Learning Chinese

A personal log on the progress I am making learning in learning Chinese. I will keep updating this page as I learn new characters and sentences. Some of these sentences might not make perfect sense in English initially as I need to learn new words to make proper sentences. I am hoping this will improve over time.

Location, Who, Time and then the Action.


Hello! How are you? My name is Gagan. I am learning Mandarin for 1 month.


We both are friends.

For example,

  • “there are two people here” => here there are two people => (here) (there are) (two people) => zhe4 er yo3u lia3ng ge4 re2n => 这儿有是两个人。
  • “there are a lot of people in China” => (China) (there are) (a lot of) (people) => 中国有很多人

Common Phrases

  • 在吗?(za4i ma)- Are you there?
  • 你在做什么?(ni3 za4i zou shenme)- What are you doing?
  • 很帅 (he3n shua1i)- Awesome
  • 你是哪国人?(ni3 sh4 na3 guo1 re1n)- Which country are you from?

Note regarding location: Location is placed before the verb in Chinese. In English, it appears afterwards. For example, 我在美国上学 (Wǒ zài měiguó shàngxué), which means I went to school in America.

Placement of dou (都) in a sentence.

We do not end a statement with dou (do1u). Therefore, when saying both of them (liang ge dou), dou should come right before the verb. Here is an example:

I like both (of them) – 我 + 两个都 + 喜欢 = 我两个都喜欢 (wo liang ge dou xihuan)

Difference between 工作 and 工做

(From Stackexchange)

In general, 工作 is an abstract word for work or a job. It could relate to your occupation or identity.

工做 is usually a verb – for example, carving a spoon out of a piece of wood, or creating a vase out of clay.

“做” is almost always a verb that has some real meanings. It is very close to English word “do” in its verb form and “make”. E.g. “Do your job!” = “做好你的工作!”, “do nothing”=”什么也不做”, “make love” = “做爱”, “make some cakes” = “做些蛋糕”, etc.

做:The verb ‘do’. 作:everything else.

This and That

In Mandarin, this is written as 这 (zhe4) and that as 那 (na4).

When referring to a thing or an object, we use 个 (ge). So this thing is 这个 and that thing is 那个.

When referring to a location, we use 儿 (er). Here is written as 这儿 and there is written as 那儿。

thing ( 个 )location ( 儿 )way (样)
(zhe4)这个 (this)这儿 (here)这样 (like this)
(na4)那个 (that)那儿 (there)那样 (like that)
(na3)哪个 (which)哪儿 (where)哪样 (in which way)

Note: 个 is a generic measure word. If we are using another measure word, then we avoid using 个. For example, 一天 (one day), 这天 (this day), 那句 (that sentence) (we do not say 一个天, 这个天, 句). In these cases, 天 and 句 are measure words on their own.

会 vs 可以

会 (hui4) means “to be able to”.

可以 (ke3 yi3) means “allowed to”.

不 vs 没

不 is used to negate something in the present tense.

没 is used to negate something in the past tense.

没有 = I have not / I haven’t / I do not have

再 vs 又

Both mean again.

再 is used in present tense.

又 usually means “Oh, It happened again!” – so used in past tense.

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