The Topic of A Sentence

It’s always good to learn Chinese by comparing it with one’s mother tongue. It holds true that English is more of a “Subject” language whereas Chinese is more of a “Topic” language. To simplify the matter, a Subject is the Subject of a Verb, while a topic is the “Subject matter” of a sentence. In order words, the initial noun in English is usually the Subject, whereas the initial word in Chinese can be: a Subject/ Object/ Time Phrase/Place/ Adjective/ Action Verb, etc.


Topic Comment
xīzàng nǐ yǒuméiyǒu qùguò?
西藏 你 有没有 去过?

Have you ever been to Tibet?

jǐnjí de shìqíng yào xiān chǔlǐ.
紧急 的 事情 要 先 处理。

Urgent matters need to be dealt with first.

xīngqītiān, nàjiā zhōngcāntīng bù kāimén.
星期天, 那家 中餐厅 不 开门。

That Chinese restaurant does not open on Sundays.

huǒguō、chòudòufu、ròujiámó tā dōu àichī.
火锅、臭豆腐、肉夹馍 他 都 爱吃。

He loves to eat hot pot, stingy tofu and Rou Jia Mo.

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