1. The Use of the Modal Particle 了 for New or Changed Situations The modal particle 了 appears frequently at the end of a sentence to indicate a new or changed situation. The sentence pattern should be: subject + predicate + 了 (1.) When a sentence has an adjectival predicate, the modal particle 了 is used at the end of the sentence to indicate a changed situation. For example: 1.)北京的天气热了。 (以前不热) Beijing's weather is getting hot. (It was not hot before.) 2.)时间不早了。 (刚才还早) It is getting late. (It was still early just now.) 3.)香山的树叶都红了。(以前不红) The leaves in the Fragrant Hill have all turned red. (They were not red before.) 4.)他的女儿漂亮了。 (以前没有那麽漂亮) His daughter is getting pretty. (She was not that pretty before.) (2.) When a sentence has a nominal predicate, the modal particle 了 is used at the end of the sentence to indicate a new situation. For example: 1.)今天七月一号了, 应该交房租了。 Today is already July 1st, (we) should pay the rent. 2.)现在七点半了, 应该吃晚饭了。 It is already 7:30 now, (we) should eat dinner. 3.)他的女儿今年三十岁了, 应该结婚了。 His daughter has turned 30 this year, (she) should get married. 4.)这个小女孩今年七岁了, 应该上小学了。 This little girl has turned 7 this year, (she) should go to elementary school. (3.) When a sentence has a verbal predicate, the modal particle 了 is used at the end of the sentence to indicate either a new or a changed situation. For example: 1.)外边下雪了。 (原来没有下) It has started to snow outside. (It was not snowing just a moment ago.) 2.)我们该走了。 (原来还早，还可以坐坐) We should go (now). (It was early before, and we could sit for a while.) 3.)现在雨停了。 (刚才还在下雨) The rain has stopped now. (It was still raining just a moment ago.) 4.)他喜欢喝龙井茶了。 (原来他不喜欢喝龙井茶) He has started to like drinking Longjing tea. (He didn't like to drink Longjing tea before.) 5.)我会说中文了。 (原来我不会说中文) I can speak Chinese (now). (I couldn't speak Chinese before.) 2. Subjectless Sentences (1.) In Chinese, when describing natural phenomena, especially when describing the weather, people usually use subjectless sentences. The reason why people use subjectless sentences, as can be observed in the following examples , is because when describing natural phenomena, the subject can not be specified into a particular agent. (Note that English supplies the subject "it", which is not done in Chinese.) For examples: 1.)明天会下雪， 你要多穿一点儿衣服。 It will snow tomorrow. You should wear more clothes. 2.)外边刮风了，天很冷。 It started to get windy outside. It was very cold. 3.)昨天下雨，今天出太阳，天气变化真大。 It rained yesterday, and it is sunny today. The weather changes a lot. 4.)今天起大雾了，开车要小心。 It is very foggy today. Be careful when you drive. (2.) Another commonly used type of subjectless sentences is one that indicates existence. This type of sentences begin with 有 or 没有, corresponding to the "there is/are..." or "there is not/are not..." pattern in English. However, this type of subjectless sentences is usually only about people, not about matter or things. The pattern of this type of subjectless sentences is: 有人 + Verb / 有 + Noun (about people) + Verb 没有人 + Verb / 没有 + Noun (about people) + Verb For example: 1.)有人在敲门，可能是学友。 Someone is knocking at the door. Probably it is Xueyou. 2.)有学生给林老师打电话。 Some student called Teacher Lin on the phone. 3.)没有人带雨伞。 还好，雨下得不大。 one brought an umbrella. Fortunately, it is not raining hard. 4.)没有学生看过这部电影。 None of the students has seen this movie. 3. Adjectival Comparisons To compare the degree of an adjective, the degree adverbs 还要(even), 更(more) and 最(most) are used. To express the meaning of something/ somebody is better than something else/somebody else, the pattern "比 + n./pron. + 还要(更) + adj." is used. To express the meaning that something/somebody is the best, the pattern "最 + adj." is used. (1.) 比 + n./pron. + 还要(更) + adj. For example: 1.)北京的夏天比纽约的夏天更热。 The summer in Beijing is hotter that the summer in New York. 2.)北京秋天的红叶比春天里的鲜花还要红。 Red leaves in the fall in Beijing are even redder than flowers in the spring. 3.)美国大学生的暑假比中国大学生的暑假还要长。 The summer break of American college students is even longer than the summer break of Chinese college students. 4.)北京的冬天比上海的冬天更冷。 The winter in Beijing is colder than the winter in Shanghai. (2.) 最 + adj. For example: 1.)秋天是北京最好的季节。 The fall is the best season in Beijing. 2.)中国南方的春天最美。 The spring in the south of China is the most beautiful (season). 3.)林老师是中文系最年轻的老师。 Teacher Lin is the youngest teacher in the Chinese Department. 4.)上海是中国最现代化的城市。 Shanghai is the most modernized city in China. 4. The Structure “越来越...” The structure “越来越...”is used when the speaker would like to express the meaning of "something/somebody (becoming) more and more...". The basic pattern is: something/somebody + 越来越 + adj. For example: 1.)这几年，北京的夏天越来越热。 In recent years, the summer in Beijing hass become hotter and hotter. 2.)小丁的中文口语越来越好。 Xiaoding's Chinese oral speaking is getting better and better. 3.)这几年，来美国的中国留学生越来越多。 In recent years, more and more Chinese students have come to study in the U.S. 5. The Structure“如果...就...” The structure“如果...就...”is a commonly used conditional pattern, meaning "if...then...". 如果 is followed by a conditional clause, and 就 is followed by a result clause. For example: 1.)夏天如果下雨，天气就会凉快很多。 If it rains in the summer, it (the weather) will become much cooler. 2.)如果你十月去北京，你就能看到香山的红叶。 If you go to Beijing in October, you will see the red leaves in the Frangrant Hill. 3.)如果你有语法问题，就给我打电话。 If you have grammar question, (you can) call me. 6. The Structure “既...又...” The structure “既...又...”means "both...and", "as well as". It is used when the speaker would like to talk about two situations that occur concurrently or two things/features that are of the same importance. For example: 1.)今天的北京既是一座古老的城市，又是一座快速发展的现代化城市。 The present Beijing is an ancient city as well as a rapidly developing and modernized city. 2.)林老师既是小丁和学友的老师，又是他们的朋友。 Teacher Lin is Xiaoding and Xueyou's teacher, as well as their friend. 3.)北京大学既是一所有名的大学，又是一个美丽的大花园。 Beijing University is a famous university, as well as a beautiful garden. 4.)这家中国餐馆的菜既好吃，又便宜。 The food in this Chinese restaurant is both good to eat and cheap.