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Chinese Grammar: Organizing your Chinese sentence structure

Now that you have the basic sentence structure down pat, it’s time to move on to more complex sentences.

Dealing with more complex sentences

There's a pattern to remember to always know how to organize sentences with more than a few elements. Let's see what this rule is!

Rule: don't go straight to the point

The first thing to know is: the action - i.e., what's important in the sentence - is always placed at the end of the sentence. When mentally organizing your sentence, think of beating around the bush rather than right to the point.

The second thing to know is there’s a set order for everything. Once you’ve learned the rule for placing each element, you’ll be good to go!

Sentence structure

A sentence works like this in general :

Subject + When + Where + How + Action (verb + object)


昨天 学校
He went to school yesterday.

When you break down the sentence, its structure goes like this:

昨天 学校
Subject + When + Action (verb + object)
He yesterday went to school.

Let's look at a few other examples and their structures.

飞机 北京
I took the plane to go to Beijing ( or, in other words, I flew to Beijing.)

飞机 北京
Subject + How + Action (verb + object)
I (sat in a plane) went to Beijing.

下午 老师 一起 学习 汉语
He is studying Chinese at home with his teacher this afternoon.

下午 老师 一起 学习 汉语
Subject + When + Where + How + Action (verb + object)
He this afternoon at home with his teacher is studying Chinese.

Easy, right? Ready to practice?

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