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Reference:Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide

Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide by Claudia Ross, Jing-heng Sheng Ma

Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar is an innovative reference guide to Mandarin Chinese, combining traditional and function-based grammar in a single volume.
Divided into two sections closely linked by extensive cross-references, it covers traditional grammatical categories such as phrase order, nouns, verbs and specifiers as well as language functions and notions such as communication strategies, giving and seeking information, expressing apologies, regrets and sympathies.
With all grammar points and functions richly illustrated with examples, and a strong emphasis on contemporary usage, the main features of this Grammar include examples in simplified characters, traditional characters, and romanization (Pinyin) as well as an emphasis on areas of particular difficulty for learners of Mandarin Chinese.
This is the ideal reference grammar for learners of Mandarin Chinese at all levels, from A1 to B2. No prior knowledge of grammatical terminology is assumed and a glossary of grammatical terms is provided.

Grammar Points by Chapter

  1. Overview of pronunciation and Pinyin romanization
    • 1.1 The Mandarin syllable
    • 1.2 Pinyin romanization
  2. Syllable, meaning, and word
    • 2.1 The special status of the Mandarin syllable
    • 2.2 Multi-syllable tendency in Mandarin words
    • 2.3 Word-specific tone changes
    • 2.4 Change in neutral tone
    • 2.5 Incorporating foreign words and naming foreign objects
  3. The Chinese writing system: an overview
    • 3.1 Traditional and simplified characters
    • 3.2 The structure of Chinese characters the radical and the phonetic
    • 3.3 The traditional classification of characters
    • 3.4 Character stroke order 笔顺 bishun
  4. Phrase order in the Mandarin sentence
    • 4.1 Basic phrase order
    • 4.2 The position of direct and indirect objects
    • 4.3 The position of prepositional phrases
    • 4.4 The position of location phrases
    • 4.5 The position of 'time when' phrases
    • 4.6 The relative order of the 'time when' phrase and the location phrase
    • 4.7 The position of adverbs
    • 4.8 The position of negation
    • 4.9 The position of duration phrases
    • 4.10 Order within the noun phrase
    • 4.11 Phrase order in questions
  5. Nouns
    • 5.1 Common nouns
    • 5.2 Pronouns
    • 5.3 Proper nouns
  6. Numbers
    • 6.1 Mandarin numbers 0-99
    • 6.2 Number 100 and higher
    • 6.3 Formal characters for numbers
    • 6.4 Ordinal numbers
    • 6.5 Estimates and approximations
    • 6.6 Fractions, percentages, decimals, half, and multiples
    • 6.7 Lucky and unlucky numbers
    • 6.8 Numbers used in phrases and expressions
    • 6.9 一 yi as a marker of sequence
    • 6.10 Numbers that are used as words
  7. Specifiers and demonstratives
    • 7.1 这 zhe 'this' and 那 na 'that' as demonstratives
    • 7.2 这 zhe, zhei 'this/these' and 那 na, nei 'that/those' as specifiers
    • 7.3 这儿 zher and 这里 zheli 'here', 那儿 nar and 那里 nali 'there'
    • 7.4 Question words that correspond to specifiers
  8. Classifiers
    • 8.1 The structure of phrases involving classifiers
    • 8.2 Choosing the classifier
    • 8.3 Omission of the head noun
    • 8.4 Classifiers that occur without a noun
    • 8.5 Money and prices
  9. Noun phrases
    • 9.1 Modifying a noun with a specifier and/or number
    • 9.2 Modifying a noun with all other modifiers: modification with 的 de
    • 9.3 Omission of the particle 的 de
    • 9.4 Noun modifiers in a series
    • 9.5 Omission of the head noun
    • 9.6 Modification with 之 zhi
  10. Adjectival verbs
    • 10.1 Negation of adjectival verbs
    • 10.2 Yes-no questions with adjectival verbs
    • 10.3 Modification by intensifiers
    • 10.4 Two syllable preference
    • 10.5 Comparative meaning
    • 10.6 Superlative meaning
    • 10.7 Adjectival verbs and comparison structures
    • 10.8 Linking adjectival verbs
    • 10.9 Adjectival verbs and expressions that indicate change over time
    • 10.10 Adjectival verbs and sentence final -了 le
  11. Stative verbs
    • 11.1 Negation of stative verbs
    • 11.2 Modification of intensifiers
    • 11.3 Indicating completion, past time, and change of state
    • 11.4 The equational verb 是 shi 'to be'
    • 11.5 The equational verb 姓 xing 'to be family named'
    • 11.6 The verb of possession and existence: 有 you 'to have,' 'to exist'
    • 11.7 The location verb 在 zai 'to be located at'
  12. Modal verbs
    • 12.1 Expressing possibility: 会 hui
    • 12.2 Expressing ability
    • 12.3 Expressing permission: 可以 keyi
    • 12.4 Expressing obligations
    • 12.5 Expressing prohibitions
    • 12.6 Grammatical properties of modal verbs
  13. Action verbs
    • 13.1 Indicating that an action is completed or past
    • 13.2 Indicating that an action has been experienced in the past
    • 13.3 Negating actions
    • 13.4 Open-ended action verbs
    • 13.5 Change-of-state action verbs
  14. Prepositions and prepositional phrases
    • 14.1 The grammar of the prepositional phrase in the Mandarin sentence
    • 14.2 Basic functions of prepositions
    • 14.3 Prepositions that also can function as verbs
  15. Adverbs
    • 15.1 General properties of adverbs
    • 15.2 Adverbs with logical function: 也 ye, 都 dou, 还 hai, 就 jiu, 只 zhi, and 才 cai
  16. Conjunctions
    • 16.1 Conjunctions that indicate an 'additive' or 'and' relationship
    • 16.2 Conjunctions that indicate a disjunctive or 'or' relationship
  17. The passive
    • 17.1 The structure of the Mandarin passive
    • 17.2 The passive and negation
    • 17.3 Conditions for using the passive in Mandarin
    • 17.4 Differences between the passive markers 被 bei, 叫 jiao, and 让 rang
    • 17.5 Additional functions of 让 rang, 叫 jiao, and 给 gei
    • 17.6 English passives and their Mandarin equivalents
  18. Names, kinship terms, titles, and terms of address
    • 18.1 Names: 姓名 xingming
    • 18.2 Kinship terms
    • 18.3 Titles
    • 18.4 Addressing others
    • 18.5 Addressing new acquaintances and negotiating terms of address
    • 18.6 Name cards and business cards
    • 18.7 Addressing letters and envelopes
  19. Introductions
    • 19.1 The general format of introductions
    • 19.2 Sample introductions
    • 19.3 Common occupations and fields of study
  20. Greetings and goodbyes
    • 20.1 Greetings in conversations
    • 20.2 Saying goodbye in conversations
    • 20.3 Greetings and goodbyes in letters
  21. Basic strategies for communication
    • 21.1 Attracting someone's attention
    • 21.2 Responding to a call for attention
    • 21.3 Checking whether people have understood you
    • 21.4 Indicating understanding or lack of understanding
    • 21.5 Requesting repetition or clarification of spoken language
    • 21.6 Asking for assistance in identifying a Chinese character
    • 21.7 Providing information about the identification of Chinese characters
    • 21.8 Signaling that you are following the speaker
    • 21.9 Interrupting a speaker
    • 21.10 Using fillers
    • 21.11 Formal development of a topic
  22. Telecommunications and e-communications: telephones, the internet, beepers, and faxes
    • 22.1 Sending and receiving phone calls, fazes, email, and beeper messages
    • 22.2 Dialing a number and entering a number
    • 22.3 Using the internet
    • 22.4 Telephone etiquette
    • 22.5 Writing and reciting phone numbers, fax numbers, and beeper numbers
  23. Negating information
    • 23.1 Negation of verbs and verb phrases
    • 23.2 The relative order of negation and adverbs
    • 23.3 Words that occur with negation
    • 23.4 不 bu in resultative verb structures
    • 23.5 Literary markers of negation: 无 wu and 非 fei
  24. Asking questions and replying to questions
    • 24.1 Yes-no questions
    • 24.2 Asking for agreement
    • 24.3 Choosing between alternatives with either-or questions
    • 24.4 Rhetorical questions
    • 24.5 Follow-up questions with 呢 ne
    • 24.6 Content questions
  25. Expressing identification, possession, and existence
    • 25.1 Expressing identification
    • 25.2 Expressing possession
    • 25.3 Expressing existence
  26. Describing people, places, and things
    • 26.1 Equational sentences: identifying or describing the subject with a noun phrase in the predicate
    • 26.2 Describing the subject with a predicate that is an adjectival verb
    • 26.3 Identifying or describing a noun with a modifying phrase
    • 26.4 Asking questions about the attributes of a person, place, or thing
    • 26.5 Describing an item in terms of the material that is made of
    • 26.6 Describing nouns in terms of attributes that imply comparison
    • 26.7 Describing person in terms of age
    • 26.8 Describing the weather
    • 26.9 Talking about illness and other medical conditions
  27. Describing how actions are performed
    • 27.1 Describing the general or past performance of an action with a manner adverbial phrase
    • 27.2 Asking about the performance of an action
    • 27.3 Describing the performance of an entire action with an adverbial modifier
  28. Indicating result, conclusion, potential, and extent
    • 28.1 Indicating the result or conclusion of an action with resultative verbs
    • 28.2 Indicating the ability to reach a conclusion or result: the potential infixes 得 de and 不 bu
    • 28.3 Summary of the functions of resultative verbs
    • 28.4 Indicating the ability to perform the verb: the potential suffexes 得了 deliao and 不了 buliao
  29. Making comparisons
    • 29.1 Similarity
    • 29.2 Difference
    • 29.3 More than
    • 29.4 Less than
    • 29.5 Comparative degree
    • 29.6 Superlative degree
    • 29.7 Relative degree
  30. Talking about the present
    • 30.1 Time expressions that indicate present time
    • 30.2 Using 在 zai and 正在 zhengzai to indicate ongoing actions in present time
    • 30.3 Using the final particle 呢 ne to indicate ongoing actions in present time
    • 30.4 Using 着 zhe to emphasize ongoing duration or an ongoing state in the present time
    • 30.5 Indicating present time by context
    • 30.6 Negation in present time situations
    • 30.7 Talking about actions that begin in the past and continue to present
    • 30.8 Describing situations that are generally true
  31. Talking about habitual actions
    • 31.1 Expressing habitual time with the word 每 mei 'every/each'
    • 31.2 Expressing habitual time with 天天 tiantian and 年年 niannian
    • 31.3 Adverbs that describe habitual action
  32. Talking about the future
    • 32.1 Time words that refer to future time
    • 32.2 Adverbs that refer to future time
    • 32.3 Indicating future time with the modal verb 会 hui
    • 32.4 Verbs that refer to the future
  33. Indicating completion and talking about the past
    • 33.1 Completion: V -了 le
    • 33.2 Talking about sequence in the past
    • 33.3 Indicating that an action did not occur in the past
    • 33.4 Asking whether or not an action has occurred
    • 33.5 Indicating that an action occurred again in the past: 又 you verb 了 le
    • 33.6 Talking about past experience: verb suffix -过 guo
    • 33.7 Comparing the verb suffixes 过 guo and 了 le
    • 33.8 Adverbs that indicate past time
    • 33.9 Focusing on a detail of a past event with 是...的 shi...de
  34. Talking about change, new situations, and changing situations
    • 34.1 Indicating that a situation represents a change
    • 34.2 Comparing sentences with and without sentence final -了 le
    • 34.3 Indicating change over time
    • 34.4 Nouns and verbs that express change
  35. Talking about duration and frequency
    • 35.1 Specifying the length of an action with a duration phrase
    • 35.2 Emphasizing ongoing duration
    • 35.3 Indicating the ongoing duration of a background event
    • 35.4 Indicating frequency
  36. Expressing additional information
    • 36.1 也 ye 'also'
    • 36.2 还 hai 'in addition, also'
    • 36.3 还有 hai you 'in addition'
    • 36.4 并且 bingqie 'moreover'
    • 36.5 再说 zai shuo 'besides, moreover, to put it another way'
    • 36.6 而 er 'and, but'
    • 36.7 和 he and 跟 gen 'and'
    • 36.8 不但...而且... budan...erqie... 'not only...but also...'
    • 36.9 又...又... you...you... 'both...and...'
    • 36.10 除了...以外 chule...yiwai 'besides...'
    • 36.11 另外 lingwai 'in addition' '(an)other'
  37. Expressing contrast
    • 37.1 Expressing contrast with paired connecting words
    • 37.2 Adverbs that indicate contrast
    • 37.3 Qualifying a statement with an adjectival verb or stative verb
  38. Expressing sequence
    • 38.1 Expressing the relationship 'before'
    • 38.2 Expressing the relationship 'after' in a single sentence
    • 38.3 Indicating that one event happens first and another event happens afterward
    • 38.4 Indicating 'afterward' in a separate sentence
    • 38.5 Comparing 以前 yiqian 'before' with 以后 yihou 'after'
  39. Expressing simultaneous situations
    • 39.1 Indicating that one situation is the background for another situation
    • 39.2 Indicating that two actions occur at the same time
    • 39.3 Indicating that two actions occur in the same time frame
    • 39.4 Describing a subject in terms of two qualities that exist at the same time
    • 39.5 Indicating that a situation is reached at a specific point in time
    • 39.6 Presenting simultaneous situations
  40. Expressing cause and effect or reason and result
    • 40.1 Expressing cause and effect or reason and result in a single sentence
    • 40.2 Introducing the cause of reason
    • 40.3 Introducing the effect or result
    • 40.4 Inquiring about cause or reason
  41. Expressing conditions
    • 41.1 'If...then' conditional sentences
    • 41.2 'even if'
    • 41.3 'as long as'
    • 41.4 'only if', 'unless'
    • 41.5 'otherwise'
  42. Expressing 'both,' 'all,' 'every,' 'any,' 'none,' 'not any,' and 'no matter how'
    • 42.1 Expressing 'both' and 'all'
    • 42.2 Expressing 'none'
    • 42.3 Expressing 'every'
    • 42.4 Expressing 'every,' 'any,' 'not any,' and 'no matter how' with question words
  43. Expressing location and distance
    • 43.1 Location
    • 43.2 Indicating that an object exists or does not exist at a location
    • 43.3 Using location as a description
    • 43.4 Talking about distance
    • 43.5 Asking about distance
  44. Talking about movement, directions, and means of transportation
    • 44.1 Talking about 'going' and 'coming'
    • 44.2 Talking about turning
    • 44.3 Talking about crossing
    • 44.4 Talking about arriving
    • 44.5 Talking about means of transportation
    • 44.6 asking about locations and asking for directions
    • 44.7 Asking for and giving directions: sample conversations
    • 44.8 Talking about directional movement
  45. Talking about clock time and calendar time
    • 45.1 Clock time
    • 45.2 Calendar time
  46. Expressing obligations and prohibitions
    • 46.1 Expressing obligations
    • 46.2 Expressing prohibitions, must not, should not
  47. Expressing commands and permission
    • 47.1 Commands
    • 47.2 Permission
  48. Expressing ability and possibility
    • 48.1 Expressing ability
    • 48.2 Expressing possibility
  49. Expressing desires, needs, preferences, and willingness
    • 49.1 Expressing desires
    • 49.2 Expressing needs
    • 49.3 Expressing preferences
    • 49.4 Expressing willingness
  50. Expressing knowledge, advice, and opinions
    • 50.1 Expressing knowledge
    • 50.2 Advice and opinions
  51. Expressing fear, worry, and anxiety
    • 51.1 Expressing fear of something
    • 51.2 Expressing nervousness or anxiety
    • 51.3 Indicating that something is scary
    • 51.4 Indicating that something scares someone
  52. Expressing speaker attitudes and perspectives
    • 52.1 Interjections
    • 52.2 Sentence final particles
  53. Topic, focus. and emphasis
    • 53.1 Introducing a topic
    • 53.2 Focus
    • 53.3 Emphasis
  54. Guest and host
    • 54.1 Welcoming the guest
    • 54.2 Offering food and drink
    • 54.3 Inviting the guest to get comfortable
    • 54.4 Saying goodbye and seeing the guest off
    • 54.5 Additional expressions involving guest and host
  55. Giving and responding to compliments
    • 55.1 Cultural conventions regarding praise
    • 55.2 Expressions used in deflection praise
    • 55.3 Compliments and appropriate responses
  56. Expressing satisfaction and dissatisfaction
    • 56.1 Expressing satisfaction
    • 56.2 Expressing dissatisfaction
  57. Expressing gratitude and responding to expressions of gratitude
    • 57.1 Expressing gratitude
    • 57.2 Replying to expressions of gratitude
  58. Invitations, requests, and refusals
    • 58.1 Invitations
    • 58.2 Requests
    • 58.3 Refusals
    • 58.4 Abandoning a request
  59. Expressing apologies, regrets, sympathy, and bad news
    • 59.1 Apologies and regrets
    • 59.2 Expressing sympathy
    • 59.3 Conveying bad news
  60. Expressing congratulations and good wishes
    • 60.1 General expressions of congratulations and good wishes
    • 60.2 Fixed phrases of congratulations and good wishes for special events
    • 60.3 Replying to expressions of congratulations and good wishes.