I am trying to translate the following sentence in to Mandarin:

I am playing tennis in a red jacket.

Would it be correct to translate it like this?


Or are there any other solutions that might be better?

  • Do you mind specifying which part you're particularly interested in? I'm just asking because the title is very general in your case and it could be more precise. In any case, welcome to Chinese SE! :)
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 10:12
  • >>> 我正穿着红色的外套打网球。 Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 10:15
  • I didn't really know how to ask the question because I wasn't really sure what I was looking for. All I knew was that I was unsure about the usage of on going action, the usage of 用, relative phrases, and 的. I felt that I would understand more if I found a sentence containing this parts and get someone to eplain the sentece-order and the translation. It is hard to describe exactly what I needed help with, but I needed to start somewhere. I haven't been learning for more than a couple of weeks, but I am starting to understand some of the grammar, now that I can ask questions when I am stuck :) Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 15:24

2 Answers 2


"I" (我) is the subject. It always go first

[I am playing tennis] is the main clause. You translated it as [我打网球], but it should be [我正在打网球] (you wrote "playing", not "play")

[in a red jacket] is the relative phrase. (giving additional information on how you are playing tennis) You translated it as [用红色的外套] is incorrect.

  • [红色的外套] should be [穿着一件红色外套]

  • 的 in 红色的 can be omitted

  • "a red jacket" is "一件红色的外套"

Put it together we get:

[我正在打网球] [穿着一件红色外套]

[main clause] [relative phrase]

Unlike in English, relative phrase usually precede main clause in Chinese grammar.

The correct translation of "I am playing tennis in a red jacket." should be:

" 我正(穿着一件红色外套)打网球"

在 in 正在 can be omitted

It would be simpler if you wrote in present tense

"I play tennis in a red jacket" -->" 我 (穿着一件红色外套)打网球"


Vegar Reitan wrote:

How do I know where to put the relative sentence?

You have to decide which verb phrase in a sentence is the main phrase- If you wrote:" I eat apple at home", You can see [eat apple] is the main action, [at home] is added info

The English sentence [ I eat apple (at home) ] would become [ I (at home) eat apple] [我(在家)吃苹果] in Chinese grammar

Vegar Reitan also wrote:

And how do you know that "的 in 红色的 can be omitted"?

One of the functions of '的' is being an adjectival particle that mark a phrase or clause before as an adjectival phrase or clause

  • The adjectival particle '的' in '红色的' can be omitted when it is followed by an object, because 红 or 红色 itself is an adjective, it doesn't require the adjectival particle '的' to function as an adjective.

Example: (红色的)外套 can be omitted to (红色)外套 or (红)外套

  • The adjectival particle '的' in '红色的' cannot be omitted when it is preceded by an object

Example: 这外套是(红色的) cannot be reducted to 这外套是(红色) or 这外套是(红)-- That would mean "This Jacket is red(n)"

  • Thanks, this helped med alot! If I have understood this correctly, the sentence consist of the main sentence "I am playing tennis" and relative sentence "in a red jacket". This because a relative sentence is a sentence adding additional information about a person or object in the main sentence. 正在 emphasizes that the action is ongoing. Then you put is together and get the sentence "我正(穿着一件红色外套)在打网球". Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 15:12
  • How do I know where to put the relative sentence? Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 15:12
  • And how do you know that "的 in 红色的 can be omitted"? Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 15:14
  • See my edition in the answer
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 17:46
  • oh, thanks! You really helped me out! I think I understand this much better now! Now I feel like I have to become great at speaking Mandarin, so I don't feel like I have wasted your time ;) Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 20:43

I am playing tennis in a red jacket. 我 正在打 網球 著 紅色外套 =>我穿著紅色外套打網球

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