Posted by Grace Feng on January 8, 2012
In previous lesson, we introduced the usage of adjectives in Chinese. In this lesson, we’ll explore further into the usage of adjectives in Chinese. Especially how to use comparison of adjectives in Chinese.
You might still remember the sentence pattern we used in the first example in last lesson (Being a good learner of JLC you should remember. :-) There was a character 比(bǐ) being used to compare between “big hand” and “small hand”. If you were a little confused on that sentence, you should be clear after this lesson, I hope.
Before we get into the core content of this lesson, let’s learn some new words first:
|| 从 (from)
|| 更 (more)
|[mp3j track=”L9-tou-fa.mp3″]||[mp3j track=”L9-cong.mp3″]||[mp3j track=”L9-geng.mp3″]|
|zuì||ná chū||hé zi|
| 最 (most)
|| 拿出 (take out)
|[mp3j track=”L9-zui.mp3″]||[mp3j track=”L9-na-chu.mp3″]||[mp3j track=”L9-he-zi.mp3″]|
|个子 (human height)|
As usual, please use the following estroke tool to help you practice the writing of the words. Most importantly, try to remember the look of the words. So you can recognize them in your Chinese reading, and pinpoint them out when typing. If you’re wondering on how to type Chinese, please refer my brief tutorial in my very first lesson Things to know before you start to learn Chinese.
Now let’s get back to our topic again …
Review the comparison example first please:
xiǎode shǒu bǐ dà de shǒu língqiǎo
Small hand is nimbler than big hand.
The sentence pattern that we used in this example can be shown as below:
What + 比 + what + adjective word
Let’s apply it to an example first:
If you wanna say:”My hair is longer than yours.” Form your Chinese sentence the way it was shown above:
My hair + 比 + yours + long. (Be aware that Chinese word dosen’t have form change!)
wǒ de tóufa bǐ nǐ de cháng.
Try another one:
If you wanna say:”The elder brother is taller than the younger brother. The younger brother is shorter than the elder brother.” Use the pattern again:
The elder brother + 比 + the younger brother + tall.
The younger brother + 比 + the elder brother + short.
gēge bǐ dìdi gāo. dìdi bǐ gēge ǎi.
Notice that in comparison, adjective does not change form as in English. You know it is “longer” or “taller” because the character 比 is used to build the sentence pattern.
You might also wonder why “是(is)” is not used in the example. Then where is the verb?!
Well, in Chinese, you don’t need to use 是 when you want to say:
What is (adjective).
Simply take out the “is”, then it’s a valid complete Chinese sentence. Such as:
xiǎo lì piàoliang.
dìdi de shǒu xiǎo.
wǒ de tóufa cháng.
Simple? (Who said Chinese is difficult? :-))
Using “比” is explicitly showing comparison in the sentence. What if comparison is used in a more passive way without “比”? Such as:
cóng zhèr huí xuéxiào hěn yuǎn. huíjiā gèngyuǎn.
It is far to go to school from here. It is further to go home.
Do you see a “更(gèng)“ is used before the adjective? This is the way to express “more…” in chinese.
How about “the most”?
zài wǒmen sān gèzhōng, tā zhù dé zuìyuǎn.
He lives the furthest among our three.
This time do you see the “最(zuì)“ is used before the adjective? You’ve guessed it right, it is used to express the meaning of “the most”.
Now let’s put all comparison levels in one context:
tā de gèzi hěn gāo. tā gēge de gèzi gènggāo. tā bàba de gèzi zuì gāo.
他的个子很高. 他哥哥的个子更高. 他爸爸的个子最高.
He is very tall. His elder brother is taller. His dad is the tallest.
As i mentioned in last lesson, doubling adjective emphasize the feature, but is not intended to be used as comparison between adjectives. Let’s mix them together in the next example:
xiǎo lì náchū le yī gè xiǎoxiǎo de hézi. xiǎo wáng yě náchū le yī gè xiǎo hézi. Mary náchū le yī gè gèng xiǎode hézi. tāmen de hézi zhōng, Mary de hézi zuì xiǎo.
小丽拿出了一个小小的盒子. 小王也拿出了一个小盒子. Mary拿出了一个更小的盒子. 她们的盒子中, Mary的盒子最小.
Xiao Li took out a pretty small box. Xiao wang took out a small one too. Mary took out a even smaller one. Among the three of them, Mary’s box is the smallest.
Everything is clear now?
If not, don’t worry, take your time. You’ll need to practice more to get used to all these usages and patterns.
We’ll meet again soon, my dear friend! Go get some fresh air if you could … see you!
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