Imagine if every time you wanted to refer to an object you had to give it's full name...
"Maria's new Aston Martin DB5 is wonderful. The Aston Martin DB5 handles like a dream, and the Aston Martin DB5 can hit 60mph in just 3 seconds. Maria loves the Aston Martin DB5."
See how clumsy and long that is?
Well, that's where pronouns come in.
Resources for further reading:
With pronouns you only need to use the object's actual name once; and subject's not at all! From then on you can use pronouns like I, my, and it instead...
"My new Aston Martin DB5 is wonderful. It handles like a dream, and it can hit 60mph in just 3 seconds. I love it."
Pronouns are words that are used in place of a noun. They can be the subject, the object, or complement. In Chinese, there are different kinds of Chinese pronouns.
Personal pronouns substitute for the noun without repeating it. They can be divided into:
Possessive pronouns, that indicate the possession; they have the same form of the adjective possessive:
那个房子是我的 Nàge fángzi shì wǒde。- The house is mine.
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My / Mine
The house is mine.
Demonstrative pronouns show the position in the space and in the time.
那个房子是我的 Nàge fángzi shì wǒde。 - That house is mine.
Indefinite pronouns, that don't specify the identity of the person or of the object.
有人打过电话 Yǒurén dǎguò diànhuà。- Someone called.
One / Some
There is a
Interrogative pronouns, that introduce questions:
Who is he?
In Chinese there are 10 personal subject pronouns: 5 for the singular, 5 for the plural.
you [guys] (referring to more than one "you")
they (referring to males)
they (referring females)
they (referring to objects)
I am Lin Ping.
Who are you?
He is my friend.
She is pretty.
We are Chinese.
Are you [guys] coming too? (referring to more than one of "you")
They love traveling.
In English, there are direct object pronouns, pronouns that directly receive the action of the verb. They answer the question what, or whom, like “me” “him” or “her”. In Chinese, direct object pronouns are the same words as subject pronouns. That is to say, “I” is “我” in Chinese, and “me” is also “我”. It is also the same case with words like “he/him” and “she/her” and “they/them”.
Lin Ping saw him.
He saw Lin Ping.
Reflexive pronouns are used in connection with reflexive verbs, in which the action reflects itself on the subject. When we want to express meanings like that, we put reflexive pronoun 自己 zìjǐ after the pronouns we have covered today.
itself (referring to an animal)
themselves (referring to males)
themselves (referring females)
themselves (referring to animals)
In Chinese, there are two pronouns to refer to “you”, depending on the situation. If it is a formal occasion, people tend to use formal pronoun 您 nín, 您们 nínmen, whereas on ordinary occasions or in daily communication, their informal equivalents 你 nǐ and 你们 nǐmen are used.
How are you, Miss Lin?
Hello, Miss Lin.
That's it for this lesson.
Here are a few recommended Chinese lessons to try next!
Lin Ping: Rocket Chinese
Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!