Chinese grammar is quite simple: no gender (male / female), no plural, no conjugation: words are invariable. That's why words place is very important and, as we shall see later, follows a logical order. The context is important to know, for example, if one speaks of one or several things.
The simple phrase in Chinese
In Mandarin Chinese, the simple sentence is built on the model SUBJECT + VERB (+ OBJECT).
But first surprise: 好fine, wellis what we call an adjectival verb, that means the adjectivegoodalready carries with it the verbto be. So do not add an auxiliary verb to adjectives in Chinese.
The peculiarity of these adjectival verbs (be well, being tired, being content, etc.) is that in the affirmative, they imply a comparison. Thus:我好Wǒ hǎo, is not a complete sentence. It would mean I'm fine but ...(you're not finefor example to complete the sentence.)
To remove comparison and make a complete sentence, we need to add the adverb 很hěn.
The phraseI'm fineis written: 我很好Wǒ hěn hǎo.
But then, this phrase is translated byI'm fine.orI'm very well? In writing, the difference is impossible to do, so there is ambiguity. By cons, when we speak, if the 很hěn is not accentuated it meansI'm fine.
If 很hěn is accentuated, it meansI'm very well. listen:
In Chinese, there is no conjugation: 我很好。Wǒ hěn hǎo. I'm fine. 你很好。Nǐ hěn hǎo. You are well.. 他很好。Tā hěn hǎo. He is well.
Negative sentence in chinese
To do a negative sentence, we must add the negation 不bù before the verb:
我不好。Wǒ bù hǎo. I'm not well.
CAUTION: 不bù is an adverb and in Mandarin Chinese, the adverbs are always put before the verb.
Since it is not an affirmative sentence, the adjectival verb expresses no comparison. It is therefore not necessary to add the adverb 很hěn.
The interrogative sentence
In Chinese, the yes-no questions (question which can be answered with yes or no and don't give information. ExampleAre you alright?is a yes-no question, butHow are you ?is not), is built in a very simple way:
Sentence + 吗ma ? Example : 你好吗？Nǐ hǎo ma ? Are you alright?
as it is not an affirmative sentence, the adjectival verb (好hǎofine) does not imply a comparison. So we do not need to add 很hěn. If we add it, then it means:Are you very well? 你很好吗？Nǐ hěn hǎo ma ?
questions in Chinese has no reversal. The sentence structure is the same:subject + verb + object.
The interrogative particlene
The interrogative particle 呢ne is used to return a question Example : 你好吗？Nǐ hǎo ma ? Are you alright? 我很好，谢谢，你呢？Wǒ hěn hǎo, xièxie, nǐ ne ? I'm fine, thank you, and you? 我不好。Wǒ bù hǎo. I'm not well.
Warning! The particle 呢ne is not place at the end of a sentence, just after a word, otherwise it takes on another meaning (meaningto be in the process of), but we will see this in more detail in another lesson.