Hey there, Yangyang here to help you avoid some common Chinese mistakes!
This is the fourth in a series of posts on the most common mistakes English speakers make when speaking Chinese.
In my years of teaching Chinese, I have come to notice that English speakers tend to make similar mistakes over and over again. Today, I am going to tell you the most common mistake #7.
The goal here is to become aware of these mistakes to help you avoid making them in the first place!
Mistake #8: Forgetting to insert "de (的)" in between adjectives and nouns
In English, you can use the same word "pretty" for both "she's pretty" and "she's a pretty girl" and nothing needs to change for the word "pretty".
But in Chinese, to use an adjective that contains more than one character (syllable) to describe a noun, you have to insert "de (的)" in between the adjective and the noun.
Why? I don't know. Just memorize this rule! :)
tā hěn piào lianɡ。
piào liàng de nǚ hái
This movie is interesting.
zhè ɡe diàn yǐnɡ hěn yǒu yì si。
yǒu yì si de diàn yǐnɡ
有意思的电影 / 有意思的電影
This cat is cute.
zhè zhī māo hěn kě ài。
kě ài de māo
可爱的猫 / 可愛的貓
However, for adjectives that are only one syllable, you don't need to add "de (的)".
nán xué shēnɡ
男学生 / 男學生
热汤 / 熱湯
xiǎo fánɡ zi
I hope these examples were helpful and you will be able to premeditate this type of mistake in the future!
We have a lesson in our Beginner Conversational Course that delves into this topic more deeply, take a look: