Chinese as Lego blocks

Chinese is a character-based language, the trick of grasping it fast is to think the characters as building blocks of the language. Just like the Lego blocks, when you have enough types and number of blocks, you could literally build anything under the sun.

For example: 

我、不、是、中、国、人

我(wǒ) I/me

不(bù)negative

是(shì)identifier (similar to the be verb in English)

中(zhōng)middle or centre

国(guó)country

人(rén)person or people

Here are some of the sentences we could build using the blocks above:

* The English in the bracket gives direct translation for word to word matching.

1. 我是人。(I’m a human being.)

2. 我不是人。(I’m not a human being.)

Adding in the word 中国(China, the Emperor thought China was the centre of the world Long Long ago..,)

3. 我是中国人。(I’m a Chinese person.)

4. 我不是中国人。(I’m not a Chinese person.)
Adding in some more blocks:

你(nǐ)you

吗(ma)question word for yes or no question

And now we could ask questions such as:

5. 你是人吗?(Are you a human being?)

6. 你是不是人?(Are you a human being or not?)

7. 你不是人吗?(Aren’t you a human being?)

8. 你是中国人吗?(Are you a Chinese person?)

9. 你是不是中国人?(Are you a Chinese person or not?)

10. 你不是中国人吗?(Aren’t you a Chinese person?)

So next time when you read and comprehend a sentence, try to break it into building blocks, things might get much easier 🙂 

Happy building! 

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