Action Verbs (V)

Action verbs in Chinese are similar to the ones in English. It expresses an action or the occurrence of an event. The word order of this type of sentence is normally the same as in English:


I play basketball.

xǐhuān yīnyuè.
喜欢 音乐。

He likes music.

“不” (no or not) can follow the subject to express the negative meaning of the verb. However, the verb “有”(to have) can only be negated by “没”. So, “I don’t have a car” is always “我 没有 车”, never “我 不有 车”.

Questions can be formed simply by adding the interrogative particle “吗” to the end of the sentence.

S V O 吗?
shuǐ mɑ?

Do you drink water?

yǒu nánpénɡyǒu mɑ?
男朋友 吗?

Do you have a boyfriend?

Questions can also be formed by using the “positive + negative” form of the verb. In this kind of sentence pattern, “吗” is always omitted.

S V Negative form of V O?
chī bùchī fàn?
不吃 饭?

Do you eat meal (or not)?

yào búyào kělè?
不要 可乐?

Do you want cola (or not)?

Verbs in Chinese language do not change their forms according to person, number or tense. E.g. “买” can mean “buy”, “buys” and “bought” as well. This would make Chinese grammar much easier to learn.

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