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The 10 Most Useful Chinese Sentence Patterns

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Language is an art, and learning one can become frustrating due to their complicated and flexible nature. We totally understand your pain as a new Chinese language learner!

How about simplifying it a little bit, and applying some formulas like we do in math? 

We’ve prepared these ten most basic and useful Chinese sentence patterns for you. Once you master them, you’ll be able to generate hundreds of natural sentences and converse with ease and confidence in any situation. 

Now let’s get to the fun!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe Nouns
  3. Expressing “Want”
  4. Expressing “Need”
  5. Expressing “Like”
  6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something
  7. Expressing Something in the Past Tense
  8. Asking for Information About Something
  9. Asking About Time
  10. Asking About Location or Position
  11. Conclusion

1. Linking Two Nouns

Some of the simplest and most common Chinese phrases are those used to connect to nouns. Let’s see how it’s done.

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [主语] 是 [宾语]。

Pinyin: [Zhǔ yǔ] shì  [bīn yǔ].

In English: “[Subject] is [object].”

Example 1

In Chinese: 约翰是我的哥哥。

Pinyin: Yuē hàn shì wǒ de gē ge. 

In English: “John is my older brother.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我的妈妈是一个十分善良的人。

Pinyin: Wǒ de mā ma shì yī gè shí fēn shàn liáng de rén. 

In English: “My mom is a very kind person.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 这只手表是爸爸送给我的毕业礼物。

Pinyin: Zhè zhī shǒu biǎo shì bà ba sòng gěi wǒ de bì yè lǐ wù. 

In English: “This watch is a present from my dad for my graduation.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 她是一名老师。

Pinyin: Tā shì yī míng lǎo shī. 

In English: “She is a teacher.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 狗是我最喜欢的动物。 

Pinyin: Gǒu shì wǒ zuì xǐ huān de dòng wù. 

In English: “Dogs are my favorite animal.”

2. Using Adjectives to Describe Nouns

A Woman in a Yellow Shirt Thinking about Something

Let’s think about how to describe this…

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [主语] (是) 非常/很/太/真 [形容词]。

Pinyin: [Zhǔ yǔ] (shì) fēi cháng/hěn/tài/zhēn  [xíng róng cí].

In English: “[Subject] (is) very/so [adjective].”

Additional notes: In Chinese, when we use adjectives to describe things, “is” is omitted most of the time.

Example 1

In Chinese: 你真美。 

Pinyin: Nǐ zhēn měi. 

In English: “You are so beautiful.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我们昨晚看的电影实在是太恐怖了。

Pinyin: Wǒ men zuó wǎn kàn de diàn yǐng shí zài shì tài kǒng bù le. 

In English: “The movie we watched last night was so scary.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 这道甜点真好吃。

Pinyin: Zhè dào tián diǎn zhēn hǎo chī. 

In English: “This dessert is so delicious.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 他可真是个聪明人。

Pinyin: Tā kě zhēn shì gè cōng míng rén. 

In English: “He is such a wise person.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 这本书真是太感人了,我看的时候都忍不住哭了。

Pinyin: Zhè běn shū zhēn shì tài gǎn rén le, wǒ kàn de shí hòu dōu rěn bú zhù kū le. 

In English: “This book is so touching, I couldn’t help crying when I was reading it.”

3. Expressing “Want” 

This Chinese sentence structure is very useful for day-to-day interactions. Let’s take a look:

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: 我想……

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng…

In English: “I want (to)…”

Example 1

In Chinese: 我想吃东西了。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng chī dōng xi le. 

In English: “I want to eat some food.”

A Businessman Eating Fast Food

Don’t we all crave food all the time?

Example 2

In Chinese: 在国外留学了三年之后,我想回家。

Pinyin: Zài guó wài liú xué le sān nián zhī hòu, wǒ xiǎng huí jiā. 

In English: “After studying abroad for three years, I want to go back to my hometown.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 今天复习了一天的考试,现在我只想睡觉。

Pinyin: Jīn tiān fù xí le yī tiān de kǎo shì, xiàn zài wǒ zhǐ xiǎng shuì jiào. 

In English: “Today, I studied the whole time, and now I only want to go to sleep.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 我想成为一个更好的人。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng chéng wéi yī gè gèng hǎo de rén. 

In English: “I want to become a better person.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 夏天是让人想吃西瓜的季节。

Pinyin: Xià tiān shì ràng rén xiǎng chī xī guā de jì jié. 

In English: “Summer is a season that makes people want to eat watermelons.”

4. Expressing “Need”

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: 我需要…… / 我得……

Pinyin: Wǒ xū yào… / Wǒ děi…

In English: “I need (to)…” / “I have to…” 

Example 1

In Chinese: 抱歉,现在我必须要走了。

Pinyin: Bào qiàn, xiàn zài wǒ bì xū yào zǒu le. 

In English: “I am sorry, I need to go right now.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 打扰一下,我需要用一下卫生间。

Pinyin: Dǎ rǎo yī xià, wǒ xū yào yòng yī xià wèi shēng jiān. 

In English: “Excuse me, I need to use the bathroom.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 我需要冷静下来,好好想想接下来应该怎么办。

Pinyin: Wǒ xū yào lěng jìng xià lái, hǎo hao xiǎng xiang jiē xià lái yīng gāi zěn me bàn.

In English: “I need to calm down and think about what I can do next.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 狗狗是人类最好的朋友,他们需要我们的陪伴与关爱。

Pinyin: Gǒu gou shì rén lèi zuì hǎo de péng you, tā men xū yào wǒ men de péi bàn yǔ guān ài.

In English: “Dogs are man’s best friend; they need our companionship and love.”

A Woman Astounded at a Surprise Party for Her Birthday

Gotta have some fun if it’s your birthday!

Example 5

In Chinese: 明天是我的生日,我得穿件漂亮的衣服。

Pinyin: Míng tiān shì wǒ de shēng rì, wǒ děi chuān jiàn piāo liang de yī fu. 

In English: “Tomorrow is my birthday; I will have to wear something nice.”

5. Expressing “Like”

This is one of the most important Chinese sentence structures for beginners who want to hold basic conversations with native speakers. Let’s see how it works.

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: 我喜欢……

Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ huan… 

In English: “I like (to)…”

Example 1

In Chinese: 我非常喜欢下厨。

Pinyin: Wǒ fēi cháng xǐ huan xià chú. 

In English: “I like to cook very much.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我喜欢在海边看日落。

Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ huan zài hǎi biān kàn rì luò. 

In English: “I like to watch the sunset at the beach.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 爸爸喜欢每天早上八点准时叫我起床。

Pinyin: Bà ba xǐ huan měi tiān zǎo shàng bā diǎn zhǔn shí jiào wǒ qǐ chuáng. 

In English: “My dad likes to wake me up exactly at 8:00 a.m. every day.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 孩子们都很喜欢万圣节,因为他们可以得到很多糖果。

Pinyin: Hái zi men dōu hěn xǐ huan wàn shèng jié, yīn wèi tā men kě yǐ dé dào hěn duō táng guǒ. 

In English: “Children all like Halloween because they can get lots of candy.”

Example 5

A Group of People Reaching for French Fries

Tell me the truth: isn’t fast food a guilty pleasure of yours sometimes?

In Chinese: 他很喜欢吃快餐。

Pinyin: Tā hěn xǐ huan chī kuài cān.

In English: “He likes to eat fast food a lot.”

6. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: 请……

Pinyin: Qǐng… 

In English: “Please…”

Example 1

A Couple being Seated at a Nice Restaurant

Let’s try to be polite when it’s needed and use the word “please.”

In Chinese: 请问我可以进来吗?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn wǒ kě yǐ jìn lái ma? 

In English: “Can I come in, please?”

Example 2

In Chinese: 请不要在我家里穿鞋,谢谢。

Pinyin: Qǐng bú yào zài wǒ jiā lǐ chuān xié, xiè xiè. 

In English: “Please don’t wear shoes at my house, thank you.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 能不能请您稍微挪一下位置?

Pinyin: Néng bu néng qǐng nín shāo wēi nuó yī xià wèi zhì.

In English: “Can you please move a little bit?”

Example 4

In Chinese: 请坐。 

Pinyin: Qǐng zuò. 

In English: “Please sit down.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 请你注意自己的言行。

Pinyin: Qǐng nǐ zhù yì zì jǐ de yán xíng. 

In English: “Please mind your own manners.”

7. Expressing Something in the Past Tense

Next on our Chinese sentence patterns list is how to express things that happened in the past. Take a look:

Sentence pattern: 

In Chinese: 我(已经)……了。 

Pinyin: Wǒ (yǐ jīng)…le. 

In English: “I (already)…”

Example 1

In Chinese: 我已经吃过饭了。

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng chī guò fàn le. 

In English: “I already ate.”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我已经把作业做完了。 

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng bǎ zuò yè zuò wán le. 

In English: “I already finished my homework.”

Example 3

In Chinese: 我已经放弃了。

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng fàng qì le. 

In English: “I already gave up.”

Example 4

In Chinese: 我之前已经去过这里了。

Pinyin: Wǒ zhī qián yǐ jīng qù guò zhè lǐ le. 

In English: “I already went there before.”

Example 5

In Chinese: 我已经把文件传给你了。

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng bǎ wén jiàn chuán gěi nǐ le. 

In English: “I already sent the files to you.”

8. Asking for Information About Something

Sentence Patterns

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [主语] 是什么?

Pinyin: [Zhǔ yǔ] shì shén me? 

In English: “What is [subject]?”

Example 1

In Chinese: 这个是什么?

Pinyin: Zhè gè shì shén me? 

In English: “What is this?”

Example 2

In Chinese: 我们上次去的餐厅是哪一家?

Pinyin: Wǒ men shàng cì qù de cān tīng shì nǎ yī jiā? 

In English: “What was the restaurant we went to last time?”

Example 3

In Chinese: 你的名字是什么?

Pinyin: Nǐ de míng zì shì shén me? 

In English: “What is your name?”

Example 4

In Chinese: 你学的是什么专业?

Pinyin: Nǐ xué de shì shén me zhuān yè? 

In English: “What is your major?”

Example 5

In Chinese: 你的爱好是什么?

Pinyin: Nǐ de ài hào shì shén me? 

In English: “What is your hobby?”

9. Asking About Time

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [事件]是什么时候?

Pinyin: [Shì jiàn] shì shén me shí hou? 

In English: “When is [event]?”

Example 1

In Chinese: 会议是什么时候?

Pinyin: Huì yì shì shén me shí hou? 

In English: “When is the meeting?”

Example 2

In Chinese: 你的生日是什么时候?

Pinyin: Nǐ de shēng rì shì shén me shí hou?

In English: “When is your birthday?”

Example 3

In Chinese: 你的航班是什么时候到达机场?

Pinyin: Nǐ de háng bān shì shén me shí hou dào dá jī chǎng? 

In English: “When is the arrival time for your flight?”

Example 4

In Chinese: 你想要什么时候去露营?

Pinyin: Nǐ xiǎng yào shén me shí hou qù lù yíng? 

In English: “When do you want to go camping?”

Example 5

In Chinese: 我们第一次见面是什么时候?

Pinyin: Wǒ men dì yī cì jiàn miàn shì shén me shí hou? 

In English: “When did we meet for the first time?”

10. Asking About Location or Position

Sentence Components

The final Chinese language sentence structure we’ll cover today is how to ask for location or position. 

Sentence pattern:

In Chinese: [地方]在哪里? 

Pinyin: [Dì fang] zài nǎ lǐ? 

In English: “Where is [place]?”

Example 1

In Chinese: 请问卫生间在哪里?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn wèi shēng jiān zài nǎ lǐ?

In English: “Where is the restroom?”

Example 2

In Chinese: 你的家乡在哪里?

Pinyin: Nǐ de jiā xiāng zài nǎ lǐ? 

In English: “Where is your hometown?”

Example 3

In Chinese: 请问电梯在哪里?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn diàn tī zài nǎ lǐ? 

In English: “Where is the elevator?”

Example 4

In Chinese: 你们是在哪里举办的婚礼?

Pinyin: Nǐ men shì zài nǎ lǐ jǔ bàn de hūn lǐ? 

In English: “Where did you have your wedding?”

Example 5

In Chinese: 你们是在哪里遇见的? 

Pinyin: nǐ men shì zài nǎ lǐ yù jiàn de?

In English: “Where did you guys meet?”

11. Conclusion

Weren’t those some incredibly convenient Chinese sentence patterns? Now that you know the “formulas,” I’m sure that soon enough you’ll be able to apply them and create sentences of your own for any situation! Of course, only knowing the basic Chinese grammar and sentence patterns isn’t enough to grasp the complex and artistic Chinese language. 

I’m sure your ambition as a language-learner goes beyond this, right? If you’re ready to expand your horizon in Chinese, just visit ChineseClass101.com for the most professional, unlimited Chinese resources. You can start learning Chinese in the next thirty seconds with a free lifetime account; we promise that you won’t regret it!

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