Ah, Chinese grammar. The bane of every Mandarin language learner’s existence.
We know, English isn’t without its strange grammatical structures. But Chinese grammar is a whole ‘nother ball game.
Chinese grammar is both extremely similar to and ridiculously different than English grammar. Its complexity can leave even advanced learners scratching their heads.
Word arrangement, morphology, sounds, tones, semantics, sentence structure. It’s a lot to absorb.
But it’s not an impossible feat.
To help you on your grammar-learning journey, we’ve put together a list of some seriously helpful (and free!) Chinese grammar checkers available online. Why not add a few of these handy tools to your Chinese grammar study plan?
Why Do I Need to Use a Chinese Grammar Checker?
- Chinese grammar can be very different from English grammar, so being able to correct grammar mistakes is crucial for improving fluency. Understanding vocabulary and other aspects of Mandarin Chinese is very important while learning the language, but you won’t get very far by exclusively memorizing words and phrases. Grasping Mandarin grammar and using a checker is vital for fluency.
- When translating chunks of Mandarin text, it’s vital to have a fast, accurate Chinese grammar checker handy. If you’re a translator who needs to translate Chinese text on the fly, a grammar checker is great to have on hand in case you let a grammatical mistake slip.
- As a language learner, it’s always useful to check your own work to make sure you’re on the right track. Whether you’re just a beginner or can write an essay about the Qin Dynasty in Mandarin, grammar mistakes happen. Adding a grammar checker to your collection of Mandarin-learning tools is a wise choice to make.
Check It out! 4 Chinese Grammar Checkers for All Levels of Learners
If you really want to master the Chinese grammar rules you’ll learn from these grammar checkers, try creating some flashcards. They aren’t just for memorizing vocabulary! Flashcards can help you learn parts of speech, word order in sentences and other parts of Mandarin grammar.
FluentU is a great resource for creating interactive flashcards. You may already know FluentU as resource for authentic language videos.
You'll find a wide range of contemporary videos that cover all different 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.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your learning. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve 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!
Using LanguageTool is simple. Just pop in the sentence you want checked in 汉字 (hàn zì) — Chinese characters and click the “Check Text” button.
Either LanguageTool won’t detect any errors or the mistakes will be highlighted in yellow. Click on the incorrect text and it will provide you with an explanation (in Chinese) of why that grammar is incorrect, an option to ignore and an “examples” section to help you understand why that particular grammar was incorrect. That last bit is definitely handy for learners who are still struggling to grasp Chinese grammar.
This is a fantastic tool for all levels of learners because it’s very simple to use. Whether you’re using a Chinese grammar checker for a translation gig or to improve your own fluency, this is an ideal application to use.
The only real downfall is that it only has a simplified Chinese option. After experimenting with the app, we discovered that it does indeed translate some traditional hanzi, but not everything. Still, this Chinese grammar checker is one of the best you can find— and it’s free to use!
You can upgrade to LanguageTool’s premium plan for $19 per month, which offers Microsoft Word add-ins and no character limits.
Learn Chinese: Grammar A1 App
Most of the Chinese grammar checkers on our list are pretty straightforward, basic grammar checkers. The Learn Chinese: Grammar A1 app for Android devices is a little bit different, though. It not only checks grammar… it’s also designed to help Chinese language students understand grammar.
Here’s how it works: You’ll start out with a constructor lesson that teaches you the bare bone basics of Chinese grammar. From then on, each lesson is divided into various topics and spans about 40 different lessons. Each lesson provides an example sentence that breaks down a specific Chinese grammar component. It’ll start with the basics of adverbs and sentence structure before diving into specific hanzi and particles.
The interface of this app is very user-friendly, and a lot of the examples and lessons are humorous, so you won’t find yourself bored out of your mind learning Chinese grammar. (Which we know happens!)
The only downsides to this app are that there are a lot of ads (that’s the cost of a free app sometimes) and the fact that it isn’t really designed for anyone other than beginners. So intermediate and advanced learners, this may not be the Chinese grammar checker for you. Still, it can be handy to have around in case you need a refresher lesson on Chinese grammar.
Plagly is very similar in structure to LanguageTools (it’s actually based on their software) with a few extra bells and whistles.
With Plagly, there are no character limits for the free version, so you can grammar-check to your heart’s content. In addition to being a grammar checker, it’s also a spell checker. This may seem a bit useless since Chinese characters don’t operate in the same way English words do. However, it can detect if you’re using a character that looks similar to the character you meant to type by using the context of the sentence provided.
Plagly’s results are also very precise. It can detect nearly 300 different types of structure and spelling issues commonly found in Mandarin Chinese. All levels of learners can benefit from this checker!
In addition to being a radical Chinese grammar checker, Plagly is also a plagiarism checker, which can come in handy if you’re a writer, student or teacher. If you use Chrome or Firefox, you can also use Plagly as an extension or add-on for your browser. All for free! How cool is that?
Yet again, we have a Chinese grammar checker that’s based on LanguageTools! But just like Plagly, Sentence Checker has its own unique benefits to suit your needs. Namely, it’s incredibly sleek and simple. If you’re looking for a sentence checker that checks sentences quickly and doesn’t take a long time to load (which LanguageTools can have a tendency to do) then you should give this application a shot.
Like LanguageTools, you can check, correct, look at or even ignore examples of correct grammar based on what you’ve written. That’s about all this Chinese grammar checker does, but it does it with speed, impeccable precision and a user-friendly interface. If you’re a translator rather than a Mandarin language learner, this is the one for you!
Like all of these great grammar checkers, there are some downfalls to Sentence Checker. It doesn’t have a lot of additional features, and there isn’t an option to report discrepancies within the application. It’s also not the most ideal grammar checker for those who are just starting to learn Chinese, but it’s still quite a handy tool.
Don’t feel too down on yourself for needing to use a Chinese grammar checker. After all, learning a language is a long—and sometimes difficult—journey. There’s no shame in needing a little bit of help along the way!
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
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