Me myself and I…Pronouns 代词

OK, words like ‘me, yours, their, ourselves, we, them’….really simple words and we all know how to use them because it’s just common sense right? We don’t need to know where these words sit in a system of grammar right?

But often as a teacher I see older beginner learners of Chinese getting confused, not with their Chinese, but with their English! They might see ‘他’ in a sentence, and shout out random guesses of  ‘he, his, him, himself’… or see 我们 and again wonder if it means ‘we, us, our, ours, ourselves’, with a very confused look on which word to pick!

All of these small simple words we take for ‘common sense’ in our first language are called ‘Pronouns’.  I personally am not a teacher who thinks grammar is important to ‘teach’.  I find it all falls into place as we explore a new language.  BUT, sometimes, just being able to visualise how our first language grammar works, can really help us when we are at those first stages of learning a second language. Instead of randomly guessing which pronoun we are looking for when translating from Chinese to English, a simple map or table might make comparing the two languages together make that ‘common sense’ we are looking for in our new language.

Below is a mind map I made to help you visualize these ‘pronouns’.  Don’t worry about the terms, they can give you grammar anxiety 🙂 Just see how those everyday little simple words are organized.


Now here are the groups in table form.  Use these tables in conjunction with the mind map above, to understand how the English system of pronouns fits with the equivalent Chinese.  Notice they are much simpler in Chinese, we often need to find the English equivalent from the context of the sentence.  Remember it’s just common sense in our first language!


Subject Pronouns
You (Singular)
We 我们 wǒ men
You (Plural) 你们 nǐ men
They (Men) 他们 tā men
They (Women) 她们 tā men
They (Animals etc) 它们 tā men


Object Pronouns
you (Singular)
us 我们 wǒ men
you (Plural) 你们 nǐ men
them (Men) 他们 tā men
them (Women) 她们 tā men
them (Animals etc) 它们 tā men


Possessive Adjectives
my 我的 wǒde
your (Singular) 你的 nǐde
his 他的 tāde
her 她的 tāde
its 它的 tāde
our 我们的 wǒmen de
your (Plural) 你们的 nǐmen de
their (Men) 他们的 tāmen de
their (Women) 她们的 tāmen de
their (Animals etc) 它们的 tāmen de
Possessive Pronouns
mine 我的 wǒde
yours (Singular) 你的 nǐde
his 他的 tāde
hers 她的 tāde
its 它的 tāde
ours 我们的 wǒmen de
yours (Plural) 你们的 nǐmen de
theirs (Men) 他们的 tāmen de
theirs (Women) 她们的 tāmen de
theirs (Animals etc) 它们的 tāmen de
Reflexive Pronouns
myself 我自己 wǒ zìjǐ
yourself (singular) 你自己 nǐ zìjǐ
himself 他自己 tā zìjǐ
herself 她自己 tā zìjǐ
itself 它自己 tā zìjǐ
ourselves 我们自己 wǒmen zìjǐ
yourselves (Plural) 你们自己 nǐmen zìjǐ
themselves (Men) 他们自己 tāmen zìjǐ
themselves (Women) 她们自己 tāmen zìjǐ
themselves (Animals etc) 它们自己 tāmen zìjǐ

Some examples.  Lets look at Subject and Object Pronouns first.  In the sentence ‘I love him’.  ‘I’ is the subject of the sentence, the thing ‘doing’ the action, ‘him’ is the OBJECT of the sentence, the thing that the action is being done to.  I don’t say ‘I love he’, or ‘Me love him’ …I have to use the appropriate form as the SUBJECT or OBJECT of the sentence.  So how would we translate:

我喜欢她。  (wǒ xǐhuan tā)

It can be tricky because both SUBJECT and OBJECT pronouns in Chinese are the same!  It actually makes it easier!!! But because 我 can mean ‘I’ and ‘me’ in Chinese, and 她 cab mean both ‘She’ and ‘her’, we have to think which one is it???? Once we start reading more and more Chinese it gets easier, and we can realise that in this sentence it means ‘I like her’, because ‘I like she’ just doesn’t make sense in English.

Possessive Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives are not that hard in Chinese, we just add 的!But again not understanding how we use these in English makes it tricky for beginners to pick the right one when translating from Chinese to English.  So….

我的汽车。  (wǒde qìchē)  ‘My car’.

We know it is ‘My’ car, because the 的 on the end has changed the 我 from ‘I’ to 我的 ‘My’. Just to make it challenging though, 我的 in Chinese can also mean ‘mine’, it just depends where it is in the sentence…so

那辆汽车是我的。  (nà liàng qìchē shì wǒde) ‘That car is mine‘.

And Reflexive Pronouns? Well in Chinese we just add 自己 zìjǐ to the personal pronoun. So 我自己 changes from ‘I’ to ‘myself’.

我自己去。 (wǒ zìjǐ qù) ‘I’m going myself’. (Literally ‘I self go’).

Sounds confusing…but we know the English inside out, and the Chinese is really simple…when we can see the English mapped out for us though, it can make this seemingly difficult task quite obvious 🙂

Make your own mind map of English pronouns, it will really help you with your Chinese, and will help you appreciate how much more difficult it is for Chinese speakers to learn English 🙂


巧克力樱桃慕丝 Chocolate Cherry Mousse

做巧克力樱桃慕丝 (zuò qiǎokèlì yīngtáo mùsī) ‘Making Chocolate Cherry Mousse’ 

My kids have been making Chocolate Cherry Mousse, inspired by Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredient recipes.  You can click on the link if you would like to make it too!  But first, here is a mind map of the experience.  Below that is a table to let you know how to pronounce each word.  Seeing these words on a mind map might make it easier to say these words in Mandarin as you make this yummy dessert!

Here are the words in the Mind Map in table form:

方法动词 fāng fǎ dòng cí Method Verbs
搅拌 jiǎo bàn To mix
磨碎 mò suì To grate
搅打 jiǎo dǎ To whisk
收浓 shōu nóng To reduce


配料 pèi liào Ingredients
鸡蛋 jī dàn Egg
巧克力 qiǎo kè lì Chocolate
táng Sugar
奶油 nǎi yóu Cream
樱桃 yīng táo Cherries


厨具 chú jù Utensils
打蛋器 dǎ dàn qì Whisk
搅拌碗 jiǎo bàn wǎn Mixing bowl
煎锅 jiān guō Fry Pan
磨碎器 mò suì qì Grater


味道 wèi dao Taste
柔滑 róu huá Smooth
甜的 tián de Sweet
酸的 suān de Sour
美味的 měi wèi de Delicious


情感 qíng gǎn Feelings
满意 mǎn yì Satisfied
快乐 kuài lè Happy

Have fun making this yummy dessert while learning some Mandarin in the bargain!


万圣节快乐!Happy Halloween!

万圣节快乐! (wàn shèng jié kuài lè)  ‘Happy Halloween! ‘  This spider caught a couple of kids 🙂

If you celebrate Halloween here are a couple of Groovi Pauli songs to sing along to, and learn some Chinese in the bargain 🙂

The lyrics are as follows:
万圣节来了。 (wàn shèng jié lái le) Halloween is here
割南瓜。 (gē nán guā) Carve pumpkin(s)
吃糖果。 (chī táng guǒ) Eat candy
吃巧克力。 (chī qiǎo kè lì) Eat chocolate

万圣节来了。 (wàn shèng jié lái le) Halloween is here
你怕不怕?(nǐ pà bú pà) Are you afraid?
我怕鬼。(wǒ pà guǐ) I’m afraid of ghosts.
我不怕黑。(wǒ bú pà hēi) I’m not afraid of the dark.

万圣节来了。 (wàn shèng jié lái le) Halloween is here
你当什么? (nǐ dāng shén me) What will you be?
我当恐龙。(wǒ dāng kǒng lóng) I’ll be a dinosaur.
你当巫婆。(nǐ dāng wū pó) You’ll be a witch.

“Scary Halloween” 可怕的万圣节 (kě pà de wàn shèng jié)

The lyrics:
Halloween 万圣节 (wàn shèng jié)
Love to dress up 爱打扮 (ài dá bàn)
Eat candy 吃糖果 (chī táng guǒ)
It’s so fun 很好玩 (hěn hǎo wán)

123学数字 Counting

We will read this book this week ‘123学数字’ (123 xué shùzì).  ‘Counting’. A cute flap book that we can guess animals and numbers along the way.

Don’t forget the number rap to practice numbers! Click on the link for a video to rap along to!

Want to practice counting things and using measure words?  Watch the Ten Little Friends video the kids made for you.

Or be really clever and try counting backwards in Chinese 🙂

The book has elephants and hippos in it, so we may sing What Animal? song this week too. Click on the link for a video and the lyrics.

There are lots of other number and counting songs on this website, just have a browse 🙂

See you Wednesday 🙂