Chinese Articles

If you're trying to learn Chinese Articles you will find that there is no articles used in Chinese. The definite and indefinite articles don't exist in the way we know it in English. But you should still look at the examples below, because they show how Chinese deals with the absences of articles. Also don't forget to check the rest of our other lessons listed on Learn Chinese. Enjoy the rest of the lesson!


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Chinese Articles

In English articles are words that combine with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Generally articles specify the grammatical definiteness of the noun. Examples are "the, a, and an". However that doesn't exist in Chinese.

Chinese articles are words that combine with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Generally articles specify the grammatical definiteness of the noun. Examples are "the, a, and an".

There are no real articles in Chinese, there is 这 zhè, but that actually means this. As in 这本书zhè běn shū meaning this book. 本 běn is the measureword of 书 shū book. In English you cannot say: sugar, you have to say a lump of sugar, lump being the measure word, also a grain of salt, grain being the measure word. But there are only a few nouns in the English language which need such a quantity word. In Chinese each noun needs a measure word. Using the right measure word shows that you master the Chinese language, since finding the right measure word is quite some task. Chinese them selfs don’t alwaus know the right measure word and they use the general quantity word 个 gè. The indefinite article can be translated as一些yī xiē but means some, some number of. Here are some examples:

English ArticlesChinese Articles
articlesguān cí  - 冠词
thezhè,nà;nèi  - 这,那
ayī  -
oneyī  -
someyī xiē  - 一些
fewshǎo shù  - 少数
the bookzhè běn shū  - 这本书
the bookszhè xiē shū  - 这些书
a bookyī běn shū  - 一本书
one bookyī běn shū  - 一本书
some booksyī xiē shū  - 一些书
few bookshěn shǎo de jǐ;jī běn shū  - 很少的几本书

As you can see from the example above, the structure of no articles in Chinese takes a logical pattern.

Grammar Tips:

Definite Article:

Unlike English, which has only one definite article “the", Mandarin  does not have this word at all.  You can say ‘this’ or ‘that’, ‘these’ or ‘those’, but not ‘the’.  

 

Indefinite Article:

While we have (a / an / some) in English as indefinite articles,  these words do not exist in Mandarin.  To say ‘a book’ in Mandarin Chinese, you say ‘one book’.


List of Vocabulary in Chinese

Below is a list of vocabulary which should help you with your knowledge of Chinese. Try to practice but also memorizing this table will help you add very useful and important words to your Chinese vocabulary.

English VocabularyChinese Vocabulary
Foodshí pǐn  - 食品
almondsxìng rén  - 杏仁
breadmiàn bāo  - 面包
breakfastzǎo cān  - 早餐
butterhuáng yóu  - 黄油
candytáng guǒ  - 糖果
cheesenǎi lào  - 奶酪
chickenjī ròu  - 鸡肉
cuminzī rán  - 孜然
desserttián diǎn  - 甜点
dinnerwǎn cān  - 晚餐
fishyú ròu  - 鱼肉
fruitshuǐ guǒ  - 水果
ice creambīng qí lín  - 冰淇淋
lambgāo  yáng ròu  - 羔羊肉
lemonníng méng  - 柠檬
lunchwǔ cān  - 午餐
mealcān  -
meatròu  -
ovenkǎo xiāng  - 烤箱
pepperhú jiāo  - 胡椒
plantszhí wù  - 植物
porkzhū ròu  - 猪肉
saladshā lā  - 沙拉
saltyán  -
sandwichsān míng zhì  - 三明治
sausagexiāng cháng  - 香肠
souptāng  -
sugartáng  -
supperwǎn fàn  - 晚饭
turkeyhuǒ jī  - 火鸡
applepíng guǒ  - 苹果
bananaxiāng jiāo  - 香蕉
orangesjú zi  - 桔子
peachestáo  -
peanuthuā shēng  - 花生
pearslí  -
pineapplebō luó  - 菠萝
grapespú tao  - 葡萄
strawberriescǎo méi  - 草莓
vegetablesshū cài  - 蔬菜
carrothú luó bo  - 胡萝卜
cornyù mǐ  - 玉米
cucumberhuáng guā  - 黄瓜
garlicdà suàn  - 大蒜
lettucewō jù  - 莴苣
olivesgǎn lǎn  - 橄榄
onionsyáng cōng  - 洋葱
pepperslà jiāo  - 辣椒
potatoestǔ dòu  - 土豆
pumpkinnán guā  - 南瓜
beansdòu lèi  - 豆类
tomatoesfān qié  - 蕃茄

Definite and Indefinite Articles are not used in Chinese, but you still need to know how to create sentences without them. Once you're done with this lesson, you might want to check the rest of our Chinese lessons here: Learn Chinese. Don't forget to bookmark this page.


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