Chinese grammar

Chinese verbsChineseChinese aspect markersChinese aspectsChinese grammar → AspectsChinese grammar → Cleft sentencesChinese grammar: Aspectsgrammargrammar of Standard Chinesegrammatical markers
This article concerns Modern Standard Chinese.wikipedia
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Head-directionality parameter

head-finalhead-initialhead final
Otherwise, Chinese is chiefly a head-final language, meaning that modifiers precede the words they modify – in a noun phrase, for example, the head noun comes last, and all modifiers, including relative clauses, come in front of it.
For more details and examples of the relevant structures, see Chinese grammar.

Grammatical tense

tensetensesverb tense
Categories such as number (singular or plural) and verb tense are frequently not expressed by any grammatical means, although there are several particles that serve to express verbal aspect, and to some extent mood.
(The same is done in tensed languages, to supplement or reinforce the time information conveyed by the choice of tense.) Time information is also sometimes conveyed as a secondary feature by markers of other categories, as with the Chinese aspect markers le and guo, which in most cases place an action in past time.

Serial verb construction

serial verbVerb serializationserial verb constructions
Chinese frequently uses serial verb constructions [missing example], which involve two or more verbs or verb phrases in sequence.
In Chinese, as in Southeast Asian languages, when a transitive verb is followed by an intransitive verb, the object of the combined verb may be understood as the object of the first verb and the subject of the second: "the tiger bit Zhang to death", where Zhang is understood as the direct object of yǎo ("bite") but as the subject of sǐ ("die").

Chinese particles

particleparticlesgrammatical particle
Categories such as number (singular or plural) and verb tense are frequently not expressed by any grammatical means, although there are several particles that serve to express verbal aspect, and to some extent mood.

Classifier (linguistics)

classifierclassifiersnumeral classifier
Chinese nouns require classifiers called liàngcí in order to be counted.

Verb

verbssubject-verb agreementv.
Most two-syllable compound nouns have the head on the right, while in compound verbs the head is usually on the left.

Adjective

adjectivesadjectivalattributive adjective
Predicate adjectives are normally used without a copular verb ("to be"), and can thus be regarded as a type of verb.
Such an analysis is possible for the grammar of Standard Chinese, for example.

Coverb

verbal prefixAuxiliariescoverbs
Chinese prepositions behave similarly to serialized verbs in some respects, and they are often referred to as coverbs.
For more information, see the article on Chinese grammar, particularly the sections on coverbs and locative phrases.

Object (grammar)

objectdirect objectindirect object
The word shénme (, "what" or "which"), remains in the object position after the verb.
Some Chinese verbs can have two direct objects, one being more closely bound to the verb than the other; these may be called "inner" and "outer" objects.

Standard Chinese phonology

tonefour tonesMandarin phonology
This may be connected with the preferred metrical structure of the language.
Weak syllables are usually grammatical markers such as 了 le, or the second syllables of some compound words (although many other compounds consist of two or more full syllables).

Chinese pronouns

Chinese pronounpersonal pronouns
It is used with personal pronouns, as in wǒmen (, "we" or "us"), derived from wǒ (, "I, me").

Preposition and postposition

prepositionpostpositionprepositions
Chinese prepositions behave similarly to serialized verbs in some respects, and they are often referred to as coverbs.
For more information, see the article on Chinese grammar, particularly the sections on coverbs and locative phrases.

Chinese classifier

classifiermeasure wordclassifiers
As in many east Asian languages, classifiers or measure words are required when using numerals—and sometimes other words such as demonstratives—with nouns.

Cleft sentence

cleftingcleftclefts
There is a construction in Chinese known as the shì ... [de] construction, which produces what may be called cleft sentences.
See Chinese grammar → Cleft sentences for details.

Grammatical aspect

aspectaspectualaspects
Categories such as number (singular or plural) and verb tense are frequently not expressed by any grammatical means, although there are several particles that serve to express verbal aspect, and to some extent mood. There are two aspect markers that are especially commonly used with past events: the perfective-aspect le and the experiential guò.

Wh-movement

wh''-frontingwh-frontingwh-in-situ
In wh-questions in Chinese, the question word is not fronted.
For example, topic questions in Chinese have the same sentence structure as their answers:

Delimitative aspect

durativedurative aspectDelimitative
For details see Chinese grammar → Aspects.

Perfective aspect

perfectiveperfectPerfective verbs
There are two aspect markers that are especially commonly used with past events: the perfective-aspect le and the experiential guò.

Grammar

grammaticalgrammaticallyrules of language
The grammar of Standard Chinese or Mandarin shares many features with other varieties of Chinese.

Standard Chinese

MandarinChineseMandarin Chinese
The grammar of Standard Chinese or Mandarin shares many features with other varieties of Chinese.

Varieties of Chinese

ChineseSiniticChinese varieties
The grammar of Standard Chinese or Mandarin shares many features with other varieties of Chinese.

Inflection

inflectedinflectional morphologyinflectional
The language almost entirely lacks inflection, so that words typically have only one grammatical form.

Grammatical number

numbersingularnumbers
Categories such as number (singular or plural) and verb tense are frequently not expressed by any grammatical means, although there are several particles that serve to express verbal aspect, and to some extent mood.