Practising Chinese With Some Essential Grammar Points

I made another video last week of me practising Mandarin, trying to throw in some grammar points and sentence patterns where I could. Feel this one is a big improvement from the first.

I went off travelling to Yunnan the following day (see my instagram for photos!) so I didn't get a chance to put it on the blog and write about it how I wanted.

Here it is then!​

Video Transcript (characters, pinyin and English)

​Below is the transcript and translation of what I said in the video, the process of transcribing what I said actually seems quite beneficial, so although time consuming, it's worthwhile.

I have put in bold things that​ I think are important, either grammar or structure wise. After the transcript I've discussed these a bit. I'm sure I've made some mistakes so if you spot anything let me know.

大家好,我希望你们都很好。

dà jiā hǎo, wǒ xī wàng nǐ men dōu hěn hǎo.

Hello everyone, I hope you are all well.

今天的视频(是)关于我的海南生活。

jīn tiān de shì pín (shì) guān yú wǒ de hǎi nán sheng huó.

Today's video is about my Hainan life.

海南太热了,我觉得英国的天气海南的好

hǎi nán tài rè le, wǒ jué dé yīng guó de tiān qì hǎi nán de hǎo

Hainan is too hot, I think England's weather is better than Hainan's

因为我受不了天气总是热。

yīn wèi wǒ shòu bù liǎo tiān qì zǒng shì rè.

because I cannot stand always hot weather

不过我小的时候我喜欢去西班牙度假,

bú guò wǒ xiǎo de shí hòu wǒ xǐ huān qù xī bān yá dù jià,

but when I was a child I liked to go on vacation to Spain,

在那里我喜欢去海边玩。

zài nà lǐ wǒ xǐ huān qù hǎi biān wán

there I liked to play at the beach/seaside.

虽然海南有很多海边,但是我不常去。

suī rán hǎi nán yǒu hěn duō hǎi biān, dàn shì wǒ bù cháng qù.

Although Hainan has many beaches, (but) I do not often go.

对我来说中国菜真好吃,

duì wǒ lái shuō zhōng guó cài zhēn hào chī

For me, Chinese food is really delicious,

不过有一点腻。

bù guò yǒu yī diǎn nì.

but a little oily.

我最喜欢的味道是辣的,

wǒ zuì xǐ huān de wèi dào shì là de,

My favourite flavour is spicy

所以我去重庆的时候吃了很多辣的菜。

suǒ yǐ wǒ qù chóng qìng de shí hòu chī le hěn duō là de cài.

So when I went to Chongqing I ate lots of spicy dishes.

我还没习惯海南的交通,

wǒ hái méi xí guàn hǎi nán de jiāo tōng,

I am still not used to Hainan's traffic,

所以我一过马路,就小心极了。

suǒ wǒ yī guò mǎ lù, jiù xiǎo xīn jí le

so if I cross the road, then I am extremely careful.

Explanation of Chinese Grammar and Sentence Patterns

There are some good books and websites on grammar that can do a much better job at explaining things than I can, however if you are like me and have forgotten what all the grammatical terms mean in English, then hopefully my basic explanations can help in some way.

​Using 比 for comparisons


Using 比 is fairly simple, though at my current level, when I hear it used in the middle of a long sentence it can be quite difficult to work out the meaning.

The best way to explain how to use it is the following:

Subject A + 比 + Subject B + Adjective

So in essence you're saying "A is more *something* than B"

For example: 我比我姐姐高 - I am taller than my sister.

If you watched my first video you would of heard me use this example, but adding 多了 at the end of the sentence, which by doing so expresses "I am much taller than my sister.

​Note: You cannot add 很 BEFORE the adjective, I remember making this mistake quite often back when I first learned to use 比 

You could also add 更 (gèng) before the adjective to imply that both subjects are the adjective being used, but subject B is even more so.

Expanding on the above example: 我比我姐姐更高 - I am even taller than my sister (my sister is tall too)、

See Chinese Grammar Wiki for a more thorough explanation and more examples

​Using 的时候 to express "when"


I find myself using this more and more often, which isn't surprising as in English we often recall the past by saying "when I was....".

This little add-on after you've gotten used to putting it after the event or time (from video example: 我去重庆的时候 - When I went to Chongqing), it doesn't get much more complicated than that.

This video does a good job of explaining it, and talks about using 的时候 with tenses.

的时候 on Chinese Grammar Wiki

Although...however/but... with 虽然...但是...


Although...but...

​I prefer to swap the 'but' for 'however' when translating this, as in English it sounds a bit more natural, but in truth we would usually just remove the but/however altogether.

虽然海南有很多海边,但是我不常去. - ​Although Hainan has many beaches, (but) I do not often go.

Fairly straight forward, but remembering to put that 但是 (or 可是) in does take some time to get down. I definitely need to be using this more in conversation to fully internalise it.

"Although" with 虽然 and 但是 at Chinese Grammar Wiki​

Opinion with 对...来说


Using 对我来说 is a good way to say "in my opinion", "for me" or “I think...", so it's pretty similar to saying 我觉得...

This is one where I'm still working to completely get my head around the logic behind it, but I can summon it when I'm speaking Chinese quite quickly so I guess that's what counts in the end.

​You can also swap 我 for other people, such as 他, 你们, 同学们 etc.

​The Grammar Wiki gives more examples and also looks at other use of 对

Cause and Effect using 一...就... 


This is quite a tricky one as 就 is a character I'm pretty perplexed by, hear it used in so many different situations with different meanings that I'm always blocking it out when I hear it so I can focus on the rest of the sentence.

However the Chinese sentence pattern of 一...就... is a fairly easy concept to grasp.

I think of it as:  一 + something happens + 就 + something else happens (as a result of the first event). You could also think of it as "Once...then..."

I actually talked about this sentence pattern in my first ever progress update post, using the example:

我一喝啤酒就头疼,脸红 - Once I drink beer, I then get a headache and blush 

More information on this structure

So that's it for my second video, please let me know if you spot any mistakes or have any questions.

Future Videos

I have some great ideas lined up as I've found a keen native speaker who wants to get involved in making some videos with me, just waiting on an iPhone microphone to arrive as my 二手 bargain was of course too good to be true *shakes fist*

Until next time!


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