Mandarin Chinese word order
Auxiliary verbsAuxiliary verbs are also known as helper verbs. English is full of them, and so is Mandarin. In Mandarin, auxiliary verbs are placed before the main verb just as they are in English. Some more examples, with the auxiliary verb colour coded in purple. 她 会说中文。 Tā huì shuō zhōngwén. She can speak Chinese. 他们 可以帮助你。 Tāmen kěyǐ bāngzhù nǐ. They can help you.
NegationEnglish is a bit funny about negation. It doesn’t like negating main verbs, so if there isn’t an auxiliary verb it will insert one and negate that. In Mandarin you can just negate the main verb (negation colour coded in pink): 我 不喜欢他。 Wǒ bù xǐhuan tā. I don’t like him. 他们 不吃肉。 Tāmen bù chī ròu. They don’t eat meat. 她 不喝咖啡。 Tā bù hē kāfēi. She doesn’t drink coffee. When there is an auxiliary verb, Mandarin prefers to negate that. Some examples: 他们 不会说中文。 Tāmen bù huì shuō zhōngwén. They can not speak Chinese. 她 不要去。 Tā bùyào qù. She will not go. 我 不应该告诉你。 Wǒ bù yìng gāi gàosu nǐ. I should not tell you. Note how in English the negation occurs after what’s being negated, whereas in Chinese it comes before. This is because of a general rule in Chinese: modifiers precede what they modify .
Common conjunctions和 (hé): and – 和 can only link words and phrases, not sentences Example:
|她喜欢茶和咖啡。||tā xǐhuan chá hé kāfēi||She likes tea and coffee.|
|我想买一瓶橙汁或一瓶苹果汁。||wǒ xiǎng mǎi yī píng chéngzhī huò yī píng píngguǒzhī.||I would like to buy a bottle of orange juice or apple juice.|
|我想出去跳舞或者在家看电视.||wǒ xiǎng chūqù tiàowǔ huòzhě zài jiā kàn diànshì.||I would like to go dancing or to stay at home and watch TV.|
|你喝茶还是咖啡?||nǐ hē chá háishì kāfēi?||Do you drink tea or coffee?|
|如果我有钱，我就买一辆新车。||rúguǒ wǒ yǒuqián, wǒ jiù mǎi yī liàng xīn chē||If I had money, I would buy a new car.|
|wǒ xǐhuān tīng liúxíng yīnyuè, kěshì wǒ péngyou xǐhuān tīng gǔdiǎn yīnyuè.|
|I like listening to pop music, but my friend likes listening to classical music.|
|我学中文，因为我要去中国旅行。||wǒ xué zhōngwén, yīnwèi wǒ yào qù zhōngguó lǚxíng.||I am studing Chinese because I want to go and travel in China.|
|她太忙了, 所以不出去跳舞。||tā tài máng le, suǒyǐ bù chūqù tiàowǔ.||She is very busy, therefore she can’t go out dancing.|
|虽然他很忙, 他还是邀请我们去他家。||suīrán tā hěn máng, tā háishì yāoqǐng wǒmen qù tā jiā.||Although he is very busy, he has invited us to his home.|
|除了北京以外，我没去过其他地方。||chúle běijīng yǐwài, wǒ méi qù guò qítā dìfang.||Apart from Beijing I have not been to any other places.|
|如果你想看电视，我们就呆在家里。||rúguǒ nǐ xiǎng kàn diànshi, wǒmen jiǔ dāi zài jiā lǐ.||If you want to watch TV, we can stay at home.|