Chinese learning resources

Common Chinese Verbs

Posted by Julia Song on September 19, 2016

common Chinese verbs

The verb is the core of syntactic structure and semantic structure in a sentence. In Chinese language, there are many different kind of verbs that play important roles in construct semantic structure. Here are some common Chinese verbs, which classified in the line of semantic features.

Verbs can be classified from different perspective. According semantic features, verbs can be divided into: Action verbs; Existential Verbs; Relations verb; Modal verbs; Tendency Verbs; Psych Verbs; Imperative verbs. Today we will introduce Action verbs, Tendency Verbs and common verbs "是" and "有".


Action verbs are used to describe the actions. And it often follows the object of the action. These are some commonly used action verbs: 跑(run)、看(to look)、听(to listen)、说(to speak)、写(to write)、走(to walk)、吃(to eat)、喝(to drink)、买(to buy).


Tendency verb can be used alone as predicate, such as 月亮下去了,太阳还没起来" the moon goes down , the sun has not come out ." They often be placed behind other verb or adjective as a trend complement to show trends. Such as"拿<出> 一本书"、"拿<出来>一本书"、"拿<出>一本书<来>"。 "Take < a > a book " , "Take < out > a book " , "Take < a > book < to > ."

COMMONLY VERBS "是" and "有"

The verb "是". When "是" used in front of the noun, it is a verb. This "是" is often the subject of " what is equal to " or "belongs to what." For example, "他是我老师 "he is my teacher, "这是汉语书"this is Chinese book, "他是司机 "he is driver, "是他帮我的" it is he who help me. Moreover, "今年是2016年" and the "是" is still a verb as a predicate. When "是" is used in front of verbs, adjectives, it affirmed"indeed," "really", which can be regard as modal adverb. Such as "我〔是〕懂了 I understand [definitely]", "他〔是〕勇敢 [ he was ] brave " , "这样做〔是〕好 this [ is ] good."

The verb "有". "有" can be used as a verb only, can not used as an adverb. For example: 请问,这里有卖钢笔吗?( Wrong ); 请问,这里有钢笔卖吗? (correct). 李明有在吗?( Wrong ) 李光在吗?/李光在不在?(Correct). 李老师有教过你吗?( Wrong ). 李老师教过你吗?(Correct)

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Julia Song

Julia Song is a Chinese learning teacher at Hanbridge Mandarin. Julia Song excels at linguistic pedagogy and one-on-one instruction with 8 years teaching experience and her cheerful attitude and close attention to her students' progress make her an excellent Mandarin teacher for students of all levels.

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