My One Friend

Here’s a little trip down grammar lane, trying to get to the bottom of how the English word “one” can be translated so many different ways in Chinese. It might surprise you how the Chinese say: 1. “one of my friends” My first impulse was, of course, a sort of word-for-word translation: yí gè wǒ […]

Tennis Players and Drummers

As I’m sure my English-speaking readers would agree, the agent marker “-er” is tough for Chinese learners. We use it all the time in English (3 times in the previous sentence) but it’s not so readily available in Chinese. Example 1: Tennis Player Imagine I see a girl walking down the street with a tennis […]

A Bit about Bù 不

As promised, here’s a little bit about how you have to be careful where you put your bù (). There are some tricky things that can throw you for a loop if you’re translating English into Chinese (which is what we all do when starting out learning the language). I’m talking grammar (word order) today, […]