Learn Chinese for Free - Lesson 48

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Today's Chinese characters:

一○二十七八九人儿三个千万亿女子口马也工么五六不友认心见今天父月日太王什毛四生他它们尼尔母号百老师她好吗忙早妈再年刘孙位两医我你识技来弟男身体作李张的朋呢和姐明姓陈周林是很律孩亲星贵胡爱哥都您谢期程零

This is step 3 of 5 of our review process. All characters are ordered according to their strokes number. Please, review all grammar points as explained in the Sentence Structure tables below.

Characters' Essentials

Character Help
Pronunciation Help

ATTENTION: When alone, before or at the end of a word or a sentence, it is pronounced in the first tone. When it precedes a syllable of the first, second or third tone, it is pronounced in the fourth tone. It is pronounced in the second tone when it is followed by a fourth tone.
Meaning Help
One
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Zero
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èr
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Two
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Ten
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ATTENZIONE: quando precede un quarto tono, come alternativa non obbligatoria, si può pronunciare nel secondo tono.
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Seven
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ATTENZIONE: quando precede un quarto tono, come alternativa non obbligatoria, si può pronunciare nel secondo tono.
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Eight
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Nine
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Person
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ér
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-Child, son
-Nonsyllabic final "r" added to a word in spoken Chinese, also called retroflex final or r-ization
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Three
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Measure word used before nouns which do not have special measure words of their own (some nouns can be preceded by either it or other special measure words)
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Thousand
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Ten thousand
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Hundred million
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Woman
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Son
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Mouth
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Horse
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Also
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Work
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me
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Second character of the word 什么 ("what")
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Five
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Six
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ATTENZIONE: Si pronuncia nel secondo tono quando precede un quarto tono.
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Used to form a negative
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Friend
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Recognize, know
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Heart
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See
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Now, today
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Day
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Father
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Month
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Day
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Too; extremely; very
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A surname (the n.2 most common Chinese surname)
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First character of the word 什么 ("what")
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A surname
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Four
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Second character of the word 医生 ("Physician")
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He, him
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It
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men
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Used to show plural number:
1. after a personal pronoun;
2. after a noun that refers to people
ATTENTION: It's not used when the noun is preceded by a numeral or an intensifier
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Used to transliterate foreign language names, such as Disney, Sony, Nikon, Manila, Trinidad, and a lot of famous persons' names. So, what you only need now is to remember its pronunciation.
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ěr
Meaning Help
Used to transliterate foreign language names, such as Dell, Wal-Mart, Moldavia, and a lot of famous persons' names. So, what you only need is to remember its pronunciation.
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Mother
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Number; date
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Hundred
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First character of the word 老师 ("Teacher")
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Second character of the word 老师 ("Teacher")
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She, her
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Good, fine
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ma
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Used at the end of a declarative sentence to transform it into a question
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Busy
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Good morning; morning (till 9 a.m.)
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Mum, mother
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Again
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Year
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A surname (the n.4 most common Chinese surname)
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A surname
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Measure word for people, indicating respect
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Two.
is generally used before measure words.
Don't use .
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First character of the word 医生 ("Physician")
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I, me
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You
(singular)
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Know; knowledge
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Skill, technique
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Come
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Younger brother
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Man, male
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Body
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Body, part of the body
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Do, make
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A surname (actually the n.1 most common Chinese surname!)
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A surname (the n.3 most common Chinese surname)
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de
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Used between a modifier and a noun
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Friend
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ne
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Used at the end of an interrogative sentence to ask a question in connection with the preceding topic
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And, together with
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Elder sister
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Immediately following in time
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Surname (noun); one's surname is (verb)
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A surname (the n.5 most common Chinese surname)
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A surname (the n.9 most common Chinese surname)
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A surname
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To be
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Very
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Law
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Child
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Parent
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Star
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-Expensive, costly; precious; honourable
-Your (term of respect used in polite expressions)
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A surname
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ài
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To love
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Elder brother
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All
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You (indicating respect)
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Thank
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A period of time
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A surname
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Zero

Description and Examples

Sentence Structure 1
Verbal Predicate Sentence
Lesson 9

A sentence with a verb as the main element of its predicate is called a verbal predicate sentence. If the verb takes an object, the object usually follows the verb.

Subject
Verb
Object
医生
Subject
老师
Verb
Object

Sentence Structure 2
The Declarative “是” Sentence - Part 1
Lesson 12

The "" sentence is a sentence with its predicate composed by the verb together with its object. Its declarative basic form is "AB".

Example

医生


Sentence Structure 3
“是” For Emphasis
Lesson 12

, stressed, may be used as an adverb to indicate certainty. For example, in a verbal predicate sentence it may be put before the verb.

Example


meaning: I really love her.


Sentence Structure 4
Surnames
Lesson 12

is also a Chinese surname, even if not at all common. Surnames must be put before titles. So let's say we find a teacher whose surname is . We would call her 老师 (that is SURNAME + TITLE) and would cacophonically say "老师".


Sentence Structure 5
Modifier+的+Noun
Lesson 13

A modifier (i.e. any word, phrase, or clause, except conjunctions, grammatical particles, interjections, and exclamations) is used in this structure to qualify or modify a noun (headword). is placed between modifier and headword.

MODIFIER + + HEADWORD

To make learning easier, the examples will be divided as follows:

  • Pronoun+的+Noun
  • Noun+的+Noun
  • Substantive+的+Noun
  • Time word+的+Noun
  • Place+的+Noun
  • Verb+的+Noun
  • Adjective+的+Noun
  • Adverb+的+Noun
  • Prepositional phrase+的+Noun
  • Onomatopoeia+的+Noun
  • Phrase+的+Noun

IMPORTANT: remember that the noun (headword) is always placed AFTER .


Sentence Structure 6
Pronoun+的+Noun
Lesson 13

This structure is used to indicate a relationship of belonging, possession, etc.

Let's take the phrase "my teacher" as example. Since "my" is the possessive genitive of "I", we would literally say "I teacher".

"My teacher" is literally: I teacher

that is:

老师

:
modifier
老师:
headword

Pronouns used as modifiers:

Chinese
English
my
Chinese
English
your (singular)
Chinese
English
his
Chinese
English
her
Chinese
English
its
Chinese
我们
English
our
Chinese
你们
English
your (plural)
Chinese
他们
English
their (of males, or males and females)
Chinese
她们
English
their (of females)
Chinese
它们
English
their (of animals or things)

Sentence Structure 7
In​flec​tion in Chinese?
Lesson 13

The concept of in​flec​tion, that is the change of form that nouns, verbs and adjectives undergo in English to mark such distinctions as those number, tense, or person is foreign to Chinese language, so that the phrase 老师 might be translated both as "my teacher" and "my teachers".

So the good news is that all English rules about inflection can just be ignored!


Sentence Structure 8
Noun+的+Noun
Lesson 14

This structure is used to indicate a relationship of belonging, possession, etc.

Examples of proper names or titles used as modifiers:

Chinese
Mary
Italian
Mary's
Chinese
老师
Italian
teacher's
Chinese
医生
Italian
doctor's

Examples

Mary 爱人
Antony 爱人
Antony 女人
老师爱人
老师女人
老师医生
医生老师


Sentence Structure 9
The Negative “是” Sentence
Lesson 15

The negative form of the "" sentence is formed by putting the negative adverb before .

Example

你们医生


Sentence Structure 10
Questions With “吗”
Lesson 16

An interrogative sentence is formed by adding the modal particle at the end of a declarative sentence, either affirmative or negative.

Example

Declarative sentence: 医生

Interrogative sentence: 医生

This is the most frequently used way of asking a question, to which the answer is rather unpredictable.


Sentence Structure 11
The Affirmative-Negative Question - Part 1
Lesson 17

The affirmative-negative question, or alternative question, is formed by juxtaposing the verb or adjective of the predicate and its negative form.

Examples



Sentence Structure 12
Adjectival Predicate Sentence
Lesson 18

The adjectival predicate sentence is a sentence with an adjective as the main element of its predicate. This type of sentence describes the state which a person or thing is in. No is used to join the predicate with the subject. In an affirmative sentence the adjectival predicate is usually preceded by , which is a weakened adverb here without much significance of an adverb of degree.

Examples


老师

Without , comparison or contrast is often implied.

Example

老师

However, in answering an alternative question, may be left out.

Example

A:
医生
B:
医生

is used before the predicate for negation.

Example

A:
医生
B:
医生

Sentence Structure 13
Adverb “也”
Lesson 20

The adverb must be placed after the subject and before the predicate.

Example

老师


Sentence Structure 14
The Elliptical Question With “呢”
Lesson 21

Elliptical questions may be formed by adding the modal particle to a noun, pronoun or nominal construction. The meaning of this kind of question is determined by the context.

Example

医生

meaning: "What about you? What's your profession?"

If asked without any context, it concerns the whereabouts of somebody or something. For example, if you meet Mary and just ask her "Lucy", it would mean "Where is Lucy?"


Sentence Structure 15
Adverb “都”
Lesson 22

The adverb must be placed after the subject and before the predicate verb or adjective. As a rule, it indicates all of the persons or things referred to by the preceding noun (phrase).

Examples

correct: 他们认识
wrong: 认识他们


Sentence Structure 16
Adverbs “也” And “都” Used Together
Lesson 22

When both the adverbs and are used to modify the same predicate, comes before .

Example

她们医生


Sentence Structure 17
The Conjunction “和”
Lesson 23

The conjunction is generally used to connect only nouns or pronouns. Don't use it to connect phrases.

Example


Sentence Structure 18
Modifier Without 的
Lesson 28

When a personal pronoun is used as a modifier and the headword is a word for relatives, parts of the body or units or collectives to which the pronoun belongs, the structural particle may be omitted.

Examples

Both are correct:

妈妈
妈妈


Sentence Structure 19
The Subject-Predicate Construction - Part 1
Used as the Predicate of a Sentence
Lesson 31

A subject-predicate construction can be used as the subject, the object or the predicate of a sentence. Here we pay special attention to its use as the predicate of a sentence.

When a sentence has a subject-predicate construction as its predicate, the person or thing denoted by the subject of this subject-predicate construction is often related to the subject of the whole sentence.

Example

身体

:
Subject of the sentence
身体:
Subject-predicate construction (used as the predicate of the sentence)
身体:
Subject of the subject-predicate construction
:
Predicate of the subject-predicate construction

Sentence Structure 20
Adverbial Adjuncts
Lesson 33

An adverbial adjunct is used to modify a verb or an adjective. Adverbs, adjectives, time words and prepositional constructions can all be used as an adverbial adjunct. They usually precede the part which is being modified.

Examples of adverbs used as an adverbial adjunct

他们

他们:
Subject
:
Adverbial adjunct
:
Verb

:
Subject
:
Adverbial adjunct
:
Adjective

Example of time word used as an adverbial adjunct

他们今天

他们:
Subject
今天:
Adverbial adjunct
:
Verb

Sentence Structure 21
Time Words used as adverbial adjuncts
Lesson 33

Time words are nouns or numeral-measure compounds indicating time.

They may be used as subjects, objects, predicates, modifiers, headwords in a "" structure, complements, or adverbial adjuncts. Here we pay special attention to their use as adverbial adjuncts.

When used as an adverbial adjunct, time words generally come before the main element of the predicate.

Example

他们今天

Anyway, when special emphasis is laid on the time words, they may be shifted before the subject to the beginning of the sentence.

Example

今天他们
(emphasis on 今天)


Sentence Structure 22
Nominal Predicate Sentence - Part 1
Lesson 35

The sentence with a nominal predicate is a sentence in which the main element of the predicate is a noun, a nominal construction or a compound consisting of a numeral and a measure word.

In the affirmative sentence, is not used ( is used in the sentence with a verbal predicate).

This type of sentence is mainly used to show time, age, one's birthplace, and quantity.

Example

今年2001

今年:
Subject
2001:
Nominal Predicate

Sentence Structure 23
The TTT Rule
Lesson 37

The TimeTimeTime rule can be applied to the way dates are shown in Chinese:

The word showing a longer period of time comes first.


Sentence Structure 24
Time Words used as subjects
Lesson 38

Time words may be used as subjects, objects, predicates, modifiers, headwords in a "" structure, complements, or adverbial adjuncts. Here we pay special attention to their use as subjects.

Example

今天三月

今天:
Subject

Sentence Structure 25
Time Words used as predicates
Lesson 38

Here we pay special attention to the use of time words as predicates.

Example

今天三月

三月:
Nominal Predicate

Sentence Structure 26
Time Words used as modifiers
Lesson 38

Time words may be used as subjects, objects, predicates, modifiers, headwords in a "" structure, complements, or adverbial adjuncts. Here we pay special attention to their use as modifiers.

Example

明年今天

明年:
modifier

Sentence Structure 27
Time Words used as headwords in a "的" structure
Lesson 38

Time words may be used as subjects, objects, predicates, modifiers, headwords in a "" structure, complements, or adverbial adjuncts. Here we pay special attention to their use as headwords in a "" structure.

Example

明年今天

今天:
headword

Sentence Structure 28
Nominal Predicate Sentence - Part 2
Lesson 39

The negative form of a nominal predicate sentence is made by using between the subject and the predicate, resulting in a sentence with a verbal predicate at the same time.

Examples

十二月星期五
今天


Sentence Structure 29
Time Words used as objects
Lesson 39

Time words may be used as subjects, objects, predicates, modifiers, headwords in a "" structure, complements, or adverbial adjuncts. Here we pay special attention to their use as objects.

Example

今天星期天

星期天:
object

Sentence Structure 30
The Affirmative-Negative Question - Part 2
Lesson 40

When is put between the subject and the predicate, an affirmative-negative question, or alternative question, is formed.

Example

A:
明天星期四
B:
明天星期五

Sentence Structure 31
Numeral-Measure Compounds acting as modifiers
Lesson 43

In modern Chinese, numerals are generally not used to modify nouns directly. One needs to put specific measure words between them.

Examples


技师
律师


Sentence Structure 32
Measure Words Omission - Part 1
Lesson 43

Under certain circumstances, the measure word between a numeral and a noun is often omitted. Here we pay special attention to one specific situation.

When the numeral is a big number and the noun refers to people, then the measure word can be (and usually is) omitted.

Examples

朋友
医生
亿


Sentence Structure 33
Interrogative Word “什么”
Lesson 44

An interrogative word may be used to raise a question and it is placed where the answer is expected. Therefore, the word order of the answer is the same as that of the question, with the interrogative word being replaced by the corresponding answer. Here we pay special attention to the interrogative word 什么.

  1. 什么, when used alone as interrogative word, refers to things.

    Example

    Question: 什么

    Answer:

    Please note that the word order is the same in both answer and question. The interrogative word 什么 is in the same position of the part being questioned (that is the surname ).

  2. 什么, when used as an interrogative word before nouns, refers to things or persons.

    Examples

    什么? (What sort of person is he?)
    什么工作? (Which job?)


Exercise

For each grammar point, please give at least one more example.


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