Since I started tutoring to help others with their mandarin Chinese, I began to help proofread many many essays. Consequently, over the course of correcting so much, it lead me to find some common mistakes that a Chinese learners would make when writing mandarin Chinese.
Here are some systematical mistakes that I found repeatedly showing time and time again. I’d like to share with you some of the corrections that you may notice and should adopt to your own learning of mandarin Chinese.
It is really exhausting when I read a sentence having 30 or more characters without a single comma. This exhaustion on my eyes is perhaps also because, unlike English, there is no spacing between words in Chinese. So please, be merciful to the reader, and use as many commas as possible (or necessary). For example:
We use “and” a lot in English. Some beginners believe “and” means 和, so they will always use 和 when they want to talk about “and”. However, the usage of 和 is far more limited than “and”. We only say 和 when linking nouns or pronouns. Such as:
In other cases, we just drop the “and” when we translate an English sentence into Chinese because it is the default relationship between two clauses. For instance:
Even if you meant to emphasize the word “and” (like you would in English), this has nothing to do with the Chinese word “和”. Instead you can use these words:
So now you notice that the English word “and” have quite a few counterparts in Chinese.
The most common redundant words I encountered are subject words.
People say that the Chinese language doesn’t put that much of an emphasis on structure. I believe the main reason is we tend to omit conjunctions in our sentences quite a lot.
If I only can give you one rule about Chinese grammar, this is the one: say the modifier first. In Chinese, we like to put the key word in the end of the sentence. For instance:
Language is like our lives, it is not meant to be designed but more to be evolved. There are exceptions to the rule in grammar. So we need to focus on the systematic mistakes that we make. I hope you all can enjoy learning all the time.