Two Important Verbs in Chinese (to be located at, there is/are)
Now that you know the basic personal pronouns (so that you can have subjects for your sentences), it’s time to move on to some of the most important verbs.
The reason these two “favorites” are introduced first is that they are very useful verbs, but also they are verbs that are very different from English grammar (so it’s important when learning Chinese).
The reason this verb is so different from English is that it often means is/are + a preposition and takes over most of our prepositions! For example, the following phrases can easily be changed to use “zài” plus a short added phrase:
- is at the store
- is on the table
- are in the drawer
- are behind the dresser
But, this verb can also be used as a helping verb to show that some action is taking place right now. For example, if you want to say any of the following phrases, you can simply use “zài” plus the main verb that will be used.
- is going to
- is reading
- are working
- are talking/discussing
The other important verb translates in English essentially to “there is, there are, or has/have.” So, if you want to say that there are some books on the table, you actually have to say on the table, “yŏu” some books.
If you want to say that “there are some people over there,” you have to say “there has some people.” If you want to say “there are some baskets here,” you have to say “here has some baskets.” It makes it a bit interesting when you are trying to translate Chinese on the spot, but once you get the hand of it, it begins to come pretty naturally.