Chinese Calligraphy

Lesson 10

The possessive pronouns

In Chinese the possessive pronouns (mine, ours, theirs etc.) are used without a subsequent noun. They are used in situations where you don't want to repeat information that is already clear (e.g. in situations where the noun is understood).

Possessive pronouns

The reflexive pronoun 自己 (zìjǐ)

The reflexive pronoun 自己 (zìjǐ) is usually preceded by a personal pronoun and is translated into English as "-self".

自己 (zìjǐ)

Demonstrative adjectives preceded by a noun

In Lesson 6 we learned the use of demonstrative adjectives (DA) in Chinese (this man - 這個人) or (that book - 那本書). If such a demonstrative adjective (DA) is preceded by a pronoun, you can either skip or keep the particle 的.

Demonstrative adjectives

Adjectives followed by a noun

In Lesson 3 we learned how to use adjectives (adjectival verbs) that are not followed by a noun (e.g. "he is tall"). In this chapter we want to look at adjectives (adjectival verbs) followed by a noun (e.g. "a big car").

The particle 的 (de) after adjectives

When the adjective is preceded by an adverb (e.g. "a really nice car"), then you need to put the particle 的 (de) between the adjective and noun.

Particle 的

When the noun is preceded by a two syllable (disyllabic) or more syllable (polysyllabic) adjective, then you also need to put the particle 的 (de) between the adjective and noun.

Particle 的

When there is no noun following the adjective because the noun is understood, then you need to put the particle 的 (de) after the adjective.

Particle 的

Adjectives without the particle 的 (de)

When the noun is preceded by an adjective which only consists of one syllable (monosyllabic adjective), the particle 的 (de) between the adjective and the noun can be omitted.

No particle 的


Just as in English, Chinese uses conjunctions to join words or phrases and to indicate a relationship between them. In Chinese, however, conjunctions are much less frequently used than in English. In Chinese subsequent words or actions are often simply joined together without having to use a conjunction. The following shows you examples where in English we would use the conjunction "and" whereas in Chinese the conjunction "and" is skipped.


Another exampe for skipping conjunctions in Chinese are situations in which in English you would use the conjunction "to" or "in order to" plus the infinitive.

No conjunction

The conjunction 跟 (gēn)

跟 (gēn) can be both used as preposition and conjunction. When used as conjunction, it can be translated as "and" and is mainly used in spoken Chinese.

跟 (gēn)

The conjunction 和 (hé)

和 (hé) is the most common conjunction meaning "and" and is used both in written and spoken Chinese. Note that in Taiwan 和 (hé) is sometimes also pronounced 和 (hàn).

和 (hé)

The conjunction 還是 (háishì)

還是 (háishì) can be translated as "or" and is used in questions in which the addressee can chose between two alternatives.

還是 (háishì)

還是 (háishì) can also be translated as "anyway" or "despite of" as the following example shows.

還是 (háishì)

The third meaning of 還是 (háishì) is "to prefer" or "better do sth.".

還是 (háishì)

The conjunction 或者 (huòzhě)

The conjunction 或者 (huòzhě) or also 或是 (huòshì) or 或 (huò) is used in statements in which you want to present two alternatives (both of which are possible).

或者 (huòzhě)