tendency.

China’s population growth rate shows a tendency to rise.


chúle…yĭwài … () APART FROM… (10)

The person or the action after apart from is placed between 除了 and 以外. Very often or 以外 is omitted, especially in the spoken language. The clause after 除了...以外 often consists of the following adverbs:



Apart from tea, China does not export anything.



In addition to exporting tea, China also imports tea.

-----in addition:


In addition exporting tea China also exports grains.



In addition exporting tea last year, China exported tea again this year.


chūyú…出于 ARISE FROM… (7)

出于 is short for 出自于. It is often placed after a subject and followed by a noun. For instance:

老师         出自于         负责,


teacher arise from responsibility,

so   ask you do this exercise

The teacher feels that it is his responsibility to ask you to do this exercise.


Comparative [also see …bĭ…]: stative verb + (3)

This is a written type of comparative construction. For instance:


SV         B



China’s population

more than Britain’s population

The Chinese population is larger than Britain’s.


Conditional sentence rúguŏ…dehuà … jiù , … (3)

A conditional clause is placed between and , though can be omitted. The outcome of the condition is placed in the clause. is an adverb, which should be placed before verbs. For instance:





If        student      school after        use drugs   DE HUA 

parents JIU should tell        school’s   teachers


If pupils take drugs after school, their parents should let the teachers know.

However, abbreviated forms of this construction are frequently used in newspapers. For instance: the above sentence can also be written in the following ways:

1                    Without  : ,



2                    Without :



3          Without : , 




  REACH (15)

is followed by a number word. For instance:



There are over 2000 participants at the meeting.


dāng shí 当时 AT THAT TIME (16)

当时 is used as a time word, placed before verbs or subjects of sentences. For instance:



At that time we did not notice the action at all.


dāng shŭ   IT SHOULD BELONG TO…(14)

This is an abbreviated expression for .


de marker for describing nouns (1)

The marker is used to form a clause which describes a noun. The marker is placed  between the description and the noun. This construction is like an inverted relative clause in English. For instance:

他们             东西


they at home can study DE things

very many

 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 , and this is followed by the noun things.



The noun is omitted in the verb clause + construction. The verb clause clarifies the noun which is omitted. For instance:


The thing I want to talk about is …,


The thing to which we should pay attention is


…dĭ   END OF… (6)

is placed after or as in the end of the year, the end of the month, 2000() the end of 2000, 十月 the end of October.


duì clause (4)

It means TO (THIS)… The clause is used as a co-verb clause in sentences to bring a topic before the verb. Modal verbs such as 应该, are placed before the clause. For instance:



V      O


应该                          作风

进行                     政治      运动


should DUI no good DE practice        

carry out a CHANG  political movement

We should launch a political campaign to oppose unhealthy work practices.




V      O







Without clause the above sentences will be:




ér YET (8/12/13)

can be used to link two clauses opposite in meaning as in  不实 magnificent, yet not practical. is an adverb and is placed before the verb in the second clause of a sentence.

 Britain and the US have similar views, but France has a different standpoint.

a great yet tough task.


…fāng … SIDE.  (5)

is placed after a monosyllabic word:


The Western world.

The British side. 

Our side.

The enemy side.


Four-character expressions (11/13)

A four-character phrase is desirable in a title. Such phrases are formed in the following ways.

two pairs of  two-syllable nouns



University teachers

a two-syllable verb with a two-syllable noun



Maintain principles

two sets of V-O in sequence destroy old, establish new



a two-syllable adverb with a two-syllable verb



Work diligently

a two-syllable noun with a two-syllable stative verb



Excellent achievement



Even closer









A commonly used four-character expression is formed from two double-syllable expressions, such as 排名第三 pecking order number three [lit. number three on the line]. The phrase is formed by two double character expressions: 排名 pecking order 第三 number three. 销量大增 the number (of copies) being sold increases in large scale. The phrase is formed by a double-syllable noun 销量 and followed by a combined two-syllable phrase (adverblarge and verb increase).


…fŏu …: 是否/能否 ... WHETHER... OR NOT (5)

, and most monosyllabic modal verbs can be placed before to form a choice type expression. For example, 是否 whether ... is... or not, 有否 whether... have... or not, whether... will... or not, whether... should... or not.

这些      学生


 取决于          他们的      学习成绩.

these   students

can or cannot graduate 

depends on their       study results

Whether these students can graduate or not, depends on their academic results.


gāi (4)

means THE ABOVE MENTIONED, THE AFOREMENTIONED. It is often followed by a noun. For instance:

云南     Yunnan university

行了一   动,carried out a chang   anti-drug campaign,       


The aforementioned university’s teachers and students all…

Yunnan University carried out an anti-drug campaign. The teachers and students of the aforementioned university are...





(gēn)jù…() ACCORDING TO (6)

is short for 根据. A 根据 clause is followed by a main clause. For instance:

根据          专家  分析,

中国和台湾       的问题

10                解决

according to experts analyse,

China and Taiwan DE issue    

in  10 years  within will solved

According to the experts’ analysis, the China/Taiwan conflict will be solved within 10 years.


huà    ..ISE, …ISATION (16)

It means to turn one situation or thing into another. Normally it is preceded by a noun or monosyllable stative verb.





To realise the 4 modernizations.





To deepen the reforms.                       



is used to indicate a detailed or specific explanation. The explanation is placed after

. For instance:


经济        改革       政策,           一些   成就。

China’s    reform   policy,  


economic reform policy has LE some success

China’s reform policy, namely the economic reform policy, has had some success.


jì…yĕ…   construction (4)

It means BOTH... AND / AS WELL AS

The clauses in the ... ... construction are normally parallel in sense. and are placed before verbs or stative verbs.



我们学           东西 不好        ,

学了以后        不能        用。

we   studied DE thing JI  not easy study,

studied after YE cannot use

The things which we learned were not very easy, we cannot even  use them after learning them.






jiāng WILL (6)

is used as an auxiliary verb. It implies that the action that follows will take place in the future. For instance:


亚洲各        建立经济   共同体。


will with Asian other countries set up  economic  union

China will set up economic union with other Asian countries.


jìnxíng TO CARRY OUT (4)

This sentence pattern is frequently used in newspapers. The nouns preceded by are used as verbs in sentences: words such as to discuss and discussion, to develop and development, to negotiate and negotiation are often seen after the verb . When you learn a new word which is preceded by , you should remember it as a phrase: for example,



Carry out negotiations



Carry out developments


jīng (guò) () clause (4)

is short for AS A RESULT OF (Lit. TO GO THROUGH, PASS). It is similar to another expression tōngguò. The elements which are followed by or can be verbs, nouns, or nouns with attributives. Usually these elements or phrases imply sustained actions.

A or clause is often followed by a clause which contains the main verb of the sentence:



V                                      O

经过             努力,


                一本   小说 

as a result of effort,

last year he  

write completed   a BEN novel

After much hard work, he completed his novel last summer.




V                               O


17 的努




Without clause the above sentences will be:







jiù  used for emphasis (8)

can be placed before the linking verb to reinforce a statement. For instance:


Our aim is to learn Chinese well.


jiù  CONCERNING (10)

is used to bring a topic to readers’ attention.  The topic is placed after to form a clause. The clause can either be placed before the subject of a sentence or before a main verb. A verb-object phrase is preceded by the clause. 进行 is one of the most commonly used verbs in this construction. The verb 进行 is followed by a noun which consists of a verb meaning such as 讨论 discussion / discuss.发展 develop/ development. For instance:



We carried out a serious discussion on the scholarship issue. 


The Chinese and British Governments carried out discussions on the draft H.K. Basic Law.


Time word +  V …AS EARLY AS (time word) (15)

can be placed after a time word, and before the verb, to comment on the time, which is earlier than expected.

九点 来了学校。

he came to school as early as nine o'clock.

Compare this with


he came to school at 9.


  () (9)

is short for (see above gēn), and is followed by a verb such as:

lit. according to what was believed. It was believed…

lit. according to what was said. It was said

lit. according to what was disclosed. It was revealed…

lit. according to what was reported. It was reported


juédìng (17)

can be used as a modal verb, to be followed by another verb. For instance: 我决定去中国旅行 I have decided that I would like to go to China to travel. The aspectual is not used in sentences which contain modal verbs such as and .


lái IN ORDER TO.  (5)

can be used to link two sequential actions. Usually the first action is taken in order to achieve the result in the second clause. For example 采取行动制止右翼团体干涉中国内政的活动 To take actions (in order) to stop the activities of the right-wing group in interfering China's internal affairs. 我放些录音给你听 I’ll play some recordings for you to listen to.



láizì来自COME FROM (15)

come from. It is used in formal written Chinese. For instance: 来自中国come from China. Colloquially this expression can be found as 从中国来, where is used as a co-verb.


lián…yĕ… … construction EVEN… (13)

This is one of the constructions used to highlight a noun, a noun clause or a v-o pattern. The highlighted word or clause can be the subject or object of a sentence and is placed after      . or is placed before the main verb of the sentence. The difference between and is that can be used in both the affirmative and negative, while is normally used before negatives or before verbs which have a negative sense.


       O. [V-O]

/         V.                 v. [EMPHASIS ON THE OBJECT]






He has even forgotten to go to sleep.



/     V.       O.  [EMPHASIS ON THE SUBJECT]


            不去上  课。

Even the good students don't go to class.


le particle used for completed action (2)

When the particle is placed after a verb, it implies that the action is complete. A verb before the particle is usually the main verb of a sentence. For instance:


Co-V clause V     O



today  my teacher

at meeting    make LE  speech

My teacher made a speech at the meeting.


le particle for completed action is not used (2)

When direct or indirect speech is used, is not used after the verb “to speak”. For instance:


                    16         犯。

responsible person

announce immediately arrest 16 MING criminals

The person in charge announced that 16 criminals would be arrested immediately.

Particle for completed action is not used after the verb , to announce


le Modal particle indicates the change of situation (3)

When the particle is placed at end of a clause or sentence, it has many implications. One of the implications is a change of situation. For instance:


       V       O


not go China LE

Now we are not going to China.


lìrú  例如, 比如, FOR INSTANCE


Linking verb shì (1)

The linking verb is used to connect two nouns or pronouns.



is student

He is a student.


lìngrén 令人 MAKE PEOPLE (FEEL)… (13)

The meaning of in this usage is similar to 使 as in 使人cause people


lìngwài 另外 APART FROM THIS… MORE OVER…(14)

另外 is similar to 此外 and to 而且, but 而且 cannot be placed at the beginning of a sentence, unlike 另外 and 此外.


Measure words (2)

Measure words are needed in the following situations.

  1. When a quantity is involved, For instance: if you use a number in front of a noun.




Three students.

  1. When you want to specify a noun, in other words if you use this, that, every. For instance:




This teacher.

  1. When the question words which and how many are used. For example,



have how many



How many teachers do you have?


The following two measure words are used in the text

míng is used for members of an institution or major organisation, such as party members and university teachers: 大学老师 two university teachers.

  units of something. It is a common measure word for both abstract and physical objects such as people, schools, and ideas, as in five people.


used as a measure word (9)

is a measure word for events and law cases.


rén () ONE PERSON (15)

If a number word precedes the noun people, person, in written Chinese, measure words such as , or are not needed, especially in four-character expressions or other idiomatic expressions. For instance:  一家三, a family of 3, 受伤, 四人死亡 five injured and four dead


rèn  (16)

is used for turns in office. For instance:




The 66th elected President of the US.

            suŏ (16)

is used for buildings. For instance:


A school.

            wèi  (16)

is used for people and positions. For instance:



These 3 teachers are all teaching Chinese.



This university is in position number 5 on the list.

            jŭdòng 举动 (16)

A measure word is not necessary when 举动 is preceded by , For instance: 这一举动 this action.


Modal verbs yīnggāi , néng (1)

Modal verbs are used to express obligation, feeling, intention, permission and capacity, and can be placed before main verbs of sentences. For instance:

放学 以后       ?


after school may play ma

may I play after school?

放学 以后    应该         玩。

after school not ought to play

 (You) shouldn’t play after school

jiāng used as a modal verb (8)

can be placed before a main verb or co-verb to indicate that the action will take place in the future. is often used in written Chinese. For instance:


China is about to announce a piece of important news.

            juédìng决定 (17)

决定can be used as a modal verb, to be followed by another verb. For instance:


I have decided that I would like to go to China to travel.

The aspectual is not used in sentences which contain modal verbs such as 决定 and        开始.


mŏu… CERTAIN… (7)

is used to disguise a real name, as in : although the surname Li is revealed, the given name is hidden. can also be followed by a noun: a certain school, a certain person. 医院 a certain hospital.


…nèi WITHIN (10)

When implies within, it is placed at the end of a clause. The clause can be the duration, numeral or place. is often preceded by or . For instance:


Within 10 days.


Passive constructions

bèi  used as a passive construction (7)

sentences describe how a particular object (abstract or physical) is dealt with or disposed of by somebody or something. The verbs in these constructions take complicated forms. They are verbs of method of action, plus other elements. Most of the elements attached to the main verbs in sentences are similar to those used in the construction:

Time/action measure: Resultative complements




all by us    put work on LE

We have put all our energy into our work.


Directional complements



already by him deliver in go le

The book has already been taken into (a room) by him.


(complement of degree) constructions



this     job       

by you do DE very no good

This job hasn’t been done very well by you.


一下 (or verb); 三个星期; 一次; 一遍



This exercise

again by you do le once

This exercise has been done once more by you.



When is placed before a verb it makes it passive. For instance: … was beaten. was told off. 批评was criticised. 解雇 …was sacked.


yóu the passive construction (8)

The passive construction with is different from the passive construction with    . The construction is unlike the construction, that is, the agent cannot be omitted. However, a verb in the construction is a simple one, and unlike the construction has no attached element. For instance:

This meeting is being chaired by the Minister of Public Security.



The clause is used when its noun has already appeared in the previous clause. For instance:

The Chinese government has launched an anti-drug campaign. Its aim is to control the spread of AIDS.


qíshí ACTUALLY, IN FACT (14)

(Lit. THIS IS THE REALITY) is used as an adverb in sentences. can be placed before a verb or a noun. For instance:



 Lao Wang is actually a good person.


… qíyú   REST OF … (10)

means its, means surplus. is an adverb and is often followed by a verb. For instance: 



Two of our classmates have gone home, one is in the library and the rest have gone to the pub.


…qízhōng AMONG WHICH; IN WHICH (6)

The 其中clause is preceded by another clause which describes a general situation. The 其中clause often contains number words or phrases which imply quantity. For instance:

我们大学           学生,

our  university has very many students  

其中           500         男生            600      女生。

among which  500 MING male students  600 MING female

There are very many students in our university, of whom 500 are male and 600 are female.


…quán … …RIGHTS OF… / POWER (8)

human rights



Question words , 怎么 (1)

The question word refers to a noun, which is often the subject or object of a sentence, as in 



[primary school children

study what textbook

What textbooks do primary schoolchildren study?

is used to ask how something is done. It should be placed before verbs, as in



how do your housework?

How do you do your housework? 


rúcĭkànlái 如此看来 LOOKING AT THIS SITUATION (13)


shàng… REACH (10)

When is used as a verb, one of its meanings is to reach. In this usage, is followed by a numeral unit over ten as in reach hundreds. reach ten thousands.


shènzhi(yú)    甚至() SO FAR AS TO,  EVEN (14)

can be omitted in the 甚至 construction. 甚至 is similar to ... in meaning. It is an adverb and can be placed either before a noun or before a verb.

In ... sentences the emphasis is on the noun or the verb-object phrase which follows   . However, 甚至 can either refer to a noun or to the degree of an action:





Even our teacher finds Chinese difficult.



He drove so fast that the car was flying. The ... construction cannot be used in the above sentence.


shĭ 使 (11)


使 is a verb which cannot be followed by a noun, but by a noun + its verbal clause, as shown in the following pattern:


s.          v.     o.


使                  s.          v.     o.


使        他女朋友 很着

Xiao Li doesn't want to eat. This has made his girlfriend very worried.

学习    汉字  

使                    疼。

Learning Chinese characters gives me a headache.


总是    使        老师        气。

He always makes the teacher angry.

Theclause can be a pronoun in 3, a v-o pattern in 2 or a sentence in 1, but all the clauses in the above three sentences have verbal elements.


…bring the relationship of both sides even closer.


suīrán … dànshì  … ALTHOUGH…(15)

This construction has two clauses. The first clause begins with although, while the second clause begins with 但是 but or however. Both and 但是 can be placed before a verb or a noun. For instance:


但是有人学得好, 有人学得不太好。

Although we are all learning Chinese, some of us have been doing well and some haven’t.


suízhe   随着 ALONG WITH…, IN THE WAKE OF… (13)

随着 is placed at the beginning of a clause. The 随着clause is followed by a main clause of a sentence as in



Along with the deepening of the development of China’s economy, the standard of living is also improving day by day.


suŏ (8)

When is used as an adverb and is placed before a verb which is then followed by and a noun, the stress is on the noun. For instance:

防务 位是

Our position on European defence, in which we take a leading role, is that


Stative verbs  , (1)

When an adjective is used as a predicate, such as to be + adjective, we label it a stative verb.


this textbook

very good

This textbook is very good

The adjective is used as a stative verb. The linking verb to be is not used in Chinese. For instance:


Chinese primary schoolchildren

very many

There are very many primary schoolchildren in China.


Time clause when  …de shíhòu … or  …shí … (3)

is used to form a time when clause. The description of when is placed before    . For instance:


I    arrive my teacher’s home

DE time

When I arrived at my teacher’s home

The clause is an abbreviated form of … 时候.  The clause above can also be written as follows:



I    arrive my  teacher’s home


When I arrived at my teacher’s home


Time phrases and place phrases (1)

Time phrases and place phrases are placed before the main verb in a sentence. For instance:



midday  at       teacher’s          home   hold     meeting

We will hold a meeting at the teacher’s home at midday.


wéi  TO DO (16)

can also be used as a verb, as in formal style of writing, for example,

人之所不敢 Do the things which other people dare not do.


wèi  (9)

means not yet, and it is similar to () .  is used in written Chinese, and it is followed by a verb, modal verb or co-verb. For instance:


China has not joined the WTO yet.


Verb complements (6)

zài used as a verb complement.

Verb complements indicate the results and directions of actions. The complements are placed after verbs of action. For example:



Spread through countryside



Set up in Beijing.


Resultative complements (16)


When is used as a resultative verb it means to reach or to obtain. For instance: to get hold of something. means to receive, and means to obtain. to get hold of something by buying.


When    is used as a resultative verb it means to become… and is followed by a noun

当选 校长 to be elected as a head of school.


xìng   NATURE OF...  (5)

The use of is often seen in formal written Chinese. can change a stative verb into a noun, and can also change a noun into an attributive adjective. 重要 to be important is a stative verb. If it is followed by , then it becomes a noun 重要 importance. 历史 means history, and 历史 means historic.

重要 used as a stative verb



this JIAN matter

very important

This matter is very important.

重要 used as a noun

这件事     的重要


This jian matter de importance 

is what

What is the importance of this matter?

历史 used as a noun



is history

This is history.

历史used as an adjective



is   historic      de  reform

This is a historic reform.


yīn… BECAUSE (7)

is short for 因为. A 因为 clause is often followed by a 所以 therefore clause. Both and are placed before subjects or verbs in sentences. Aclause is often followed by clause. For instance:



所以       被警察      逮捕

                      被警察      逮捕

He because use drug 

therefore by police arrested

He was arrested because he had taken drugs.


yīn…ér…… (9)

The  construction is used in written Chinese.  It is similar to … The clause is followed by a clause which expresses a cause or reason, while is followed by a clause which express an outcome. For instance:


They were arrested because they had been making anti-China speeches.


yí ge bú zhùyì   A SLIGHT MISTAKE … (14)

This expression is used as a conditional clause, and is followed by a clause of consequence. For instance:



In the class, if (we) lose our concentration slightly, we won’t understand what the teacher says.



is placed before position words such as before , after , within , out , above and below to indicate the time or position of the phrase before . For instance:


return home


After going back home


yĭ(A) wéi (B)   (A) (B)   REGARD (A) AS (B)  (10)

In this construction, means to use, to take and means to be as. Literally this construction means to take (A) as (B). Both (A) and (B) are nouns or pronouns. This is similar to the construction, but is used in written Chinese. For instance:





Follow his example.

In the spoken language is used and this would be .                    


AS. (11)

It is used as a co-verb in the following sentence. Its meaning is similar to , use the name (title) of… The description of the name in the following sentence is placed before the marker .


Came to visit in the capacity of Director of the Shanghai City Social Work Association.



The clause contains the outcome and is often placed after the clause which contains the action leading to the outcome.



Both sides should establish the 3 links as soon as possible, so that (unnecessary) travel time will be saved.


…yĭlái以来, SINCE (16)

This expression is used to form time clauses, as in



被误认为 右派分子。

Since Liberation, many intellectuals have been labelled mistakenly as “rightists”.


yĭmiăn SO AS TO AVOID … (14)

The first clause of a sentence indicates an action, while the second clause indicates an outcome which should be avoided. For instance:


We eat more fruit and vegetables in order to avoid heart disease.


yŏule 有了+ N (16)

The nouns preceded by 有了 can also be used as verbs, such as a 发展 development / develop 进步 progress 提高 increase 改善 improvement / improve.


BE IN, ON, AT (7)

is used in a formal style of writing and is followed by a time word or place. It is similar to . For instance:


3          16日开始。


at  March 16   start

The meeting starts on 16 March.


…yú OVER (10)

also means surplus. When is preceded by a numeral over 10, its meaning is similar to : over, more. For example:

Over a hundred people.


yu :  AB 斗争 (6)

AND. It is used as a conjunction or co-verb. For instance:


进行                      外交上                 交涉。

China and US

carried out LE diplomatic DE negotiation.

China carried out diplomatic negotiations with the US.



It is used as a verb in written style. is followed by a monosyllabic verb such as


Have desire to be China’s



This construction should always be placed before stative verbs and before adverbs in the complement of degree construction:



It's getting colder. [stative verb]



The train is increasing its speed.  [adverb of the complement of degree construction]



The conditional clause following the first shows the extent of the feeling, state or action; the second clause shows the result. should always be placed before the verb, stative verb or adverb:



The more you study Chinese the more difficult it gets.


The more you beat the children the better they will become.


zài clause (5)

The clause is important. It can help you to find the main verbs, subjects and objects of sentences. The clause often appears before adverbs, verbs and the attributive clause, (the clause). The clause is often seen in the following forms: ... , or (a clause for an event, place and situation) and ...(a time clause.) Let’s take out all the clauses in the following sentences.


The main verb is .



The main verb is .

... 台湾


is the subject of the sentence.



The main verb is .

... 美国政府

应该制止右翼团体台湾问题的活 动。

活动 is the object of the sentence.


zài…xià clause UNDER… (2/12/13)

This clause is often placed before the main verb of a sentence. For instance:



primary schoolchildren 

at    teachers and parents DE  help     under all    passed   LE secondary

                                                                                                  (entrance exams)

All the primary schoolchildren passed their secondary school entrance exams.


can be omitted in the sentence pattern as in ()儿童图书方面on the subject of children’s books


…zé … (9)

  1. 则 is used as an adverb meaning but, on the other hand, and is often placed before a verb or adverb in the second clause of a sentence to indicate a contrast between the preceding and the following.  则 is often seen in written language. For instance:



Some work hard and some are lighthearted in work.



They want a house, whereas we would rather live in a flat.

  1. also means then, and is often placed before a verb in the second clause of a sentence to indicate an outcome of action.  is often seen in four-character expressions. For instance:


If one does not move forwards, then by implication one will move backwards.


…zhàn ACOUNT FOR (6)

In this usage, is followed by a clause which contains numbers. For instance:


                  人口                90%

in  China  Han people

account for total population DE 90%

The Han population accounts for 90% of the total population in China.


…zhe … construction (8)

The particle is placed after a verb to imply that the action is under way. For instance:


The head of this ministry bears an important responsibility.


…zhĕ  noun + (3)

  PERSON, PEOPLE. It is often in the form of V/N+. It means the people who do a certain kind of job:

教育      工作 

education work


People who are engaged in education work


zhèng + V   + V ( 9)

() is placed before a verb to indicate that an action is under way. The progressive construction takes the following forms.


()() V     

 O     ()








We are learning Chinese.



When is placed before it implies emphasis. is similar to is precisely… just right.


…zhì  noun + (3)

SYSTEM.  Short for (zhìdù). is often placed after a noun or short phrase which modifies a type of system: