Reference:Chinese: An Essential Grammar, Second Edition

Chinese: An Essential Grammar, Second Edition by Yip Po-Ching, Don Rimmington

This new edition of Chinese: An Essential Grammar is an up-to-date and concise reference guide to modern Chinese grammar.

Jargon free, it presents an accessible description of the language, focusing on the real patterns of use today. This Grammar aims to serve as a reference source for the learner and user of Chinese, irrespective of level, setting out the complexities of the language in short, readable sections.

It is ideal either for independent study or for students in schools, colleges, universities and adult classes of all types.

Features include:

  • a new chapter on paragraph development
  • Chinese characters, as well as the pinyin romanization, alongside all examples
  • literal and colloquial translations in English to illustrate language points
  • detailed contents list and index for easy access to information
  • a glossary of grammatical terms.

Grammar Points by Chapter


The Chinese Language

Mandarin pronunciation

The Chinese vocabulary

Part I Nouns


  1. Nouns
    1. Noun features
    2. Proper Nouns
    3. Common nouns
      1. The plural suffix-men
      2. Nouns and definite or indefinite reference
    4. Nouns and conjunctions
    5. Common nouns: countability
  2. Numerals and nouns
    1. Cardinal numbers
      1. Two forms of the number two
    2. Ordinal numbers
    3. 'Half'
    4. Fractions, percentages, decimals, multiples, and 'every'
    5. Approximation
  3. Measures for nouns
    1. Measures and gè
    2. Other measure words
    3. Abstract nouns
    4. Material nouns
    5. Collective nouns
  4. Pronouns
    1. Personal pronouns
    2. Possessive pronouns
    3. Demonstrative pronouns
    4. Interrogative pronouns
    5. Other pronouns
    6. Pronouns and conjunctions
  5. Adjectives and attributives
    1. Attributives
    2. Adjectives as attributives
      1. Monosyllabic adjectives
      2. Polysyllabic adjectives and de
      3. Disyllabic adjectives and de
    3. Nominal attributives
      1. Nominal attributives and de
    4. Prepositional and postpositional phrases as attributives
    5. Verbal phrases or clauses as attributives
    6. The order of sequential attributives
    7. Demonstrative and numeral phrases with other attributives
    8. Possessive pronoun and other attributives
    9. Ér between adjectives
    10. Omission of the noun following an attributive
    11. Attributives in word-formation

Part II Verbs


  1. Adjectival and nominal predicates; the verb shì
    1. Adjectival predicates
    2. Adjectival predicates and the verb 'to be'
      1. Adjectival predicates and degree adverbs
      2. Adjectival predicates in the negative
      3. Adjectival predicates followed by verbs
    3. Non-gradable adjectives as attributives
      1. Attributives of shape, colour or material
    4. Nominal and pronominal predicates
      1. Verbs resembling shì
      2. Nominal predicates without a copula
    5. The copula shì in its negative form
  2. The verb yǒu; comparisons
    1. The functions of yǒu
      1. Yǒu indicating possession
      2. Měi as negative of yǒu
      3. Yǒu indicating change or development
      4. Yǒu forming idiomatic expressions
      5. Yǒu introducing adjectival predicates
    2. Comparison
      1. Emphatic or specific comparison
      2. Negative comparison
      3. Comparison: equivalence or similarity
    3. Comparatives and superlatives
  3. Verbs and aspect markers
    1. Action, state, and dative verbs
    2. Action verbs
    3. Aspect markers
      1. Le
      2. Guo
      3. Zài
      4. Zhe
    4. State verb
    5. Dative verbs
      1. Dative verbs relating to spoken activity
      2. Dative verbs and aspect markers
    6. Causative verbs
    7. Imperatives
      1. Polite requests
      2. Imperatives and aspect markers
  4. Motion verbs and direction indicators
    1. Motion verbs and simple direction indicators
    2. Motion verbs and compound direction indicators
    3. Motion verbs with metaphorical meaning
    4. Direction indicators with specific meanings
  5. Verbs and time
    1. Time expressions
    2. Point of time expressions
      1. Detailed time expressions
    3. Point-of-time expressions incorporating verbal phrases
    4. Imprecise points of time
    5. Indefinite points of time
    6. Frequency expressions with měi
    7. Time expressions in existence sentences
      1. Time expressions in emergence or disappearance sentences
  6. Verbs and location
    1. Location expressions
    2. Zài and postpositional phrases
      1. Disyllabic postpositions
      2. Disyllabic postpositions as location pronouns
    3. Simple location sentences
    4. Location phrases modifying main verbs
    5. Location phrases in existence sentences
      1. Shì in existence sentences
      2. Zhe in existence sentences
    6. Le in emergence or disappearance sentences
    7. Order of sequence of time and location phrases
  7. Verbs: duration and frequency
    1. Duration expressions
      1. Duration expressions and noun objects
      2. Repetition of the verb in a noun-object-duration structure
      3. Duration expressions and pronoun objects
      4. Duration expressions in dative construction
      5. Duration Expressions and definite reference
    2. Brief duration
      1. Brief duration and instrumental objects
    3. Frequency expressions
  8. Verbs and complements
    1. Complements
    2. Complements of result
    3. Potential complements
      1. Potential complements using direction indicators
      2. Metaphorical meanings of potential complements
    4. Complements of manner and of consequential state
      1. Modification of complement of manner
      2. Complement of consequential state
      3. Complement of manner or consequential state with a 'verb + object' verb
      4. Adjectival complements of manner in comparisons
      5. Complement-of-manner comparison with a 'verb + object' verb
    5. Complement of location or destination
    6. Degree complement
  9. Verbs and adverbials
    1. Adverbials of manner
      1. Monosyllabic adjectives as adverbials of manner
      2. Adverbials of manner with marked verbs
      3. Adverbials of manner with unmarked verbs
      4. Monosyllabic adverbial modifiers without de
      5. Particular types of adverbials of manner
    2. Attitudinal adverbial expressions
    3. Referential adverbs
    4. Referential adverbs with negatives
    5. Order of sequence of referential adverbs
    6. Order of adverbials in sequence
  10. Modal and similar verbs
    1. Modal, attitudinal, and intentional verbs
    2. Modal verbs
      1. Modal verbs and adverbs of degree
      2. Modal verbs and comparison
    3. Attitudinal verbs
      1. Wàngle and Jìde
      2. Gāoxìng
    4. Intentional verbs
      1. Negation of intentional verbs

Part III Sentences


  1. Statements and the sentence particle le
    1. Le as a sentence particle
    2. Function of sentence le
      1. Summing-up function of le
      2. Le as both sentence particle and aspect marker
    3. Cases where sentence le is not used
    4. Ultimate versatility of sentence le
  2. Questions
    1. Question-word questions
      1. Zěnmeyàng
      2. Duō in questions
      3. Ne in a questions
    2. General questions with ma
    3. Surmise questions with ba
    4. Affirmative-negative questions
    5. Alternative questions with háishì
    6. Tags indicating suggestion
    7. Tags seeking confirmation
    8. Rhetorical questions
  3. Subject and predicate; topic and comment
    1. Dual patterning of sentence structures
    2. Subject-predicate sentences
    3. Topic-comment sentences
      1. Further ways to form topic-comment
    4. Topic | subject-predicate sentences
      1. Notional passive sentences
    5. Subject | topic-comment sentences
  4. Prepositions and coverbs
    1. Coverbs
      1. Coverbs of place and time
      2. Coverbs of methods and means
      3. Coverbs of human exchange and service
      4. Coverbs of reference
      5. Coverbs and comparison
    2. Disyllabic prepositions
  5. Bǎ and bèi constructions
    1. The bǎ construction
      1. The bǎ construction and complements
      2. Le and zhe as complements in bǎ sentences
      3. Bǎ and resultative complements
      4. Nòng and Gǎo in bǎ sentences
      5. Negative bǎ sentences
      6. Bǎ and modal verbs
      7. Bǎ and indefinite reference
    2. The bèi construction
      1. Ràng and jiào
      2. The bèi construction with an agent
      3. Negative bèi sentences
    3. The bèi construction versus the notional passives
  6. Serial constructions
    1. General features of serial constructions
    2. Semantic varieties in serial constructions
    3. Adjectives or state verbs in serial constructions
    4. Dative constructions
    5. Causative constructions
      1. Qǐng in a causative construction
      2. Extended causative constructions
    6. Extended serial constructions
  7. Emphasis and the intensifier shì
    1. Shì as an intensifier
    2. The shì… de construction
      1. Subject and object emphasis in shì… de sentences
      2. Shì… de construction and bù
    3. Shì without de for profession and projection
      1. Contexts for shì (without de) sentences
      2. Shì and comparison
      3. Shì and negation
    4. Shì and topic-comment sentences
      1. Shì implying reservation
      2. 'Verb/Adjective + shì + Verb/Adjective' implying reservation
    5. Repetition and emphasis
  8. Abbreviation and omission
    1. Three types of abbreviation
    2. Conventional abbreviations as a subjectless sentences
    3. Contextual abbreviation
    4. Cotextual omissions
      1. Cotextual omissions and headwords
      2. Cotextual omissions in answers
      3. Contextual/cotextual omissions in extended passages
  9. Composite sentences: conjunctions and conjunctives
    1. Types of composite sentences
    2. Conjunctions and conjunctives
      1. Meanings and functions of composite sentences
      2. Paired conjunctives
    3. Composite sentences as parallel structures
    4. Verbs taking object clauses
  10. Exclamations and interjections; appositions; and aposroghes
    1. Exclamations
      1. Exclamations with tài
      2. Question-word questions as exclamations
    2. Interjections
      1. Tone variations in interjections
    3. Appositions
    4. Apostrophe

Part IV Paragraphs


  1. A diary
  2. A letter
  3. A dialogue
  4. A welcome speech
  5. A description
  6. An explanatory piece of writing
  7. An argumentative piece of writing

Grammar Point References to This Book