Lesson 012. Home Sweet Home.

In this lesson you will learn Chinese expressions about your home and things you can find in your home. You’ll be able to say all that in Mandarin. This lesson presents many new words, the main focus of this lesson is on sentence patterns: ” in…., at…. on…, under…..Please sign up and become a registered subscriber to download ALL 200+ audio lessons with full PDF transcripts and worksheets.


  1. mariz says:

    Hi Serge. I find your podcasts helpful. See here, I’m a foreign student studying in Taiwan, so I’m learning Mandarin. Thanks for the lessons.

  2. Joseph says:

    Another question. In Lesson 12, why is it 房子不是很大 instead of just 房子不很大?


  3. Nihao Joseph!

    很高兴你喜欢我的播客!(Hen3 gao1xing4 ni3 xi3huan1 wo3de bo1ke4!)

    OK, good question. In short, in this kind of context, there are only TWO possible ways of saying: 房子不是很大(fang2zi bu2shi4 hen3 da4) or 房子不大(fang2zi bu2 da4), so not 房子不很大(fang2zi bu4 hen3 da4)。

    My explanation would be that Chinese language “likes” even number of syllables, let’s say 6,4,2 etc, in order to rhyme properly. In this case, we have fang zi bu shi hen da=6, fang zi bu da=4, but fang zi bu hen da=5. That’s my explanation. If you ask a Chinese person why it’s like that, they would probably just say: “because it sounds weird without a verb”

    Hope this helps :-D

    Learn Mandarin Chinese with Serge Melnyk

  4. Arvind Pradhan says:


    The line A hanzi has a mistake in it. It says:


    It should say:


  5. Lee Hofweber says:

    about the question, 房子不是很大:
    I would actually disagree with Serge on this one and say that the Chinese when speaking Chinese don’t care how many characters a sentance has. That only matters with Idioms and Proverbs (成语 cheng2yu)

    Whenever you want to use the characters 不 and 很, you must put 是 between them. Its just a grammar rule with no reason behind it besides thats the way it was made, just like many other grammar rules. When you don’t want to use the negation 不, you don’t need to use 是… It can be used, but definitely not necessary, unless trying to make yourself extra clear.

  6. You are right, Lee, indeed, this is just the way it IS and everyone just must memorize it (like many other grammar rules). You know, my approach to learning Mandarin has always been ‘just take it as it is, do not try to understand everything, or compare to other languages, but better learn through examples and try to get the FEELING of it, the yu3gan3(语感)-yu3yan2(语言)-language, gan3jue2(感觉)-feeling.

    And this yu3gan3 comes with continuos practice: listening and speaking.
    Once you get it, you will feel what’s right and what’s wrong.

  7. John Gleason says:

    Nihao, Serge, and xiexie. In the first sentence of Lesson 12’s Situational Dialogue 1, the “de” is tacked onto the “zhu4”. I thought that the “de” (showing possession) was tacked onto pronouns. Please explain.

  8. Nihao John, Good question. The possessive function of ‘de’ is not the only most common role that ‘de’ plays. As a possessive particle, it doesn’t have to be only a pronoun. It can be any noun, it’s just more typical to follow the pronoun wode, nide, tade- my, your, his, but you can also say dian4nao3 de(电脑的)-computer’s, E.g. dian4nao3 de ji4yi4ti3(电脑的记忆体)-computer’s memory.

    To identify and maybe to better understand this ‘de’, try to use an apostrophe after the noun, e.g. computer’s.
    It may not sound very native in English (in some cases, the word ‘of’ would be more appropriate instead of the ‘s ),but it will help you get the correct word order in Mandarin.

    In lesson 65’s PDF “Grammar Summary”, it says: This construction indicates that the noun after ‘de’ belongs to the noun that comes before ‘de’.

    Another usage of ‘de’ is in shi…..de(是……的) construction. This construction is used to emphasize the state or situation of the noun. The emphasized statement is placed between shi4 and de. E.g. Ta1de dian4nao3 shi4 xin1 de(他的电脑是新的)-his computer is new.
    shi-is xin1-new, de-particle de.

    Also, there is an attributive clause with ‘de’. The attributive clause is used to modify a noun preceded by the particle ‘de’. This clause can be formed from a word or a phrase.
    E.g. yi2ge hen3 piao4liang4 de zhu4zhai2(一个很漂亮的住宅)-a very beautiful apartment.
    Yige hen piaoliang de……(一个很漂亮的)-a very beautiful…….-a phrase that modifies a noun zhu4zhai2(住宅)-apartment.

    So, back to your example. Zhe4 shi4 ni3 zhu4 de zhu4zhai2(这是你住的住宅)-this is……..apartment. Ni3 zhu4 de(你住的)-the one that you live….. modifies the noun zhu4zhai2(住宅). Ni4 zhu4(你住)-you live, the added ‘de’ will change it to ‘the one that you live’.

    Hope this is helpful for you.



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