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”
Wǒ shì yī shēng, tāyě 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”
Tā 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”
Wǒ méi yǒu tā nà me cōng míng, zài shuō tā 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”
Yīn wèi wǒ méi yǒu qián, wǒ bù néng gēn nǐ qù 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"
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”
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”
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.
- A Learners’ Handbook of Modern Chinese Written Expressions - clear and easy to follow.
- A Guide to Proper Usage of Spoken Chinese - from the same author as above, also very handy.