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Useful Mandarin conjunctions and phrases


A quick way to improve the quality of your writing and speaking is to learn conjunctions and linking phrases that add interest and variety. Using these phrases in exams will often gain you extra marks.

Below is a small sample of useful Mandarin phrases to get you started. If you use flashcards for sentence and grammar practice, add these structures and examples to your deck to improve your fluency.

也 – “also”

医生医生

shì yī shēng, shì yī shēng.

I am a doctor; she is also a doctor.”

Simple but effective. If you’ve got two similar verbal phrases in a row, use 也 to make it a bit more interesting.

而且 – “and what’s more”

会说普通话,而且看得懂古代汉语

huì shuō pǔ tōng huà, ér qiě kàn de dǒng gǔ dài hàn yǔ.

He can speak Mandarin, and what’s more he can read Literary Chinese.”

Another simple one. Add extra, more interesting information to a description with 而且 – “and what’s more”.

再说 – “furthermore”

没有那么聪明,再说学习得比我努力

méi yǒu nà me cōng míng, zài shuō xué xí de bǐ wǒ nǔ lì.

I am not as intelligent as her; furthermore, she studies harder than I do.”

Pretty much essential in developing arguments. Using 再说 makes it easy to give more weight to your point.

因为 … , 所以 … – “because, so”

因为没有不能跟你电影院电影

Yīn wèi méi yǒu qián, bù néng gēn nǐ diàn yǐng yuàn kàn diàn yǐng.

“Because I don’t have any money, I can’t go to the cinema with you to see a film.”

Also essential and very useful.

虽然 … , 但是 … – “although”

虽然我妹妹烦人,但是喜欢

Suī rán wǒ mèi mei hěn fán rén, dàn shì wǒ hái xǐ huan tā.

“Although my little sister is annoying, I‘m still fond of her.”

This structure takes very little time to learn but can be used frequently to great effect.

除了 … 以外 – “apart from”

除了星期三以外,我们每天早上九点上课

Chú le xīng qī sān yǐ wài, wǒ men měi tiān zǎo shàng jiǔ diǎn shàng kè.

“Apart from Wednesdays, we start class at 9am every day.”

Easy to learn, useful to know. To say “apart from [something]” use 除了 [something] 以外.

一方面 … , 另一方面 … – “on one hand, on the other hand”

一方面喝酒很好玩儿,另一方面喝酒对身体不好

Yí fāng miàn hē jiǔ hěn hǎo wánr, lìng yí fāng miàn hē jiǔ duì shēn tǐ bù hǎo.

“On one hand, drinking is very fun; on the other hand, it‘s bad for your health.”

Always handy in forming arguments and including extra material.

Relevant books


  • http://www.sarajaaksola.com Sara

    Thank you! This was really useful and I wrote down to my notebook the ones I didn’t already knew.

  • Winnie

    This is very useful! In my Mandarin class now we frequently have to give short impromptu speeches. These are great for connecting ideas and sounding a little less like a kindergartener. Thanks!

  • http://www.road2china.me China Scholarship

    Thanks, been learning Mandarin a while now but will take this on board :-)

    • http://eastasiastudent.net East Asia Student

      Glad you found it useful.

  • Justin

    他会说普通话,而且看的动古代汉语

    Shouldn’t that be 看得动, the potential complement construction, or am I missing something? I also noticed you referred to 妹妹 as 他…shouldn’t it be 她?

    • http://eastasiastudent.net/about Hugh Grigg

      It should be 看得懂, and the 他 should indeed be 她. Thanks for the pointing those out!

  • Alan

    Handy post- I like these little conjunctions that help to string more complicated ideas together.

    I also like the colouring of different parts of the sentence to indicate correspondance between English and Chinese – I am thinking of trying that with hanzi/pinyin/English subtitles.