6 MOST Common Chinese Grammar Mistakes Made by English Learners
In my years of teaching Chinese,
I have noticed that my students
(no matter what language proficiency level they are at)
tend to make the same Chinese grammatical mistakes over and over again.
And the reason why they've been making the same mistakes is because
they can't stop translating sentences from English to Chinese.
They cannot jump out of the English language box.
I know you do the same.
And I know you have noticed this tendency.
I also know it could be very frustrating because you are trying very hard not to do it.
Today my goal is to point out the common mistakes English speakers make,
and hopefully you can jump out of your English language box
through A TON of input (listening and reading).
The solution, again,
is COMPREHENSIBLE INPUT,
that's really the only way to shift your brain into Chinese mode.
可以kě yǐ vs 可能 kě néng
If you tend to mix 可以kě yǐ and 可能 kě néng , it is because English speakers use both “can be" and "could be” to express possibility.
However, 可以kě yǐ only means can, be able to, or have the permission to do something while 可能 kě néng only means maybe, may, could be.
Watch how Chinese celebrities use 可以kě yǐ vs 可能 kě néng in the correct ways https://youtu.be/3MkpB-Dion0
(They speak in a standard Chinese speed,
so be ready to pause and repeat
The earlier you expose yourself in authentic materials,
the faster you will understand native speakers.
So don't give up,
mā ma, wǒ kě yǐ chī bīng qī lín ma?
bù kě yǐ! rú guǒ nǐ jīn tiān qù yùn dòng, míng tiān wǒ kě néng ràng nǐ chī bīng qī lín.
Mom, can I eat ice cream?
No! If you work out today, maybe I will let you eat ice cream tomorrow.
Oops. Typical asian tiger mom.
一点yì diǎn vs 有一点 yǒu yì diǎn
一点yì diǎn，aka 一点儿，一点点。These are the same, except that northerners like to use 儿.
有一点 yǒu yì diǎn， aka有点，有点儿。Same here.
Although 一点yì diǎn and 有一点 yǒu yì diǎn both mean a little bit, Chinese speakers usually use 一点yì diǎn in front of a noun, and use 有一点 yǒu yì diǎn in front of an adj.
wǒ jīn tiān hē le yì diǎn jiǔ,
zhè gè jiǔ kě néng yǒu yì diǎn nóng,
wǒ jué dé hěn yūn.
I drank a little liquor today,
the liquor might be a little bit strong,
I felt very dizzy.
Another tiger mom example:
mā ma, wǒ kě yǐ chī yì diǎn dàn gāo ma?
nǐ yǒu yì diǎn pàng, bié chī le.
Mom, can I eat some cake?
You are a little bit fat, don't eat it.
Watch how Chinese celebrities use 一点yì diǎn vs 有一点 yǒu yì diǎn in the correct ways https://youtu.be/3MkpB-Dion0
还是hái shì vs 或者huò zhě
When Chinese people use 还是hái shì individually in a sentence, it is a question particle "or", it‘s usually used in a “a or b” question.
However, if 还是hái shì is used with other connection words together, the meanings are different. For example "不论a还是b" (bú lùn a hái shì b): no matter a or b， "虽然。。。还是。。。" (suī rán...hái shì...): although…still….
或者huò zhě is usually used in a statement, expressing "or".
Watch how Chinese celebrities use 还是hái shì vs 或者huò zhě in the correct ways https://youtu.be/3MkpB-Dion0
Example from a good husband:
jīn tiān nǐ zuò fàn hái shì wǒ zuò fàn?
wǒ huò zhě nǐ, dōu xíng!
duì bù qǐ, duì bù qǐ, wǒ zuò fàn.
Who's gonna cook today, you or me?
Me or you, either way is OK!
Is that right...
Sorry, sorry, I will cook.
和hé vs 而且ér qiě
Chinese people never, ever, use 和héto connect different sentences.
We only use 和hé to connect a list of items,
zhuō zi shàng yǒu shǒu jī, diàn nǎo, hé qián bāo.
There is a cellphone, a computer and a wallet on the table.
If you want to use “and” as a filler, use 然后rán hòu。
If you want to connect two sentences with “and also”, use 而且ér qiě or 还有hái yǒu。
Watch how Chinese celebrities use 和hé vs 而且ér qiě in the correct ways https://youtu.be/3MkpB-Dion0
是shì vs 很hěn
To connect a noun to its adjective, use 很hěn, not 是shì .
Stop saying sentences like 我是高兴(wǒ shì gāo xìng)!!!
We just don't say "I am happy",
we would say "I very happy"
Let me brainwash you with heaps of example sentences.
jīn tiān tiān qì hěn hǎo.
wǒ hěn kāi xīn.
suǒ yǐ wǒ qù yí gè hěn bàng de fàn diàn chī fàn.
wǒ chī le yí gè hěn dà de jī tuǐ.
xiàn zài wǒ hěn bǎo.
Today's weather is very good.
I'm very happy.
So I went to this awesome restaurant to eat.
I ate a gigantic chicken leg.
Now I'm very full.
如果rú guǒ vs 是否shì fǒu
I know in English, if can be used in both "if...then..." and "if...or not",
and that's why you use 如果rú guǒ all the time in different scenarios.
In Chinese, we have 2 if's.
如果rú guǒ: "if...(then...)"
是否shì fǒu: "whether...or not"
Hate gold diggers?
Here's an example you've probably heard from them before:
wǒ xiáng zhī dào nǐ shì fǒu ài wǒ.
rú guǒ nǐ gěi wǒ mǎi chē, wǒ jiù ài nǐ.
I want to know if you love me.
If you buy a car for me, then I will love you.
More examples with Chinese celebrities using 如果rú guǒ vs 是否shì fǒu
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