Use this tool to add tone marks to pinyin or to convert tone number (e.g. hao3) to tone marks.

Although you can use the red buttons to add tone marks, we highly recommend you use the number method (e.g. hao3) for speed and placement of the accent above the correct vowel. [Hint: Type "v" for "ü"]
Note: You do not need to use this tool to enter pinyin in this dictionary.

How to Use the 5th Chinese Tone

Did you know there was a 5th tone in Mandarin Chinese? Many Chinese learners just refer to this tone as having ‘no tone’ or being ‘neutral’. However, this ‘no tone’ actually has rules that can change the way a character or bigram is spoken. The way the 5th Chinese tone is used in spoken Chinese often comes naturally, but you can get to grips with how to use the ‘neutral’ tone by reading the following.

1. Particles

a. Modal Particles

Modal particles are used in Chinese to reflect a specific mood and often use the 5th Chinese tone.

The following are examples of modal particles: , , , , etc

你喜欢这部电影吗? (nǐ xǐ huan zhè bù diàn yǐng ma?) Did you enjoy the film?

我们上车吧。(wǒ men shàng chē ba) Let’s get on the bus!

学汉语真不容易啊! (xué hàn yǔ zhēn bù róng yì a!) It’s so difficult to learn Chinese!

你会说英语吗?(nǐ huì shuō yīng yǔ ma) Can you speak English?

(huì) Yes, I can.

汉语呢?(hàn yǔ ne) How about Chinese?

不会 (bú huì) No, I can’t.

Learn more modal particles in our article, The Complete Guide to Chinese Modal Particles.

b. Monosyllabic Auxiliary Particles

The following are examples of monosyllabic auxiliary particles: , , , , , etc

随着 (suí zhe) following

我吃完了 (wǒ chī wán le) I‘ve finished eating.

这是我的书。(zhè shì wǒ de shū) = This is my book.

他默默地把饭吃完了。(tā mò mò de bǎ fàn chī wán le) He finished the meal quietly.

她高兴得说不出话来了。 (tā gāo xìng de shuō bù chūhuà lái le) She was so happy she was unable to speak.

他们 (tā men) they

朋友们 (péng you men) friends

Read our article, The Complete Guide to Chinese Sentence Particles for more information about these Chinese particles.

2. Noun Suffixes

The fifth tone is used for noun suffixes such as 头 (tou), 儿 (er) and 子 (zi).

(tou) is not often used in the fifth tone, but does so when it follows a noun, for example:

甜头 (tián tou) benefit (lit: sweet taste of success)

个头 (gè tóu) height

The 5th tone ‘’ is used after a noun to suggest something is small or cute.

点儿 (diǎnr) little bit

花儿 (huār) a flower

Of course, 儿 is also spoken widely in Beijing and added to many words such as 这儿 (zhèr) here, 哪儿 (nǎr) where and 那儿 (nàr) there .

The fifth tone is also used when (zi) is added to a noun (which it is, often), for example:

儿子 (ér zi) son

妻子 (qī zi) wife

房子 (fáng zi) house

鼻子 (bí zi) nose

3. Duplication of Nouns and Verbs

Verbs can sometimes be duplicated in Chinese to soften a suggestion or instruction. The second character takes a 5th tone to reflect the sentiment and tone.

看看 (kàn kan) means ‘to take a look’ at something instead of the more harsh sounding, ‘看’.

Names, such as younger sister 妹妹 (mèi mei), old brother 哥哥 (gē ge) and father 爸爸 (bà ba) use the fifth tone in the second repeated character.

4. Monosyllabic verbs used after the word describing direction

Examples of this are: 回来 (huí lai), 出去 (chū qu), 走出来 (zǒu chū lai) and 跑进去 (pǎo jìn qu)

Verb + 来/去: means the direction of the action

1)Verb + 来 means the action is heading to the speaker and coming closer to the speaker.

欢迎回来 (huān yíng huí lai) Welcome back.

2) Verb + 去 indicates that the action is heading away from the speaker.

时间不早了,你可以回去。(shí jiān bù zǎo le, nǐ kě yǐ huí qu le) It is late now, you can go back.

You can practise your Chinese tones with our Chinese Tone Trainer.

5. Location words after Nouns

Sometimes when location words, such as 上 (shàng) up,下 (xià) down and 里 (lǐ) in, are used with a noun they take on the 5th tone:

(qiáng shang) on the wall

(wài mian) outside

(xīn li) in the heart

(xiāng xia) countryside

6. Pronouns used with a verb as an object

If a pronoun, you, he, it etc, is used after a verb the pronoun becomes a 5th tone:

找你 (zhǎo nǐ) try and find you.

请他 (qǐng tā) invite him.

叫我 (jiào wǒ) call me.

7. “个” used as a measure word

个 is the standard measure word used with nouns in Chinese and uses the 5th tone.

一个 (yī ge) a/an

那个 (nà ge) that (one)

8. “一” or “不” between two duplicated words

看一看 (kàn yi kàn) Have a look

好不好 (hǎo bu hǎo) Is it ok?