Created on August 21, 2023
More creations to inspire you
Chinese Modal Particles
To indicate possession (noun + 的). First and foremost, 的 can be placed after personal pronouns to turn them into possessive pronouns. It also demonstrates possession in general, such as a noun belonging to another noun.
我的妈妈比我的爸爸高。(wǒ de māma bǐ wǒ de bàba gāo.) — My mom is taller than my dad.
To describe nouns (adjective + 的 + noun). 的 is also used to connect adjectives to nouns, where 的 would be placed in between the descriptive word and the noun.
她有最可爱的猫。(tā yǒu zuì kě’ài de māo.) — She has the cutest cats.
To create a verbal phrase (verb + 的 + noun). If you want to use a verbal phrase, or use an -ing verb as an adjective for a noun, then you would place 的 in between the verb and noun. A verbal phrase would be something like “talking dog,” which in Chinese would be 说话的狗 (shuōhuà de gǒu).
电影里有只会说话的狗。(diànyǐng lǐ yǒu zhī huì shuōhuà de gǒu.) — The movie has a talking dog.
To add certainty to a statement (statement + 的). Here’s where 的 works as a modal particle. If you want to show confidence in what you say, you can add 的 at the end of your statement.
是真的, 我看到了。(shì zhēn de, wǒ kàn dàole.) — It’s true, I saw it
To make a suggestion (command + 吧). The first function of 吧 is to lighten the tone of a command by turning it into a suggestion or alternative solution. You can think of 吧 as “then”
那我们去别的地方吃饭吧。(nà wǒmen qù bié de dìfang chīfàn ba.) — Let’s eat somewhere else then.
To respond by expressing “all right” or “fine then” (statement + 吧). When you want to respond by conceding (answer with “all right then” to a yes or no question), you can answer with a statement + 吧.
A: 我们可以早点离开聚会吗？(wǒmen kěyǐ zǎodiǎn líkāi jùhuì ma?) — Can we leave the party early? B: 好吧，我们九点钟离开。(hǎo ba, wǒmen jiǔ diǎn zhōng líkāi.) — All right, we’ll leave at nine o’clock.
To be more polite (statement + 吧). If you want to kindly tell someone to do something, feel free to add 吧 to the end of the statement or command. 吧 can translate to “please” in this case.
快点吧，我不想迟到。(kuài diǎn ba, wǒ bùxiǎng chídào.) — (Please) Hurry up. I don’t want to be late.
Use 了 to describe a sudden change in the weather.
看，下雪了！(kàn, xià xuěle!.) — Look, it’s snowing!
To differentiate between a past and current state (adjective + 了). If you want to point out a change in a noun’s mental, emotional or physical state, the adjective in the sentence should be followed by 了. Basically, 了 implies that a noun is or feels different from before.
我需要休息，我累死了。(wǒ xūyào xiūxi, wǒ lèi sǐle.) — I need to rest. I’m exhausted.
To differentiate between a past and current situation (verb + 了). If you want to indicate that something that is true now wasn’t true before, you can attach 了 to the end of the verb that is relevant to the current situation. If it makes it easier for you, think of this construction as a “used to… but now” sentence in English, where 了 would roughly translate as “but now.”
老公以前讨厌慢跑，现在喜欢了。(lǎogōng yǐqián tǎoyàn mànpǎo, xiànzài xǐhuānle.) — My husband used to hate jogging, but now he likes it.