Getting started with Chinese 3
Getting started with Chinese 3

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Getting started with Chinese 3

8 Character combination and word formation

Words in Chinese are formed by one or more characters. Below are some combinations of characters to understand how each word is formed.

hăo (very) +  jiŭ (long) +  (no) +  jiàn (to meet; to see) →  hăo jiŭ bú jiàn 好久不见 (long time no see; haven’t seen you for ages)

zěnme 怎么 (how) +  yàng (manner, method) →  zěnme yàng 怎么样 (How are you? How are things?)

yǒu (to have) +  qián (money) →  yǒuqián 有钱 (rich)

yǒu (to have) +  yòng (to use) →  yǒuyòng 有用 (useful)

méi (no, not) +  qián (money) →  méiqián 没钱 (poor)

Activity 12

Below is some new vocabulary made up of words and phrases you have already learnt. Study the meaning of each individual character in each combination. Can you work out the meaning of each new word/phrase? Match each of them with its English equivalent.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. yǒuqiánrén 有钱人

  2. gāodà 高大

  3. fùyǒu 富有

  4. shòuxiǎo 瘦小

  5. méiyòng 没用

  • a.thin and small

  • b.wealthy

  • c.tall and big

  • d.useless

  • e.rich people

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = e
  • 2 = c
  • 3 = b
  • 4 = a
  • 5 = d
LXC003_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371