Writers know all about grammar.
We use it daily in our work, and we’re well aware of how much of a pain in the neck it can be.
And that’s just in our native language!
If you’re an English speaker who’s learning Mandarin as a second language, you may be scratching your head at the concept of Mandarin grammar.
Sure, you can memorize words and phrases from a Chinese phrase book and leave it at that.
If you’re traveling in a Mandarin-speaking country, you may even be able to get by with just your collection of common phrases.
However, this is quite a robotic approach to Mandarin that will eventually land you at a dead end.
To really learn a new language, a grasp of grammar is key.
Why Should I Practice Chinese Grammar with Exercises Online?
- Grammar is a vital aspect of any language. As we mentioned, you can probably memorize words and phrases and get by in a Mandarin-speaking society. However, you’ll eventually hit a wall without knowledge of how the language works grammatically. Once you understand grammar, communicating on the spot will become significantly easier.
- Using online exercises can make studying grammar more interactive and hands-on than if you study with textbooks or worksheets. Practice makes perfect. Unfortunately, practice can get boring and become a chore as we progress through our language-learning journey. Practicing grammar with online exercises every once in a while can keep things fresh and interesting.
- The grammar exercise resources we’ll be covering are either 100% free to use or offer free trials. Free Chinese learning resources are yet another reason to start learning the language. What do you have to lose? In this case, it’s definitely not cash.
Build Your Mandarin Muscles with These 5 Chinese Grammar Exercises Online
Between these five sources, you’re sure to find Mandarin grammar exercises online that work with your learning level.
Just remember to investigate these exercises thoroughly to make sure you’re using a resource designed for your level. Trying to learn grammar that’s too hard or too easy won’t do you any good!
Hanbridge Mandarin Grammar offers great grammar lessons for beginner and intermediate learners. Their main course is designed for students who need help learning the what, when and where of Mandarin grammar. Enjoy step-by-step lesson plans that break Mandarin grammar down into easy-to-understand chunks.
Each lesson begins with a specific Chinese grammar concept, such as certain nouns interacting differently with particular adjectives or rare sentence structures. After each lesson, it assigns grammar exercises in the form of sentence translation. It’s a very simple, back-to-basics form of learning grammar that traditional classroom-oriented Chinese learners will definitely benefit from.
Hanbridge Mandarin Grammar does cost money to use, but they offer a free trial to try it out.
Context is incredibly important when it comes to mastering Chinese grammar. As we mentioned before, grammar isn’t as simple as memorizing vocabulary words. You need to understand when to apply which rules.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons. Learning with authentic videos gives you context for each and every grammar rule.
FluentU naturally eases you into learning the Mandarin language, and you’ll learn Chinese as it’s spoken in real life.
The program has a wide range of contemporary videos that cover a wide range of interests and levels, as you can see here:
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up.
All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you’d like to review to a vocab list.
From the description page, you can access interactive transcripts under the Dialogue tab, or review words and phrases under Vocab.
FluentU’s quizzes turn every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your learning, then suggests content and examples based on what you’ve already learned. In other words, you get a 100% personalized experience.
Try FluentU in your browser or, better yet, download the FluentU iOS or Android app today!
What kind of learner are you?
Do you thrive in a typical classroom setting listening to a lecture? Do you prefer a more hands-on approach? Do you like watching videos?
If any or all of these learning methods appeal to you, Gateway to Chinese could be your perfect fit. Plus, it’s all free!
The University of Texas at Austin has fantastic online resources available through their website for learning Chinese grammar, as well as vocabulary, pronunciation, listening and reading. Their grammar exercises include basic word order exercises, flashcards, YouTube videos and much more.
This online portal of Chinese grammar sources are best suited for beginner and intermediate learners, but it appears that the university will be adding more content for advanced students soon.
If you appreciate simple, user-friendly interfaces for learning Mandarin, this great grammar section over at Chinese Boost is certainly worth checking out. And yep, you guessed it, it’s totally free to use.
This resource is divided into five sections: A1 through C1, or HSK 1 through HSK 5, with the latter being advanced. Any level of learner can benefit from using these grammar articles, but you may have to play around with the levels to see which one you should actually be using.
Note that we said “articles.” This grammar site technically doesn’t have exercises in the traditional sense. Rather, they have compiled a list of word functions, keywords, characters and parts of speech that leave Mandarin learners scratching their heads, as well as how-to guides for each one. It’s incredibly handy if you’ve got a pretty good grasp on grammar but need a resource to explain certain roadblocks.
Chinese Boost’s grammar articles can be utilized as grammar exercises in several ways. You can practice translating example sentences before looking at the provided translation. You can also use these articles as a complimentary resource with other grammar exercises.
Ninchanese Chinese Grammar Lessons are designed for beginner, elementary, intermediate and upper intermediate Mandarin learners. They’ve divided their grammar lessons into HSK levels, and they even explore grammar properties that aren’t on the respective HSK test.
You can expect fantastic, user-friendly exercises that break down sentence order, negations, expressing distance, particles, interjections and much more. These lessons are very detailed yet simple to understand, making them perfect for beginners who don’t know their way around Mandarin grammar whatsoever.
This interactive Mandarin-learning site tackles grammar in a very hands-on way.
First, each lesson presents you with new vocabulary words, which you’ll practice with multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank answers. After practicing these words, you’ll go onto the grammar section of the lesson where you’ll learn where those particular words go in a sentence. Then, you’ll fill in the blanks with the correct words in the correct order. Each successful lesson earns you stars and points that you can use to unlock different grammar levels.
You can try Ninchanese’s lessons for free with limited access or pay $10 per month for full access.
Even if you don’t use Chinese grammar exercises online as part of your daily Mandarin practice, they still offer a fun and more tangible way to stay well-versed in Chinese grammar. Before long, grammar won’t seem so scary anymore!
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.