Have you heard of this expression?
你吃先，我不饿。(Literally: You eat first. I’m not hungry.)
Do you think this Chinese sentence is grammatical?
The fact is, it isn’t.
Here’s the correct way of expressing it:
你先吃，我不饿。(Please go ahead. I’m not hungry.)
In our daily lives, most of us go for ‘functionality’ and do not pay much attention to grammar when we speak. We tend to overlook the accuracy of our expressions as long as we can understand the meaning.
The problem is, how we speak translates to how we write.
That’s why many students write ungrammatical sentences or 病句 in their compositions and open-ended comprehension questions. In fact, they tend to construct Chinese sentences by literally translating them from the English language, following the English sentence structures and ways of expression.
So, what’s the big deal?
Imagine saying this:
妹妹的其中一只右脚受伤了。(My sister has injured one of her legs.)
And inviting this comment:
请问你妹妹是蜈蚣吗？ (Is she a centipede?)
(Adapted from a popular internet joke)
It’s not exactly what you hope for, right?
Ungrammatical sentences can be awkward to read, cause confusion in the reader, change the meaning of the message and make a laughing stock of you. Moreover, they adversely affect the quality of your writing in open-ended Chinese comprehension answers and Chinese compositions.
To express your ideas and opinions completely, fluently and clearly, you need to observe Chinese grammar rules.
What should you do if you want to write grammatically sound sentences?
You need to recognise the different types of ungrammatical sentences!
In a rush? Download this article in English and Chinese + more practices on ungrammatical sentences all collated in a pdf!