A New Resource for Chinese Grammar

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working on this project for a whole year, and also thinking about it, in some form or another, ever since founding AllSet Learning. Today, I’m quite happy to finally release the AllSet Learning Grammar Wiki.

What is it? Well, in a nutshell, it’s a mini-Wikipedia devoted entirely to Chinese grammar. Think comprehensive, think interlinked, think referenced. I’ve felt for a while that Chinese grammar has needed its own champion online, and since forming AllSet Learning, I’ve finally got both the need and the means to make it happen and keep it going.

I won’t say too much here; there’s a blog post on the AllSet Learning blog introducing the features and concepts behind the Grammar Wiki. Obviously, you can also just go straight to the wiki and check it out.

There’s not yet any public forum on the AllSet Learning websites, so if you’ve got feedback, feel free to leave it in the comments here. Please do read the AllSet Learning blog post first, though, as it may answer some of your questions. I’d also like to reiterate that the Grammar Wiki is not finished, and I’m not sure it ever will be, but with 500 articles and a good juicy set of grammar points it’s now at a point where it’s clearly useful to learners, so it’s time for it to emerge from its cave and be exposed to the rest of the world.

Finally, I’d like to thank the AllSet Learning interns who, over the past year, have helped make the Chinese Grammar Wiki a reality: Lucas, Greg, Hugh, and Jonathan. You guys were an immense help. Thank you also to all bloggers and friends who help spread the word by linking to the Chinese Grammar Wiki. Please help spread the word!

That’s all for now… Happy Chinese New Year!


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I’ve spent some time looking through this past week. Looks like it’s going to be a great resource. Can’t wait to see how it develops in the future.

  2. Adam Morris Says: January 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Sweet design.

  3. Yes! This absolutely needed to be done. Glad you put this together. Chinese grammar fits the wiki format like a glove, so hopefully this will put an end to some of those ridiculous “learn Chinese grammar in 30 easy lessons” paperback guides which seem to fly off the bookshelves every year.

  4. The wiki definitely looks like it will be pretty useful. More than once I’ve wondered what the Chinese equivalent of this-or-that grammar point in English is, so hopefully this will help me look those up.

    Also, I noticed a typo on the 嘛 page (http://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Expressing_the_Self-Evident_with_%22ma%22):

    「男人 嘛,总是要和啤酒」的”和”, 我覺得應該是”喝”,對嗎?

  5. Peter Nelson Says: January 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Can’t we edit it? I’d like to correct a typo.

    (http://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Degree_complement 发行 => 发型)

  6. Congratulations for the release !

    There should be a way to make corrections, or at least provide feedback. If you want you can require people to register to ward off the mindless trolls, but attentive readers (that I am sure you will get considering the quality of the information) will find all the little typos and inconsistencies.

    For example : http://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/Emphatic_adverb_%22ke%22 says “In the last two sentences 可 is used with 别, and sounds a bit like “don’t even think about…” in English “, but the two sentences with 别 are no longer the last two.

  7. Also, why do the title of the lessons have “ke”, “you dian”, “zai” instead of the real characters ? Other pages have chinese characters in their title, it is a conscious choice ?

    • We’re trying to adhere to Wikipedia’s standards as closely as possible. One of Wikipedia’s rules is to use only English (or romanized foreigner languages) for titles. Not only is this more reader friendly (and probably more SEO firendly), but it also avoids the issue of tones of weird codes in links.

      The pages that have Chinese characters in their titles should be all redirect pages or disambiguation pages.

      • Well, I still don’t like it but it is your call. It isn’t more reader friendly in my opinion : when you link to “Emphasizing the Doer of an Action with “you””, is it 有,又,由 ?

        It is especially jarring as all the rest is in characters, including Chinese grammar words when discussed in English sentences, without even pinyin following behind (something Wikipedia is trying to avoid by the way).

        Some sample sentences are translated but most aren’t. Will it be added later or is it a deliberate choice ?

  8. So excited this has been released now. It’s going to make such a huge difference to people studying Chinese everywhere.

  9. Really glad to see this released. I will most likely visit often.

  10. This kind of resource was badly needed. I hope ande believe that its usefullness will grow over time. It’s already quite good, but I’m sure it can grow to be even better. Thanks!

  11. Congratulations! Grammar can be fun, thank you.

  12. “until there is a better feedback mechanism”

    (error:) 我 昨天 我 去 了 酒吧。 —> 我 昨天 去 了 酒吧。

  13. Wow, John. Fantastic work. I can’t wait to plumb the depths here. I don’t know if I ever would have learned proper pronunciation without your guide here on Sinosplice, and I have a feeling that I’ll be indebted to you once again with this grammar guide. Thanks for your hard work and making the paths of Chinese learners behind you a smoother one than you walked down.

  14. Whitney 卫礼 Says: January 23, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Wow! This is really, truly great. I have had a hard time finding a way to learn about grammar in a simple way that gets to the point and this is perfect. I’ve been just… pushing words together and forcing the listener to try to figure out what I’m saying (which means I’ve been speaking Chinese no better than a gorilla could), and I really will use this a lot! 🙂

  15. John,

    Great execution on a really well conceived idea! I’m sure this will become a major resource for Chinese learners everywhere.

    Wish you the best in 2012!

  16. That is a fantastic resource. I didn’t even realise it before but I think this is what I’ve been missing. And thankyou for making it free to use!
    (I like the AllSet logo as well, very clever!)

  17. Hi
    A few days ago, I had a post mentioning about your grammar WIKI. http://www.chinesetolearn.com/?p=2669
    Thank you for taking the time doing the grammar work to help Chinese language learners. I am looking forward to seeing it grow:)
    Best wishes,

  18. Hi, There seems to be some mistake in this page:


    你还不去吃饭?(implyingthelistenershouldgotoeat) no spaces in english explanation, maybe its just my browser, not sure.

    Also maybe you could explain one aspect here, why when using 还 dont need any 吗 thing at the end of the sentence to form a question. Or is it just a mistake?

  19. Thanks for answering!,

    Will you add some some grammar excersises for each covered topic? Internet really lacks of ready to go grammar excersises …

  20. Great job, John! Thanks for putting all the great resources together into one site. It’s not only great for the students, but for the instructors too.
    – Hua

  21. This is a wonderful help for Chinese learner, especially those without former training. I’m back in China retesting the new HSK, and, on a waitress’s salary, structured courses are hard to budget in. Grammar is one of the few things that are difficult to grasp merely by hearing them being used by native speakers.

    Thank you!

  22. Add to A1 grammar points / Use of “er” and “liang” for “Two” the next examples:两(元/块)二(毛) , but 十二(元/块); 两点二分, but 十二点 it’s important fo begginers!

  23. As a beginner trying to become fluent one day, this would be invaluable to me! Thank you John! Like your articles too! 🙂

  24. David Moser Says: February 24, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Fantastic, John! I’ve been following the progress of this, but what a fantastic resource! I’m immediately recommending it to all CET teachers. You’ve done yeoman’s work here. (I think. I’m not sure what “yeoman” means.)

  25. You are my hero, John Pasden!
    Thanks for this great resource…
    I have been following you for many years on Chinesepod and am now in the second year of a bachelor degree with Mandarin as my major (at the ripe old age of 45). A friend of mine in Russia just told me about this resource and I’m over the moon…Life is never going to be the same!
    Thanks, from Shanghai!

  26. This is indeed a great resource; I’ve recommended it to the State Department’s Chinese language program.

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