How do verb complements work in Chinese?

Many beginners in Chinese learn phrases like: 我听得懂 Wǒ tīng de dǒng I can understand (when listening) Literally: I hear/listen [and the result is] understanding 我听不懂 Wǒ tīng bu dǒng I can’t understand (when listening) Literally: I listen not understand 我看得懂 Wǒ kàn de dǒng I can understand (when reading) Literally: I look/read [and the result is] understanding 我看不懂 Wǒ kàn bu dǒng I can’t understand (when reading) Literally: I look/read not understand In all of these Continue Reading

Difficult Chinese Characters Explained Simply: 把

The character 把 is a real headache for Chinese learners, but you will get very used to when it is/isn't used and how to use it through exposure and practice. It doesn't have an equivalent in English, and when used as a grammar word, it doesn't have it's own meaning, however the original meaning of the character is something like 'grasp' or 'hold' 把 is used really commonly in Mandarin to emphasise the result or action that you are doing to an object, or the influence that it has. Does Continue Reading

Difficult Chinese Characters Explained Simply: 就 and 才 


The two characters 就 and 才 can be very confusing to Chinese learners, and they are used quite often. Let's take a look at how to use them. In the simplest usage, 就 indicates 'earlyness' - meaning is something like 'already?' or 'this early?' and 才 indicates 'lateness' - meaning is something like 'only just now' 你怎么现在就到了? Nǐ zěnme xiànzài jiù lái le? Why have you arrived now? (you're so early, why so early) 你怎么现在才到了? Nǐ zěnme xiànzài cái lái le? Why have you arrived Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – WeChat, the Most Popular App in China

English translation of video content: Chris: And there is one app that we can call a super app. It’s called WeChat. Can you tell us what kind of app WeChat is? Becca: I first came into contact with WeChat in around 2011 or 2012. At that time, WhatsApp was already really popular outside China. But in China, there weren’t so many people using WhatsApp. Later I found a lot of people began to use an app to send short messages. You didn't get charged for sending an SMS, it only used up your Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – Chinese Foods You Have to Try

English translation of video content: Chris: OK. So if you come to China and want to eat out, is there any dishes that you must order, or dishes that you recommend, apart from hot pot, which we’ve talked about already? Becca: I think if you come to Beijing you should definitely try Beijing Roast Duck, and there are also many dishes are adapted to foreigners' tastes, because I have many foreign friends and I often recommend these dishes to them. I know that if many foreign friends order Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – The Best Universities in China

English translation of video content: Chris: So, can you tell us what famous universities there are or what good universities there are in China? Which universities do you think are the good ones? Becca: In the comprehensive university ranking of Chinese universities, Peking University and Tsinghua University rank first and second, they are still in the main positions. And besides these universities there are Fudan University and Tongji University in Shanghai, these two universities are Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – Chinese New Year Traditions

English translation of video content: Chris: So what do the Chinese do to celebrate the new year, what kind of activities are there? Becca: There are a lot of activities. Firstly, the whole country will have a seven day holiday, starting from the first day of the new year. No matter what job you do or which city you work in, everyone enjoys this holiday. People go back home early to prepare to celebrate the festival. Food is closely related to the Spring Festival, so we prepare a lot of Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – What’s it like for Chinese children learning characters?

English translation of video content: Chris: While at school, is it the case that sometimes you know the word but you are not sure how to write it? Like when you are writing an article, you know the word you want to use, but just not how to write it. What would you do then? Becca: Actually it is true even today. We call it “picking up the pen and forgetting the character”, which means you suddenly forget how to write a character, even the most common and simple ones, when you pick up your Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – High Speed Trains in China

English translation of video content: Chris: For example, if we are in Beijing, where can we go by high-speed train? Becca: Actually many places. Chris: Like Shanghai. We can arrive in Shanghai in five hours. Becca: Yes, It takes only five hours to get to Shanghai on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway. If you take the Beijing-Guangzhou railway, you will be in Guangzhou in seven or eight hours. Chris: So from Beijing, you can go to Xi’an, northeastern China, and southern Continue Reading

Chinese Conversation Clips – The Differences Between Beijing and Shanghai

English translation of video content: Chris: What's the difference between Shanghai and Beijing, for example? What are the characteristics of Shanghai? Becca: According to my understanding, the financial industry is probably more developed in Shanghai, compared with Beijing. Shanghai’s commerce is also more developed than Beijing, like investment banks, banks and consulting firms, they may choose Shanghai for their Chinese headquarters. As I said earlier, Beijing is more of a centre of Continue Reading