Level 1 Lesson 3.1 – I Learn Chinese At A School

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Place Word In A Chinese Sentence | Sentence Word Order In Chinese

In this video lesson we'll learn how to position a Place Word in a Chinese sentence, which is a very important sentence word order. We'll also learn the structure of a noun modifying another noun in Chinese.

  • Sentence Word Order in Chinese: Positioning Place Word in a sentence
  • 学习: to learn vs. to study
  • 学 vs 学习
  • Noun modifying another noun in Chinese


1 学习 xuéxí v. to learn(something); to study
1 汉语 Hànyǔ pn. the Chinese language
n/a 英语 Yīngyǔ pn. the English language
n/a 美国 Měiguó pn. USA
n/a 法国 Fǎguó pn. France
n/a 法语 Fǎyǔ pn. the French language


Grammar 1: Word Order: Positioning A Place Word In A Chinese Sentence· HSK 1

Unlike in English where the "Place Word" usually goes at the end of a sentence, if we want to put a "Place Word" in a Chinese sentence, suggesting where the action occurs, we put it between the Subject and the Verb.

Subject + Place + Verb ( + Object )

  • wǒ zài Běijīng xué Hànyǔ
     I learn Chinese in Beijing.
  • tā zài sùshè chī píngguǒ
     He eats apple in the dormitory.
  • wǒ zài Měiguó xuéxí
    I study in America.


Grammar 2: To Study in Chinese VS. To Learn in Chinese · HSK 1

(1) xuéxí 学习: to learn in Chinese VS. to study in Chinese

When followed by an object, 学 means to learn something in Chinese:

习 + something = to learn something

  • tā zài Zhōngguó xuéxí Hànyǔ
    He learns Chinese in China.
  • wǒ zài Fǎguó xuéxí Fǎyǔ
    I learn French in France.


When not followed by an object, 学 means to study in general:

学习 object = to study (in general)

  • tā zài Zhōngguó xuéxí
     He studies in China.
  • wǒ zài Fǎguó xuéxí
     I study in France.


(2) xuéxí 学习 VS. xué 学: to learn in Chinese

When followed by an object, 学习 and 学 are interchangeable:

学习 + something = + something = to learn something

  • wǒ xǐhuan xué Hànyǔ
    I like learning Chinese.
  • wǒ xǐhuan xuéxí Hànyǔ
    I like learning Chinese.


Grammar 3: Noun Modifying Another Noun · HSK 3

zài 在 to be in/on/at (+somewhere)

Sometimes a noun can be used to modify another noun in Chinese. We can just put Noun1 before Noun2:

(Noun1) Noun2

  • Yīngyǔ shū 英语书 English book
  • Hànyǔ xuéxiào 汉语学校 Chinese school
  • cháshuǐ 茶水 tea water
Lesson Content
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Collapse Comments
Mente de BoerPremium Student December 22, 2022 at 5:41 pm

Hi, would this sentence be grammaticaly correct?

No it wouldn’t be correct. In chinese when there is a 在 in a sentence for example, let’s use your example. My Mom lives at my house in beijing. It would be 我的妈妈住在我北京的家。In chinese once there is a 在 in a sentence you don’t need to repeat the 在。So therefore this 我妈妈住在我在北京家 is wrong.

Robyn SpoorPremium Student September 8, 2022 at 1:36 am

I would have thought that the “where” word is (or has the effect of) an adverb modifying the verb. In English a word telling where about the verb is an adverb. It more commonly has a preposition before it, but there are some adverbs that come directly before the verb. This is just a way of remembering the word position in Chinese. (I love the logic of this tbh.)

Daniel GraceyPremium Student May 13, 2022 at 8:52 am

我在家学习汉语. Lili is there a Chinese-English dictionary that you recommend for reference?

ChineseFor.UsAcademic Team May 17, 2022 at 9:05 am

有道词典 Youdao is a good tool. They have a website and an app.

david.rappoPremium Student February 8, 2020 at 8:11 pm


I am little bit unclear what 茶水 means. If I asked for 茶水 in a Chinese restaurant would the waiter bring a pot of tea and a jug of water? Or is 茶水 simply a longer way to say 茶?


茶 can be used to refer to both tea (leaves) in general, or a cup/pot of tea, depending on the context.
茶水 is specifically “already made and ready to drink” tea.

If you are at a restaurant, you can say both 茶 or 茶水, but 茶 is more commonly used. Sometimes for other purposes, like cooking or staining, 茶水 has to be used if it’s the liquid that’s being used.

Rush3112Premium Student October 5, 2019 at 8:19 am

You are the best in terms of content and teaching methods. best value for the money! I wish you grow fast and quickly add more HSK levels. good luck!

Thank you so much! 谢谢你!We will definitely keep making more HSK levels!

connoryarishPremium Student June 3, 2018 at 12:37 pm

What is the difference between 汉语 and 中文?

PiuPiuPremium Student February 13, 2020 at 12:27 pm

I know it’s late but if I know correctly, 中文 is Chinese language in general , while 汉语 is’ Mandarin Chinese ‘. The difference is subtle.

cashaasdijkStudent April 10, 2020 at 1:52 pm

Well it helped me at least, thx!

RC13Premium Student June 6, 2023 at 4:07 pm

This is just slightly incorrect.

中文 means “Chinese Language.” This term is more in general of the Chinese Languages. As China has many dialects, all dialects can follow under the general term “中文“.

汉语 literally means “Language of the Han”. Directly translates to the language of the Han ethnic group of China. Its more specific than 中文。

普通话 pǔtōnghuà means “Mandarin” or literally “common speech”

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