Chinese Adjectives

You may remember way back in school, your teacher will have told you that an adjective is a describing word. Well, just like in English, a Chinese adjective is added to a noun to give it a quality or to define it in a better way.

You could say that adjectives are all about making the noun better.

Whether it's in English, Chinese, or any other languages, a world without adjectives would be a very dull and boring world indeed. There would be no fast cars, they'd just be cars. No sunny days, they'd just be days...

So, let's celebrate the power of the descriptive word, and find out all about Chinese adjectives.

Pronouncing Chinese adjectives

According to the noun it's linked to, adjectives can have:

An attributive function, when it is linked directly to a noun.

我喜欢蓝色的天空。

Wǒ xǐhuān lánsè de tiānkōng。

I like blue sky.

A predicative function, when it is linked to the noun through the verb 是 shì (to be).

天空是蓝色的。

Tiānkōng shì lánsè de。

The sky is blue.

我需要一条新的围巾和一件新的外套。

Wǒ xūyào yìtiáo (yītiáo) xīnde wéijīn hé yíjiàn (yījiàn) xīnde wàitào。

I need a new scarf and a new jacket.

这两部电影都很好看。

Zhèliǎngbù diànyǐng dōu hěn hǎokàn。

Both of these two movies are enjoyable.

More Examples of Chinese Adjectives

一辆红色的汽车

yíliàng (yīliàng) hóngsè de qìchē

a red car

一个友好的人

yíge (yīge) yǒuhǎo de rén

a friendly person

好吃的饭

hǎochī de fàn

yummy food (literal: nice-to-eat rice)

动人的时刻

dòngrén de shíkè

a touching moment

粉色的墙

fěnsè de qiáng

pink wall

很大的房子

hěndà de fángzi

a very big house

一本有趣的书

yīběn yǒuqù de shū

an interesting book

一个很难回答的问题

yíge (yīge) hěnnán huídá de wèntí

a question that is difficult to answer

The Position of Chinese Adjectives

The adjectives that are used to describe nouns in Chinese are always put IN FRONT OF the noun they describe, no matter how long or short the adjective description is.

那儿有一个很大的湖。

Nà’er yǒu yíge (yīge) hěndà de hú。

Over there is a big lake.

那就是我照这张照片的那个湖。

Nà jiùshì wǒ zhào zhèzhāng zhàopiān de nàge hú。

That was the lake where I took this picture.

汉语是一种很有意思的语言。

Hànyǔ shì yīzhǒng hěn yǒuyìsi de yǔyán。

Chinese is an interesting language.

汉语是世界上说的人最多的一种语言。

Hànyǔ shì shìjiè shàng shuōde rén zuìduō de yìzhǒng (yīzhǒng) yǔyán。

Chinese is a language that is spoken by the most number of people in the world.

Adjectives and Adverbs

这是一架很快的飞机。

Zhè shì yíjià (yījià) hěnkuài de fēijī。

This is a fast airplane.

那架飞机很快地飞过去了。

Nàjià fēijī hěnkuài de fēi guòqù le。

The plane flew past very fast.

那是一个很慢的过程。

Nà shì yíge (yīge) hěnmàn de guòchéng。

That was a slow process.

乌龟正在慢慢地游来游去。

Wūguī zhèngzài mànmàn de yóuláiyóuqù。

The turtle is swimming around very slowly.

他是一个很努力工作的职员。

Tā shì yíge (yīge) hěn nǔlì gōngzuò de zhíyuán。

He is a hard-working clerk.

他努力地工作。

Tā nǔlì de gōngzuò。

He works hard.

Chinese adjectives summary

  • Adjectives in Chinese are connected to the nouns with 的 de.
  • The adjectives can have an attributive or predicative function.
  • Adjectives are always put in front of the nouns they modify, no matter how long the adjective expressions are.
  • Adverbs in Chinese use the same words as adjectives, but are connected to the verbs with 地 de.

That's it for this lesson!

Here are a few recommended Chinese lessons to try next!

Huí tóu jiàn! (回头见)

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Lin Ping
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