Getting started with Chinese 2
Getting started with Chinese 2

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Getting started with Chinese 2

2 I am going to London tomorrow

In Week 1, you learned that time expressions must be placed before the verb in Chinese. Box 1 looks at how to use this rule when speaking about the future.

Box 1 Expressing the immediate future.

As you may have learned already, Chinese verbs do not change their form, so tense is conveyed instead by the context, usually a time expression. The future tense (especially the immediate future) in Chinese is usually expressed by time expressions such as ‘this evening’, ‘tomorrow’, etc.

Wǒ míngtiān xiàwǔ qù Lúndūn. 我明天下午去伦敦。

lit. I tomorrow afternoon go London. (I’m going to go to London tomorrow afternoon.)

Nǐ jīntiān wǎnshang zuò shénme? 你今天晚上做什么?

lit. you this evening do what? (What are you doing this evening?)

The following list includes time expressions which indicate the future, as well other vocabulary which will help you to form sentences about what you are planning to do. You may already recognise some. Write them down in your notebook and practise saying them aloud.

  • míngtiān 明天 (tomorrow).

  • míngtiān wǎnshang 明天晚上 (tomorrow evening).

  • míng wǎn 明晚 (tomorrow evening).

  • míngtiān shàngwǔ 明天上午 (tomorrow morning).

  • míngtiān xiàwǔ 明天下午 (tomorrow afternoon).

  • shénme 什么 (what).

  • (to go).

  • nǎr 哪儿 (where).

  • Běijīng 北京 (Beijing).

  • Lúndūn 伦敦 (London).

Activity 2

Choose the correct Chinese translations for the English sentences. Tick all that apply.

I am going to learn Chinese tomorrow morning.


Míngtiān shàngwǔ wǒ xué zhōngwén. 明天上午我学中文.


Wǒ míngtiān shàngwǔ xué zhōngwén. 我明天上午学中文.


Wǒ xué zhōngwén míngtiān shàngwǔ. 我学中文明天上午.


Míngtiān wǒ shàngwǔ xué zhōngwén. 明天我上午学中文.

The correct answers are a, b and d.


You learned in Week 1 that time expressions must be placed before the verb. In the above sentences, you can see that time expressions can be before or after the subject (e.g. ).

Time expressions can also be split up as in Míngtiān wǒ shàngwǔ xué zhōngwén. 明天我上午学中文. Míngtiān 明天 goes before , shàngwǔ 上午 goes after .

Which of the following sentences are correct to mean “She is going to London tomorrow afternoon”? Select all that apply.


Tā míngtiān xiàwǔ qù Lúndūn. 她明天下午去伦敦.


Tā míngtiān xiàwǔ qù Lúndūn. 他明天下午去伦敦.


Tā qù Lúndūn míngtiān xiàwǔ. 她去伦敦明天下午.


Míngtiān xiàwǔ tā qù Lúndūn. 明天下午她去伦敦.


Míngtiān tā xiàwǔ qù Lúndūn. 明天她下午去伦敦.

The correct answers are a, d and e.


Please note the difference between --he and --she.

From the above sentences, we can conclude: time expressions such as, ‘tomorrow evening, ‘tomorrow’ etc. in Chinese can be placed:


before the subject, (e.g., ‘she’).


after the subject.


If the time expression has two parts such ‘tomorrow’ and ‘afternoon’, the time expression can be split up, i.e., ‘tomorrow ’ goes before the subject, and ‘afternoon’ goes after the subject.


at the end of a sentence as in English.

The correct answers are a, b and c.


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