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I previously wrote an article that focused on sentence patterns for beginners, 10 Essential Chinese Sentence Patterns Every Beginner Should Know. Hopefully you’ve covered those 10 patterns, and it’s time to move on to more intermediate sentence patterns.
1. 是……的(de) to emphasise
是 (shì) can be omitted from the sentence. The phrase in between 是 (shì) and 的 (de) is the focus of emphasis.
我(是)坐地铁来的 。(wǒ shì zuò dì tiě lái de) I’m taking the metro.
我(是)跟朋友看电影。(wǒ shì gēn péng you kàn diàn yǐng) My friends and I saw the movie.
2. 一边……一边 to indicate 2 actions occurring at the same time
一边 (yī biān) is used before each verb phrase:
Subject + 一边 + verb phrase + 一边 ＋ verb phrase.
我喜欢一边喝咖啡一边看书。(wǒ xǐ huan yī biān hē kā fēi yī biān kàn shū) I like to drink coffee and read a book.
3. 又 to link adjectival verbs
又 (yòu) can be used to indicate ‘both…and…’
又 ＋ adj＋ 又 ＋ adj
这个酱汁又浓又香。(zhè ge jiàng zhī yòu nóng yòu xiāng) The sauce is both thick and rich.
4. 越来越 to express change over time
越来越 (yuè lái yuè) expresses a situation that becomes ‘more and more’ over time.
subject + 越来越 ＋ adj
他越来越会说汉语了. (tā yuè lái yuè huì shuō hàn yǔ le) His Chinese is improving more and more.
5. 几次 meaning ‘several times’
几次 (jǐ cì) can be used to explain frequency amount, when used in a question, it’s becomes ‘home many times?’
我访问了那个名人好几次。(wǒ fǎng wèn le nèi gè míng rén hǎo jǐ cì) I’ve interviewed this celebrity many times.
你每个星期上运动几次？(nǐ měi gè xīng qī shàng yùn dòng jǐ cì) How many times a week do you workout?
6. 得 to mark a complement
得 (de) can be quite challenging to learn, as there is no English equivalent. Follow this sentence pattern to use the 得 (de) particle:
adj / verb + 得
她说得很好。(tā shuō de hén hǎo) She speaks well.
他开得太快。(tā kāi de tài kuài) He drives too fast.
You learn more about the other ‘de’ particles in our article, How to use the ‘de’ particles 的, 得 and 地 in Chinese.
7. 会 to indicate ‘know how to’
他会说汉语。(tā huì shuō hàn yǔ) He can speak Chinese.
You can learn more about 会 (huì) and the other ways you can say ‘can’ in Chinese in our article, The 3 Cans: What’s the Difference Between 会, 可以 and 能?
8. 离……远／近 to describe distance
Noun phrase + 离 + noun phrase + intensifier + 远／近
图书馆离公园很近。 (tú shū guǎn lí gōng yuán hěn jìn) This library is close to the park.
我家离我公司远。 (wǒ jiā lí wǒ gōng sī yuǎn) My home is far from my company.
To talk about a specific distance use the following pattern:
Noun phrase + 离 + noun phrase + 有 + distance
学校离我家有四公里。 (xué xiào lí wǒ jiā yǒu sì gōng lǐ) The school is 4 miles from my home.
9. 挺……的 to mean ‘quite’
This is primarily used in spoken Chinese.
挺 ＋ adj ＋ 的
我家里挺小的。(wǒ jiā lǐ tǐng xiǎo de) My home is quite small.
10. 呢 particle
呢 (ne) has two main uses: 1. To reply to a question, 2. To ask where’.
你好吗？(ní hǎo ma) How’re you?
很好。 你呢？(hén hǎo. Nǐ ne?) I’m great, you?
The second use is the equivalent of ’在哪里‘ (zài nǎ lǐ) meaning ‘is where?’
Thing + 呢？
我眼镜呢？(wǒ yǎn jìng ne?) Where are my glasses?
Learn about all the Chinese modal particles here.
11. 这么 meaning ’so’
这么 (zhè me) can be used to express that something is ‘so’… or ‘so much’.
这么贵！(zhè me guì) So expensive
12. 好 meaning ‘pleasant’
When 好 (hǎo) is placed before a verb it forms an adjective meaning ‘pleasant’.
好 + verb
好看 (hǎo kàn) good-looking
好喝 (hǎo hē) tastes good
好吃 (hǎo chī) delicious
好玩 (hǎo wán) interesting / fun
13. 比 to compare
比 (bǐ) means ‘than’ and is used to compare differences.
Noun phrase + 比 + noun phrase + adj
他比我高。(tā bǐ wǒ gāo) He is taller than me.
我的身体比以前好了。(wǒ de shēn tǐ bǐ yǐ qián hǎo le) My health is better than before.
You can learn more about comparing in our article, 比 bǐ and 没有 méi yǒu: Making Comparisons in Mandarin Chinese.
Intensifiers are used before adjective and verbs to show emphasis.
Intensifier + adj / v
Examples of intensifiers:
15. 更 meaning ‘more, even more’
更 (gèng) can be used to make a comparison and comes before the adjective.
更 + adj
通过这篇报道，我对中国有了更多的了解。(tōng guò zhè piān bào dào, wǒ duì
zhōng guó yǒu le gèng duō de liǎo jiě) According to this news report, I know more about China.
16. 半 meaning ‘half’
半个小时 (bàn ge xiǎo shí) half an hour
When indicating x hours and a ‘half’, then place 半 (bàn) after 个 (gè).
两个半小时。(liǎng gè bàn xiǎo shí) Two and a half hours.
To show ‘half’ a minute, place 半 (bàn) before 分 or 秒
半分钟 (bàn fēn zhōng) half a minute
半秒钟 (bàn miǎo zhōng) half a second
To indicate x minutes and a ‘half’ place 半 after the minute/second words.
一分半 (yī fēn bàn) one minute and a half
两秒半 (liǎng miǎo bàn) two and a half seconds
17. 最 shows the highest degree of something
To express the highest degree, or superlative meaning use the intensifier, 最 (zuì) meaning ‘most’
最 ＋ adj
他是我最喜欢的老师。(tā shì wǒ zuì xǐ huan de lǎo shī) He is my favourite teacher.
18. 就 meaning ‘just’
就 (jiù) has many uses, and one is to indicate ‘just’ or ‘only’.
我就一个杯子。(wǒ jiù yī gè bēi zi) I only have 1 cup.