What is a good, comprehensive , learner friendly Chinese Grammar book, with explanations in English or German and Chinese, which also does teach phonetics and the Pinyin spelling rules?

With good and comprehensive, I mean something like the "Le Bon Usage" in French, which is written with French explanations, is systematic and complete (more than 1000 pages), but not learner friendly.

By learner friendly, I mean something like the Becherelle series in French language learning, which is to the point, learner friendly, but less comprehensive, systematic and complete.

Ideally, I'm looking for a Chinese Grammar book written in Chinese and English or German, which combines the virtues of these two examples without falling in their pitfalls.

Do you have any suggestions? I would like to complete and systematize my knowledge of Chinese Grammar which I infer from disparate notes in the 新实用汉语课本.

NB. The potential book should be written in simplified characters or both traditional and simplified together as I can't read traditional characters so well.

Suggestions from other Chinese language learners are welcome!

  • Versuch's mal in Baidu suche: 汉语语法. Grammar besteht aus "pitfalls" (and erroneous assumptions). γραμματική grammatike: knowing one's letters: γραμμα gramma: that which is draw, also written character, letter
    – Pedroski
    Apr 2 at 14:59

1 Answer 1


Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide may fit your criteria. It provides all simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, pinyin, and English for most of its examples. However, while I consider it somewhat systematic and comprehensive in scope, it is most certainly not detailed. The whole book is only 400+ pages long. The good news is, here's an online version for the book, so at least you don't have to pay for it :)

Another choice might be Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar, also with an online version! This one is more detailed, but unfortunately, it did not go into the pinyin system.

Another helpful site might be Chinese Grammar Wiki, which is exactly what it sounds like: an online Wikipedia for Chinese grammar. There's even a grammar reference page for 新实用汉语课本1, which points you to the appropriate Wiki pages based on the grammar points covered in each lesson of the textbook. Unfortunately, this one is also not very detailed.

One last point that's just my personal view: First of all, great job on finishing 新实用汉语课本! If you've come this far, I'm actually not sure how helpful grammar books might be for you. The Chinese language is quite flexible in terms of grammar, and to this day it doesn't really have that sort of "standardization" that might be more familiar to English (or other language) speakers. In fact, there is probably not a single grammar book, in the traditional sense, written for and taught in native Chinese schools. Those that do exist are almost exclusively written by and for academics specializing in Chinese linguistics.

(Anecdotal example: To this day native Chinese speakers joke about no one being able to tell「的」「地」「得」apart. Spoiler: Very generally speaking, 的 modifies a noun, 地 modifies an adjective, 得 modifies a verb. More can be read about here. However, as said, native Chinese speakers themselves, including college-educated ones, use the three quite interchangeably, although this would surely be considered a "grammatical error" in an English context.)

So, I personally would suggest not dwelling too much on grammar (unless the linguistic aspect itself is your interest, of course), and just jump into reading more.

  • I have the Yip/Rimmington grammar, and it definitely uses pinyin... Apr 4 at 20:34
  • @Orlando B. Manta Thanks for your clarification! Maybe I should have worded it better: I'm not saying that Chinese: A Comprehensive Grammar does not use pinyin (I doubt any beginner's Chinese textbook would!), but that it does not go into pinyin spelling rules, which is something OP specifically asked for. That's just my memory though - feel free to offer a correction if this is not the case, I'd be happy to edit my answer :)
    – Aries332
    Apr 4 at 23:28

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