Chinese is said to have "short sentences" relative to English "long sentences". Where can I learn more about this? I haven't found many journal articles or books on this topic, specifically ones that have literal English glosses of the Chinese (as opposed to that article linked, which has Chinese and Pinyin, with no literal gloss so it's hard to tell as a non-Chinese speaker).

  • 1
    It's mostly due to the relative lack of subordinate clause in Chinese. That is probably a better search term for you to get more information.
    – EEQ
    Oct 30, 2022 at 15:24
  • I did not mention it in my answer, but I also disagree with other things in your source as being technically incorrect, perhaps with basis but misleading. For example: active vs passive voice or concrete vs abstract verbage. They don't exist like they are in English =\= they don't exist.
    – zagrycha
    Dec 2, 2022 at 23:25
  • To clearly learn the difference, I suggest providing a few long sentences in English and asking for the Chinese equivalent.
    – r13
    Dec 3, 2022 at 0:21

2 Answers 2


Thanks for you give me the chance.

If you don't hate complex(mandarin Chinese)

These are bilingual material for learner in Taiwan

They are top three media in Taiwan

I am learning English, too.

https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/379496/web/index.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iet7T-w7c2Y

https://cn.nytimes.com/world/20221101/seoul-halloween-crowd-accountability/zh-hant/dual/ https://english.ftvnews.com.tw/news/2022B01W05EA


I hope it will helps you. Thanks!


Chinese technically has four types of sentences, at least that I know of (there could possibly be more I am not an expert) I will list them all here for reference but only go in depth on the simple one you are asking about.

simple sentences/clauses 簡單句

Baidu definition: a simple sentence is one that has only a single subject predicate structure, and each component only contains words/phrases. It says there are 5 basic sentence patterns:

Subject plus predicate, predicate is usually an intransitive verb. example: Nobody went.

Subject plus auxilary verb plus preface, similar to english A is B structure. example: Mr. Tan is an artist.

Subject plus predicate plus object, can be direct or indirect object and is usually an atransitive verb. Example: My sister will fix everything.

Subject plus predicate plus object plus object, one indirect and one direct object related to each other. Example: He gave the book to his sister.

Subject plus predicate plus object plus object plus supplement, the supplement adds information onto one of the existing objects. Example: I will let him go. (what will him let? go, in case the English doesn't show it as clearly).

Other sentence types for reference: compound sentences/clauses並列句, complex sentences/clauses復合句, compound complex sentences/clauses並列復合句

Personally, I do not consider what was said in your reference to be technically correct. I think it is a matter of how you define a sentence, as the entire concept varies between the languages. I would like to point out that Chinese can technically be written and read with no punctuation at all, and was for the majority of its history. Period and commas were added to clarify when spoken pauses would fall in the writing(like most punctuation), and are the main traditional aid of punctuation (aka the only super common ones of grammatical purpose, even quote marks are a modern addition to the language from foreign influence).

I believe your source is superficially referencing the fact that Chinese writing can often have many clauses strung together in paragraph lengths by commas, which is true. I wouldn't directly correlate them to sentences in English however.

If you tranlsate into English with no changes to punctuation, those paragraphs would have two possible results: a very long run on sentence full of commas, or several very short simple sentences (or even fragments) if you turn the commas into periods.

I would consider either wrong in most scenarios. Usually the Chinese punctuation should be properly rearranged and written into the standard English format of what is being said. This usually means taking away and adding punctuation marks, and often completely rearranging the paragraph at its core.

A lot of foreign punctuation concepts have been adapted into Chinese, but their structures vary. The very core of what is grammatically correct, a run on or fragment etc., is completely different.

Here is the Baidu page of simple sentences/clauses for reference.


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