Tone pair 3-1

This page will cover some examples of the 3-1 tone pair, which Sinosplice rates as a "5" on a difficulty rating of 1-7 (easiest to hardest).

Practice this tone pair using the words below. Once you can say them reliable in isolation (as just a tone pair), try putting them in longer sentences while keeping the tones accurate.

3-1 Tone Pair Diagram

It helps many learners to see the two tones side by side.

Tone Pair 3-1 cropped.png

3-1 Tone Pair Words (A2)

If you're just getting started with tone pairs, these simple two-syllable words and phrases are a good place to start. If these are too easy, you may want to move onto the longer (B1) phrases below.

Audio Chinese Pinyin English
已经 yǐjīng already
买单 mǎidān to pay the restaurant bill
手机 shǒujī cell phone
北京 Běijīng Beijing
老师 lǎoshī teacher

Note: 喜欢 (xǐhuan) is often written with the pinyin "xǐhuan" (neutral tone on the "huan"), but it's also quite common to hear it with the full first tone on the "huan," as "xǐhuān," outside of Beijing, and especially in Taiwan.

Source: AllSet Learning's "Tone Pair" Pronunciation Pack (used with permission)

3-1 Tone Pair Phrases (B1)

Audio Chinese Pinyin English
买手机 mǎi shǒujī to buy a cell phone
喜欢北京 xǐhuān Běijīng to like Beijing
老公买单 lǎogōng mǎidān (one's) husband pays the bill
很多老师 hěn duō lǎoshī a lot of teachers
已经吃了很多 yǐjīng chī le hěn duō have already been eating for a long time

Note: 喜欢 (xǐhuan) is often written with the pinyin "xǐhuan" (neutral tone on the "huan"), but it's also quite common to hear it with the full first tone on the "huan," as "xǐhuān," outside of Beijing, and especially in Taiwan.

Source: AllSet Learning's "Tone Pair" Pronunciation Pack (used with permission)

3-1 Tone Pair Combos

Audio Chinese Pinyin English
(coming) 很高 hěn gāo very tall
(coming) 很轻 hěn qīng very light
(coming) 很酸 hěn suān very sour
(coming) 很黑 hěn hēi very dark

Source: Sinosplice's Mandarin Chinese Tone Pair Drills (used with permission)

Sources and further reading

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