August 7, 2017

In English,  we say

What do you think?

What is the taste ?

In mandarin,  we will say

How do you think?

How is the taste?

Here is a mistake of a student.

He wrote : What is the taste of the dish”Zhè gè cài chīqǐlái shénme 这个菜吃起来什么? ”

In mandarin, we should say: How is the taste of the dish”Zhè gè cài chīqǐlái zěnmeyàng 这个菜吃起来怎么样?”

July 7, 2017

In English, its common to say:

He was helpful.

In mandarin, we need to explain what he did was helpful.  For example:

If he gave you helpful suggestion, we would say “His suggestion was helpful”

If information he found online solved your problem, and you cannot simply say "he is helpful." we have to say“The information he found online  was helpful.”… etc.


July 7, 2017

In English,  it’s quite common to say “It worked well.”.

In mandarin, There are many situations for “It worked well.”

For example:

1. It worked well without any disturbing. In mandarin, we should say : It worked smoothly.

2. It worked well and archived your goal. In mandarin, we should say: It worked successfully.

3. When you thought it was broken, but actually it worked well with the...

July 7, 2017

In Chinese. “哪里” (nǎlǐ) means “Where”
If someone gives you a compliment,  you can answer “哪里哪里” (nǎlǐ nǎlǐ), to show your modest. The meaning is close to "It's nice of you to say that, but..."
Here is a Chinese joke picture with “哪里哪里” (nǎlǐ nǎlǐ) .

July 5, 2017

问 (wèn) means “to ask”
吻 (wěn) means “to kiss”
It’s easy to mix up the two words for beginner students. There is only tone different. 
I draw a picture that was a real situation that one of my students experienced. Really funny.

July 5, 2017

One day, I invited students to have a lunch in my apartment. A student was asking me for a knife in the kitchen:

请给我一刀!Qǐng gěi wǒ yì dāo! 

I was laughing out loudly. Because the Chinese meaning of the sentence is ‘Stab me please! ’ He forgot to add Measure Word "bǎ 把". The correct sentence suppose to be:

请给我一把刀!Qǐng gěi wǒ yì dāo ! 

July 4, 2017

In English, when we talk about  a noun, we say:

the person

the colleague

the place

In mandarin, we cannot just to say "the", we have to make it more specific, need to use "this" or "that" instead of "the". It's depends on where the noun is. For example:

If a person or a place just in front of you, you say "this person" or "this place".

If the person or a place is far from where yo...

July 3, 2017

In English, it’s common to say: Subject + is/am/are + Adjective

I am good.

He is fine.

You are tired.

In mandarin, we have to say : Subject + hěn + Adjective

I very good . Wǒ hěn hǎo. 我很好.

He very fine. Tā hěn hǎo. 他很好. 

Or : You very tired “Nǐ hěn lèi. 你很累.

I know you might feel that it’s strange and exaggerate to use  “Very (hěn很)” in those situations. But in m...

July 2, 2017

In English, it’s normal to say ‘Do you have any ……?’ For example:

Do you have any question?

Do you have any idea?

Does your restaurant have any special dish?

In Mandarin, we will use a different way to say it: ‘You have what ….?’ For example:

You have what question?

You have what idea?

Your restaurant has what special dish?

Here is a mistake of a student:

He wrote: Do you h...

July 1, 2017

In English, we use the English structure"Do an action by using ..." For example:

I eat it with hands.

We go there by bus.

You pay it with a credit card.

In Mandarin, we will use the mandarin structure"Use .... to do an action". The correct mandarin way to say the example sentences:

I use hands to eat (it).

We take bus to go there.

You use credit card to pay (it).

Here is a mis...

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