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Lesson 9 How to use adjectives in Chinese (2)

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:

tóu fa  cóng gèng
头发 (hair)
 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)
盒子 (box)
 [mp3j track=”L9-zui.mp3″]  [mp3j track=”L9-na-chu.mp3″]  [mp3j track=”L9-he-zi.mp3″]
gè zi
个子 (human height)
  [mp3j track=”L9-ge-zi.mp3″]

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.

  • You can copy and paste a few characters together into the box. They’ll show in the animation window one by one.
  • Once the stroke animation stops, click in the animation window and hit ENTER to replay it.
  • You can use the sliding bar to control writing speed of the animation.

 

Now let’s get back to our topic again …

Review the comparison example first please:

xiǎode shǒu bǐ dà de shǒu língqiǎo

小的手大的手灵巧.

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.

我的头发你的.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

哥哥弟弟. 弟弟哥哥.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

小丽漂亮.

 

gēge gāo.

哥哥高.

 

dìdi de shǒu xiǎo.

弟弟的手小.

 

wǒ de tóufa cháng.

我的头发长.

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.

从这儿回学校很远. 回家更远.

It is far to go to school from here. It is further to go home.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

在我们三个中, 他住得最远.

He lives the furthest among our three.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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.

Break time!!

We’ll meet again soon, my dear friend! Go get some fresh air if you could … see you!

 

Related posts:

Discover ways to say "It's just right!" in Chinese?
Lesson 29 How to use adjective clause (using a sub sentence as adjective) in Chinese?
Reading, Listening and Speaking practice 11

 

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22 Responses to “Lesson 9 How to use adjectives in Chinese (2)”

  1. nothing

    Joseph Alessandro Mati:

    09-25-2012 7:21 pm

    Your lessons are worth following them step by step ! You ‘ve build a super method.

    I ‘d like to ask you :
    Can we associate 比 and 更 ?
    哥哥 比弟弟 高。
    哥哥 比弟弟 更高。
    And which sentence is better ?

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace:

      09-26-2012 2:31 am

      Joseph,

      -> “Can we associate 比 and 更 ?”
      Yes, you definitely can!

      -> 哥哥 比弟弟 更高。
      This is a good sentence. Compared to “哥哥 比弟弟 高。”, it puts an emphasis on “高” and implies that “much taller than”, not just “taller than”.

      You can say “哥哥 比弟弟 更高。” this way too:
      “哥哥 比弟弟 还高。”

      Hope it helps … very good question, Joseph! :-)

      Grace

      Reply

      • nothing

        Joseph Alessandro Mati:

        09-30-2012 8:34 pm

        Thanks a lot ! 我明白了!

        * By the way, my English is far better than my Chinese
        but I still sometimes make a few mistakes in English :
        combine 更 and 比
        you ‘ve built…

        Reply

        • nothing

          Grace:

          09-30-2012 10:43 pm

          Language learning is a lifetime journey … more important, it’s very very enjoyable and rewarding … :-)

          Reply

  2. nothing

    Ryan:

    12-21-2014 6:27 pm

    Justlearnchinese.com比书的中文更好 translation: (JLC is better than a Chinese book)

    I was wondering if the about is correct?.

    谢谢Grace!

    我决定 more 中文 because of you
    I’m still working on it and learning everyday.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      12-24-2014 5:08 am

      Hi Ryan,

      谢谢你的留言!

      Do you really mean to say :

      Justlearnchinese.com 比中文书更好。

      "书的中文"是什么意思?

      Grace

      Reply

  3. nothing

    Ryan:

    12-29-2014 3:21 pm

    I mean a book that I bough that helps you to learn Chinese. I think that this website is better than that book. Hopefully that clears it up a little.

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      12-30-2014 4:12 pm

      Thanks Ryan, so you mean “我买的中文书"。

      祝你新年快乐!

      Grace

      Reply

  4. nothing

    Ryan:

    01-09-2015 2:15 pm

    would this sentence be correct
    我的盒子小比你的更小 (My box is small, yours is smaller)

    谢谢
    祝你新年快乐!

    Reply

    • nothing

      Ryan:

      01-09-2015 2:27 pm

      I guess I’m experimenting and I came across another situation I wasn’t sure about.
      Mary很高比Carol更矮 (Mary is very tall compared to Carol who is more short)

      Does this one make since?

      Reply

      • nothing

        Grace Feng:

        01-11-2015 3:00 pm

        No, it doesn’t. :-)

        You can express it this way:

        与Carol相比,Mary很高。

        This pattern is used to make a conditional statement. Mary is very tall when compared to Carol. Mary is probably not tall at all in general.

        Does this help, Ryan?

        That’s a very good question by the way. :-)

        Grace

        Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      01-11-2015 3:02 pm

      This is good once you add a comma in between:

      我的盒子小, 比你的更小.

      Same way as your English counterpart.

      Grace

      Reply

      • nothing

        Bruce:

        01-26-2015 1:23 am

        Hi Grace,

        Just wanted to thank you for this blog site. I really love it. I happened to marry a Chinese lady and wanted to learn Chinese so that to be able to communicate with other half of the family. I found your site to be absolutely and incredibly useful.

        You are a lovely person for being a true teacher for many of us who want to learn Chinese language. Thank you so kindly.

        Reply

        • nothing

          Grace Feng:

          01-26-2015 2:13 am

          Thank you for your kind words, Bruce. I happen to be listening to Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” while reading your note. That makes me feel so emotionally happy. :-)

          I enjoy every moment of work I did for this blog simply because I know it will help someone someday in some place of the world that is learning Chinese for some reason. Glad it helped to bring better understanding between you and your in-laws. Hope it can help you improve even more in time.

          I can’t explain how much joy I felt when I was able to read my first novel in English many many years ago. Hope you can feel that joy too.

          Grace

          Reply

          • nothing

            Bruce:

            01-28-2015 2:40 pm

            Hi Grace,

            Would that be too much to ask if you will have some audio for those intermediate “short stories” that you have them in this blog. That would really be a lot of help. I love hearing the way your read the stories, like I am child again and listening to stories! I learn a lot by listening the audio from you!

            Best Regards….

            Reply

            • nothing

              Grace Feng:

              01-28-2015 6:37 pm

              No Bruce, not much to ask at all. :-)

              Actually that had been my plan to make audio clips for all stories under “Short Stories” section for quite a while. One way or another the plan was delayed. It doesn’t take me much time to do recording itself. I love doing it by the way. It’s just that finding a window of time when I could sit down in a quiet room without disturbance is a bit challenging. :-)

              But yes, that’s my goal for Feburary. Stay tuned …

              Reply

              • nothing

                Bruce:

                01-28-2015 7:06 pm

                Thank you so kindly Grace.

                That would be a lot of help to people such as myself who sincerely wish to master this language as soon as possible! Though big ambition!

                You are genuinely a kind sweet lady! I really could not find a word to express how thankful I am by hearing that.

                Reply

                • nothing

                  Grace Feng:

                  01-28-2015 8:58 pm

                  You’re welcome, Bruce.

                  :-)

                  Reply

                • nothing

                  Grace Feng:

                  02-09-2015 8:09 pm

                  Hi Bruce, so you know that audios are made for all posts under “Short Stories”. Let me know if you see anything else is still missing.

                  Grace

                  Reply

  5. nothing

    Chanden:

    01-26-2015 3:52 am

    Dear Grace

    If I Said in English is: my hair is long. My elder brother’s hair is more longer. My elder sister’ hair is the longest.
    I wrote In Chinese is: 我的头发很长。我哥哥的头发更长。我姐姐的头发最长。
    But I translated this sentence in Google translate it is more longer than I wrote, and they added many words.
    Does the sentence I write is correct? Help explain to me. Thank you so much.
    Best regard
    Chanden

    Reply

    • nothing

      Grace Feng:

      01-26-2015 4:10 am

      Hi Chanden,

      Your sentence is just perfect!

      我的头发很长。我哥哥的头发更长。我姐姐的头发最长。

      Trust yourself, you’re much better than Google translate. :-)

      Grace

      Reply

      • nothing

        Chanden:

        01-28-2015 1:34 am

        Dear Grace

        Thank you so much.

        Best Regard
        Chanden

        Reply

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