Chinese Grammar Cop.

Hello everyone! It’s Hsiao Laoshi from Georgetown University again! Today, we are going to talk a bit more about some of the fundamental differences between Chinese and English. In English, the use of the to-be verb “is” and “are” are evident when you say, for example, “You are beautiful” or “He is tall.” The to-be verb changes according to agreement with the subject. However, in Chinese, the to-be verb is omitted. “You are beautiful” or “He is tall” are translated as “你很漂亮” and “ 他很高”, respectively. The literal translation of both phrases would be “You beautiful” and “He tall.”

You must be wondering: how is there no to-be verb in Chinese? That’s because in Chinese, the adjective takes the role of the to-be verb. The characters 漂亮or 高 (adjectives in English) are called “stative verbs” in Chinese. Though they are adjectives in English, they function as both verbs and adjectives in Chinese.

Let’s practice with a few more examples!

My room is big → 我的房间很大。 (Wǒ de fángjiān hěn dà.)

Chinese is easy → 中文很容易。(Zhōngwén hěn róngyì.)


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