Shì John. (I’m John.) Bù: no, not Bù is the negative form of most verbs and adjectives. It changes to bú if a fourth-tone word follows. Wǒ bù icon

Shì John. (I’m John.) Bù: no, not Bù is the negative form of most verbs and adjectives. It changes to bú if a fourth-tone word follows. Wǒ bù


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Penn Lauder CIBER: Chinese Survival Skills for Business Practitioners

Grammar Notes


Penn Lauder CIBER

Chinese Survival Skills for Business Practitioners

Grammar Notes

Prepared by Wan-wen Kuo


Lesson 1. Getting Started!


1. Shì: to be


Shì is a be-verb in Chinese. Unlike be-verbs in English, it’s used only to identify people or things.

  • shì John. (I’m John.)


2. : no, not


is the negative form of most verbs and adjectives. It changes to if a fourth-tone word follows.

  • gāo. (I’m not tall.)

  • shì John. (I’m not John.)


3. Huì + verb: to know how to (verb)


  • huì shuō yìdiǎnr Zhōngwén. (I can speak a little bit of Chinese.)

  • huì kāichē. (I know how to drive.)


4. Forms of address


In Chinese, last names always precede titles. For example, Mr. Wang is Wáng xiānsheng, Miss Li is Lǐ xiǎojiě, and Manager Chen is Chén jīngǐ.


Lesson 2. Are You an American?


  1. Nín: you (honorific)


Nín is often used to show respect when talking to people who are older, people with higher status, or people you meet for the first time.


  1. Person + de + noun: one’s (noun)




  • de māma shì Měiguórén. (My mother’s American.)

  • Nín de fángjiān hàomǎ shì yī èr sān. (Your room number is 123.)




  1. Ma (question particle)


Ma can be placed at the end of any statement to form a yes/no question.

  • Wǒ shì Zhōngguórén. Nǐ shì Zhōngguórén ma? (I’m Chinese. Are you Chinese?)

  • Qǐngwèn nǐ huì shuō Zhōngwén ma? (Can you speak Chinese?)




  1. Qǐngwèn: May I ask….?


Qǐngwèn can be used at the beginning of any question to soften the tone of speech.


Lesson 3. Meeting People


  1. Nín guìxìng?: What’s your last name? (honorable)


This expression is used to ask politely and formally the last name of a person you meet for the first time. Guì xìng is a fixed expression and can be used only to inquire.


  1. Xìng/jiào: to be called (last name)/(first name or full name)


The literal translation of xìng is “(someone’s) last name is…”; and jiào is “(someone’s) first name/full name is….” In Chinese, xìng and jiào are used as verbs. For example:

  • xìng Yáo. (My last name is Yao.)

  • jiào Yáo Míng. (My full name is Yao Ming.)


Note that last names are always stated before first names; so a Chinese person who wants to introduce him/herself formally will say xìng (last name), jiào (first name) or jiào (last name) (first name).


  1. Ne (question particle)


Ne is used as a question particle in this lesson. Unlike ma, ne is used in contextualized questions, i.e., when the context is provided in the conversation. For example:

  • Wǒ hěn hǎo. Nǐ ne? (I’m good. How about you?)

  • Wǒ xìng Chén. Nín ne? (My last name is Chen. What’s yours?)

  • Wǒ shì Měiguórén. Tā ne? (I’m American. How about him/her?)




  1. Adjectives


Adjectives function as verbs in Chinese; therefore, shì is not necessary in a sentence like Wǒ hěn gāoxìng (“I’m very happy”). However, degree words such as “very,” “somewhat,” or “extremely” are necessary in the sentence. If you just want to say “I’m happy,” you can use the neutral degree word hěn (“very”) in the sentence. The degree of hěn is lighter than “very” in English.

  • Yáo Míng hěn gāo. (Yao Ming is tall.)

  • Chén xiānsheng hěn gāoxìng. (Mr. Chen is happy.)




  1. : also


The adverb is used frequently in Chinese. When modifying verbs/adjectives, it must to be placed before them. For example:

  • Yáo Míng hěn gāo. (Yao Ming is tall too.)

  • Chén xiānsheng shì Zhōngguórén. (Mr. Chen is Chinese too.)


Lesson 4. Where Are You From?


  1. Cóng…lái: to be from…




  • cóng Měiguó lái. (I’m from the U.S.)

  • cóng nǎr lái? (Where are you from?)




  1. Question forms


When asking questions in Chinese, the word order remains the same as in a statement. If it’s a yes/no question, you only need to add ma at the end of the statement. If it’s a wh-question, just replace the information you ask about with the proper question word.

  • Nǐ cóng nǎr lái? (Where are you from?)

  • Zhè shì shénme? (What is this?)




  1. Xǐhuan: to like


Xǐhuan is used to indicate a general preference or feelings of liking.

  • xǐhuan nǐ. (I like you.)

  • xǐhuan Zhōngguó cài. (I like Chinese food.)




  1. Word order


In the sentence Wǒ hěn xǐhuan Zhōngguó (I like China very much), you’ll find the correct word order in Chinese to be subject + adverb + verb + object.

  • Wǒ hěn xǐhuan Zhōngguó cài. (I like Chinese food very much.)


Lesson 5. What Time Is It?


  1. Méi: no, not


Most negation is bu + verb/adjective, except when yǒu follows the negation. The correct negation of yǒu is méi.

  • méi yǒu biǎo. (I don’t have a watch.)

  • Chén xiānsheng méi yǒu qián. (Mr. Chen doesn’t have any money.)




  1. Fēicháng: very, extremely


Fēicháng is a degree adverb. It’s similar to “very” in English.

  • fēicháng xǐhuan Zhōngguó cài. (I like Chinese food very much.)

  • Yáo Míng fēicháng gāo. (Yao Ming is very tall.)


Lesson 6. How Is Your Family?


  1. Búcuò: not bad, good


Cuò means “wrong, incorrect” in English. Búcuò is a fixed expression for which there’s no positive form. Note: Wǒ hěn cuò is incorrect.

  • Chén lǎoshī hěn búcuò. (Teacher Chen is not bad/very good.)




  1. men: a plural suffix for pronouns and people nouns




  • men yào qù Jiāzhōu. (We’re going to China.)

  • men shì Měiguórén ma? (Are you Americans?)




  1. Dōu: both, all


Dōu is a commonly used adverb. In Chinese, not all nouns use a suffix to indicate plural, so the use of dōu can indicate the noun in the sentence is not single.

  • Wǒ jiārén dōu hěn hǎo. (My family are all doing well.)

  • Zhōngguó cài dōu hǎochī. (All Chinese food is tasty.)




  1. Yào: to be going to, to want to


Yào has several meanings. Two are explained and demonstrated in this lesson.


When used as an auxiliary verb (with another verb), it means “to be going to.” It indicates the person has the plan and the will to do something. For example:

  • yào qù Zhōngguó. (I’m going to go to China.)

  • yào xué Zhōngwén. (I’m going to learn Chinese.)


When used as a regular verb, it means “to want (something).” You’ll probably hear it a lot when people order food in a restaurant.

  • yào kāfēi. (I want coffee.)

  • yào píjiǔ. (I want beer.)




  1. Word order with time expression


When a sentence includes a time expression, the word order is as follows:

Subject + Time + (Adverb) + Verb + Object -or- Time + Subject + (Adverb) + Verb + Object

  • Wǒ jīntiān yào qù Zhōngguó. (I’m going to China today.)

  • Wǒ míngnián yào xué Zhōngwén. (I’ll learn Chinese next year.)




  1. Word order with locations


When a sentence contains both time and location, the word order is:

(Time) + Subject + Time + Location + Verb + Object

  • Wǒ jīntiān zài jiā kànshū. (I read at home today.)

  • Wǒ jīntiān sān diǎn zài jiā shuō Zhōngwén. (I spoke Chinese at home at 3 P.M. today.)


Lesson 7. Are You Free on Saturday?


  1. De (possessive form)


De is used to indicate possession. For example:

  • de péngyǒu shì Měiguórén. (My friend is American.)

  • Chén jīnglǐ de chē hěn dà. (Manager Chen’s car is big.)


When talking about family members, de can be dropped.

  • Wǒ bàba māma dōu xǐhuan Zhōngguó cài. (Both my dad and mom like Chinese food.)




  1. Time expression


The Chinese express time from a more general time frame to a more specific time frame:

Year Month Date Day of the week Hour Minute

2008 nián 3 yuè 3 hào xīngqī sān sì diǎn shí fēn

  • Wǒ xīngqī yī zǎoshang shí diǎn yǒu kòng. (I’m free at 10 A.M. on Monday.)




  1. : how many, how much


The question word can be used to ask about date and time. Just replace the information needed with in a sentence.

  • Jīntiān shì yuè jǐ hào? (What’s today’s date?)

  • Jīntiān shì liù yuè sānshí hào. (Today’s June 30th.)




  1. Yǒu shì ma?: What do you have in mind?


When you want to know why someone asked you a certain question or tried to contact you, you can say yǒu shì ma. In this context, this expression is roughly equivalent to “why?” in English.


  1. Yìqǐ + verb: (verb) something together




  • Wǒ gēge jiějie yào yìqǐ qù Zhōngguó. (My brother and sister are going to China together.)

  • Xīngqī wǔ yīqǐ chīfàn, hǎo ma? (Let’s eat together on Friday, okay?)




  1. Tài…le: way too…, extremely…



  • Wǒ jīntiān tài máng le. (I’m way too busy today.)

  • tài kèqi le. (You’re too nice/polite.)

  • Tài hǎo le! (Excellent!)


Lesson 8. What’s This?


  1. Measure word


In Chinese everything is countable, so a measure word is always necessary when a pronoun or a number precedes the noun. The choice of measure depends on the type of noun. For example:

  • Zhè wèi shì Chén xiānsheng. (This is Mr. Chen.)

  • Zhè ge rén shì Měiguórén. (This person is American.)

  • Wǒ yǒu yí ge jiějie. (I have an older sister.)




  1. Xìnghuì: pleasure to meet you


This expression is rather formal and a little old-fashioned. It might be heard sometimes at formal events.


  1. Bú yòng kèqi: go ahead, help yourself


This expression literally means “don’t be polite.” It’s similar to “help yourself,” “make yourself at home,” “be my guest,” or “go ahead,” which are commonly used by a host when speaking to his/her guests.


  1. Verbdiǎnr: some (i.e., eat some, try some)




  • Nín chī diǎnr ba. (Eat some.)




  1. Qǐng: please




  • Qǐng shuō. (Please go ahead and tell me.)

  • Qǐng chī. (Please go ahead and eat.)




  1. Ba (particle): (used when making a suggestion)




  • Chī ba. (Go ahead and eat.)

  • Wǒmen qù Zhōngguó ba. (Let’s go to China, shall we?)


Lesson 9. I Would Like One of These


    1. Ge (common measure word)


When you’re not sure which measure word to use with a certain noun, you can try ge, as it’s one of the most common measure words.


    1. Qǐngwèn yào chī yìdiǎnr shénme? (What would you like to eat?)


Yìdiǎnr here is a tone softener that makes the question sound more polite.


    1. Replying to a question


When replying to a question, you can repeat the verb to indicate “yes.”


To answer the question Nǐ xǐhuan mǐfàn ma? (Do you like rice?), you can say, Xǐhuan, wǒ xǐhuan mǐfàn (Yes, I like rice) or Bù xǐhuan, wǒ bù xǐhuan mǐfàn (No, I don’t like rice).


Lesson 10. Do You Have an English Menu?


  1. A-not-A question form


The A-not-A question form is another way to ask a yes/no question. Check the following examples:


A-not-A question

ma question

Nǐ xǐhuan bù xǐhuan Zhōngguó cài? (Do you like Chinese food?)

Nǐ yǒu méi yǒu biǎo? (Do you have a watch?)

Tā gāo bù gāo? (Is he/she tall?)

^ Nǐ xǐhuan Zhōngguó cài ma? (Do you like Chinese food?)

Nǐ yǒu biǎo ma? (Do you have a watch?)

Tā gāo ma? (Is he tall?)




  1. Zhōngwén de (cài dān): Chinese ones, Chinese menu


When the noun that follows de is understood, it can be dropped. For example, Zhōngwén de cài dān (a Chinese menu) can be Zhōngwén de (the Chinese one) when the context is sufficient. It’s similar to the expression “the Chinese one” in English.

  • A: Nǐ yǒu méi yǒu Yīngwén de càidān? (Do you have an English menu?)

B: Wǒmen zhǐ yǒu Zhōngwén de. (We have only Chinese ones.)

  • Wǒ yǒu hěn duō biǎo. Wǒ yǒu hóng de, huáng de, hé lán de. (I have many watches. I have red ones, yellow ones, and blue ones.)




  1. Hǎo ba: all right


Hǎo ba is a response to accept a situation that’s not the most desirable.


  1. Hǎo: okay, sure


When hǎo is used in response to another person’s request, it means “okay, sure.”


Lesson 11. Is It Spicy?


  1. Reduplication of verbs


When a verb is reduplicated, it means “give it a try.” In a request, it softens the speaker’s tone. Reduplicated verbs usually turn into a neutral tone.

  • chīchi. (Let me give it a taste.)

  • kànkan. (Take a look.)

  • Yào bú yào shìshi chǎo yángròu? (Do you want to try fried lamb?)




  1. Lái + quantity + noun: give me… (used in restaurants)


Lái… is an informal and colloquial way to order food. It would be inappropriate to use it in a more upscale restaurant.


  1. : and


is used less frequently than “and” in English. It’s used only to connect nouns, not sentences.

  • Wǒ yǒu yí ge gēge sān ge jiějie. (I have one older brother and three older sisters.)

  • bàba jīntiān yào qù Jiāzhōu. (My dad and I are going to California today.)




  1. Zhè xiē/zhè ge: these/this


When a pronoun is used, a measure word is necessary if the item is single—for example, zhè ge rén (this person) or zhè bēi jiǔ (this glass of wine). If the noun is plural, xiē replaces the measure word—for example, zhè xiē rén (these people) or zhè xiē biǎo (these watches).


  1. Zhè xiē jiù xíng: these are fine, these are enough


This expression is commonly used in conversation.


Lesson 12. Please Eat More!


  1. Bú yòng: no need to… Note: Positive form: děi




  • Wǒ jīntiān bú yòng qù xuéxiào. (I don’t need to go to school today.)

  • děi qù Zhōngguó. (I have to go to China.)




  1. Kèqi (verb/adj.): to be polite, polite




  • Nín búyòng kèqi. (You don’t have to be polite; you don’t have to do this.)




  1. Lái (used as a pro-verb): come on


Lái means “come on.” It can also be used as a pro-verb. When the context is sufficient, lái can be used as a pro-verb to replace the verb in the sentence and can convey the same meaning (see the first example).

  • lái. (I’ll do it.)

  • Lái, chī diǎnr yú ba. (Come on, have some fish.)




  1. Zìjǐ: oneself




  • zìjǐ qù Zhōngguó. (I’m going to China by myself.)

  • Wǒ de péngyou zìjǐ xué Zhōngwén. (My friend learned Chinese by himself.)




  1. (Yì) xiē: some




  • Wǒ yǒu yì xiē wàiguó péngyǒu. (I have some foreign friends.)


6. Zài (adv.): more


  • Zài chī diǎnr yú ba. (Have some more fish.)


Lesson 13. Let’s Toast!


1. Gǎnxiè: thanks


This is a formal term of xièxie.


2. Gěi + someone + verb: (verb) for (someone)


  • Qǐng gěi wǒ yì bēi shuǐ. (Please give me a glass of water.)

  • Qǐng gěi wǒ jiā yì diǎnr jiǔ. (Please add some more wine for me.)




  1. Nǎlǐ (nǎlǐ)


This is used as a proper response to other people’s compliments.


Lesson 14. Can I Go with You?


1. Qǐng + person + verb phrase: to invite someone to…, to treat someone…


Qǐng has several meanings and functions. Here it means “to invite someone to an occasion.”

  • Xièxie nǐ qǐng wǒ lái nǐ jiā. (Thanks for inviting me to your home.)

  • Wǒ qǐng zhè wèi jīnglǐ lái cānguān wǒmen de gōngsī. (I invited this manager to visit our company.)


In a sentence that mentions jīntiān wǒmen qǐng nǐ, qǐng means “to treat.”

  • Wǒ qǐng nǐ chīfàn. (I will treat you to a meal.)


2. Person + qǐngkè: one’s treat


In comparing qǐng and qǐngkè, qǐng is always used as the pattern of A qǐng B + verb phrase to specify (in the verb phrase) that A is treating B, whereas qǐngkè is used as (someone) qǐngkè, which does not convey that the person is treating or paying for his/her guest.

  • Jīntiān wǒmen qǐngkè. (It’s our treat today.)

  • Shàngcì nǐmen qǐngkè, zhècì wǒmen qǐngkè. (It was your treat last time, so it’s our treat this time.)


3. Zài + location: in/at (a place)


  • Nǐ de jiārén zài nǎr? (Where’s your family?)

  • Nǐ jīntiān zài nǎr qǐng kè? (Where are you going for your treat today?)


Word order: When location is added in a sentence, the correct word order is:

(Time) Subject + (Time) + Location + Verb + (Object)


  1. A (particle)


A can be added to the end of a statement to indicate exclamation.


  1. (Bù) zhīdào + question: do not know/know whether…




  • bù zhīdào tā jīntiān lái bù lái. (I don’t know if he’ll come today.)

  • bù zhīdào Quánjùdé zài nǎr. (I don’t know where Quanjude is.)




  1. Kěyǐ: can


Kěyǐ is used in a request or when asking for permission. The negation form is bù kěyǐ.

  • kěyǐ qù ma? (Can I go?)

  • Nǐ bù kěyǐ shuō Yīngwén. (You can’t/aren’t allowed to speak English.)




  1. A gěi B dǎ diànhuà: A makes a phone call to B




  • Wǒ jīntiān yào gěi māma dǎ diànhuà. (I will call my mom today.)

  • Wǒ jīntiān bù gěi māma dǎ diànhuà. (I will not call my mom today.)


Lesson 15. I Would Like to Leave a Message


1. Zài: to be present


Zài is used here as a verb.

  • Chén xiānsheng zài ma? (Is Mr. Chen here?)


2. Nǎwèi: who (polite term)


  • Qǐng wèn nín shì nǎwèi? (May I ask who this is?)


3. Le (particle)


Le indicates action completion. It can be placed at the end of a sentence or immediately after the action verb. When used in a sentence, it means an action is completed; it does not necessarily imply that the action was completed in the past. Le can be used for past, current, and future events. For example:

  • Wǒ zuótiān qù xuéxiào le. (I went to school yesterday.)

  • Tā míngtiān chī le wǎnfàn yào qù hējiǔ. (He’ll go have a drink after he’s done with dinner tomorrow.)


It can be used only in a sentence with action verbs, so it would be wrong to say Wǒ xǐhuan le (I liked him) because xǐhuan is not an action.


4. Máfán nín: please…


This is a polite expression before one asks for help.


5. A gēn B shuō: A tells B


  • Wáng jīnglǐ gēnshuō xīngqī yī tā yào qù Zhōngguó. (Manager Wang told me that she’s going to China on Monday.)




  1. + (place) + verb: go (to a place to) do something




  • Wǒ míngtiān yào gōngsī gōngzuò. (I’m going to the office to work.)


Lesson 16. This Is a Token of My Regard


    1. Shēngrì kuàilè: happy birthday


Kuàilè is often used in people’s wishes. For example:


  • Gǎn’ēn jié kuàilè. (Happy Thanksgiving.)

  • Xīn’nián kuàilè. (Happy New Year.)

  • Qíngrén jié kuàilè. (Happy Valentine’s Day.)




    1. Zhēn: really


Zhēn is one of the degree adverbs.

  • Zhōngwén zhēn nán. (Chinese is really hard.)

  • Wǒ jīntiān zhēn máng. (I’m really busy today.)




    1. Bù hǎo yìsi: I’m embarrassed, I feel bad.


There’s no precise translation of bù hǎo yìsi in English. It’s used very commonly when you cause inconvenience to other people, especially when someone helped you or gave you a gift.


Lesson 17. It’s My Treat!


  1. Zhēn(shì) + adj.: really is…


Zhēn usually carries strong emotion in statements in Chinese, so the sentences usually end with exclamation marks.

  • Wǒ jīntiān zhēnshì máng! (I’m really busy today!)

  • Zhè jiā fànguǎn zhēn piàoliàng! (This restaurant is really pretty!)




  1. Adj. + jí le: extremely (adj.)




  • Wǒ jīntiān lèi jí le! (I’m extremely tired today!)

  • Nǐ jiā piàoliàng jí le! (Your home is extremely pretty!)




  1. Hǎochī: delicious


When hǎo precedes a sense verb, it constructs an adjective meaning “pleasant to….” For example, hǎochī means “delicious”; hǎokàn means “good looking.”



  1. Chībǎo (v.c.): to be full (in the stomach)


Chībǎo is a verb-complement type of verb. Bǎo means “full (in the stomach).”


  1. ba?: I assume…?


Ba is a particle that makes assumption questions.

  • Nǐ shì Zhōngguórén ba? (I assume that you’re Chinese, right?)

  • Nǐ xǐhuan chī Zhōngguó cài ba? (I assume that you like Chinese cuisine, right?)




  1. Fúwùyuán: waiter/waitress


It’s common in China to address a waiter or waitress as fúwùyuán. It’s also common to address a waiter as xiānsheng or a waitress as xiǎojiě. Because the term xiǎojie could also refer to “prostitutes,” male customers generally do not use it to avoid any misunderstanding. However, it’s not inappropriate to address a waitress as xiǎojiě nowadays.


  1. ^ Mǎidān: to pay for the restaurant check/bill


Saying mǎidān to a waiter/waitress is the equivalent of saying “check, please” in English. It can also be used as a verb. For example, mǎidān (I will pay).


  1. Shòuxīng: birthday person


It’s common, but rather old-fashioned, for a birthday person to treat his/her friends to a meal. If you’re invited to a birthday party by a Chinese friend, you might anticipate this event and prepare some gifts in advance.


  1. Bié verb: don’t (verb)


Bié is used in an imperative sentence to ask someone not to do something.

  • Bié shuìjiào. (Don’t sleep.)

  • Bié chī gōngbǎo jīdīng. Tài là le. (Don’t eat the Gongbao chicken. It’s too spicy.)




  1. Kāi wánxiào: to be kidding


Gēn someone kāiwánxiào means “to kid with someone.”

  • Bié gēn lǎoshī kāiwánxiào. (Don’t joke with the teacher.)

  • gēn wǒ de Zhōngguó péngyǒu kāi le wánxiào. (I kidded with my Chinese friend.)




  1. Zěnme…?: how…? (used in rhetorical questions)




  • zěnme néng ràng nǐ qǐngkè? (How can I let you pay?)




  1. Ràng: to let




  • Tā bú ràng wǒ qǐngkè. (He/she doesn’t let me treat him/pay for him.)

  • Lǎoshī ràng wǒmen shuō Yīngwén. (The teacher let us speak English.)


Lesson 18. Shopping


1. Duō shǎo qián: how much money


Duō is a question word. It means “how.”

  • Zhè ge duō shǎo qián? (How much is this?)

  • Zhè ge bāo duō shǎo qián? (How much is this bag?)


2. Piányí yìdiǎnr: a little cheaper


This expression is used a lot when bargaining. Yìdiǎnr means “a little more.”


3. Bù xíng: it doesn’t work, can’t


Without the negation, xíng itself means “sure” or “it’ll work.” Bù xíng is a direct and colloquial way to refuse or turn down an idea proposed by others. Bù xíng can also mean “no,” as “you’re not allowed to.” It’s similar to bù kěyǐ.

  • A: Wǒ kěyǐ chī táng ma? (Can I eat candies?)

B: Bù xíng. (No.)


4. Hái: still, also


Hái is an adverb, so it should be placed before verbs.

  • Wǒ xǐhuan Zhōngguó cài, hái xǐhuan Rìběn cài. (I like Chinese food; I also like Japanese food.)

  • hái yào mǎi shénme? (Do you still want something else?)


5. Bié de + (noun): other ones


  • Wǒ yào qù bié de dìfang. (I’m going to other places.)

  • Wǒ yào mǎi bié de dōngxi. (I want to buy other things.)


6. Jiù hǎo/jiù xíng: just fine

Jiù means “just.” Jiù hǎo and jiù xíng have very similar meanings. They are used to turn down an idea or proposal, but with a soft tone.

  • (In a restaurant) A: Hái yào bié de ma? (Do you want something else?)

B: Zhè xiē jiù hǎo. (These are just fine.)


Lesson 19. I’m Going to Yueyang Road


  1. Street address


Chinese word order always goes from the more general information to the more specific. Therefore, one’s address goes from the largest unit to the smallest (country, state/province, city, street, street section, number, floor).

  • Yuèyáng lù yì bǎi wǔ shí hào. (150 Yueyang Road.)




  1. Bú tài + adj.: not too…, not very…




  • Chén jīnglǐ bú tài gāo. (Manager Chén’s not very tall.)

  • bú tài xǐhuan tā. (I don’t like him too much.)




  1. Place + zěnme zǒu: How to get to (a place)




  • Qǐngwèn chēzhàn zěnme zǒu? (How do I get to the train station?)


Lesson 20. Asking for Directions


  1. Key patterns to ask for directions




    1. Wǎng + direction + zǒu/guǎi: walk/turn toward (a direction)

    2. Guò …ge lùkǒu: go past (number of) intersection(s)

    3. (Place) zài nǐ de yòu/zuǒ biān: (place) is on your right/left side


When you ask someone for directions, you’re likely to hear something like “go straight, then go past three intersections, and then turn left”; so it’s very helpful to remember the patterns above as well as the direction words (see the situation exercises in this lesson).


  1. Jiù: just, exactly




  • Gōngsī jiù zài nǐ de zuǒ biān. (The company is just on your left side.)

  • Zhèr jiù shì wǒ jiā. (My home’s right here.)




  1. : well, then


is a noise similar to “well” or “then” in English. Sometimes it can also mean “in that case, then….” It’s placed at the very beginning of a sentence.

  • A: Wǒ bù xǐhuan chī Zhōngguó cài. (I don’t like Chinese food.)

B: wǒmen chī bié de ba! (Then let’s eat something else.)

©2009 by Penn Lauder CIBER





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