You are here: Home > Grammar > Parts of speech > Particles of Chinese Language

Particles of Chinese Language

Particles are functional components of speech that cannot stand alone by themselves. They need other factors of speech to augment. Chinese helps make liberal use of these particles, because it lacks inflection and verbal expressive tones such as the Western non-tonal languages.
The particles you have met up with most frequently are “de”(的) and “ma”(吗). Make close friends with “de”. You and “de” will likely be working together closely in your exploration of Chinese. Ma, the query particle, is additionally a great ally to possess on your side, but “ma” will only show up when asking a question. You'll typically uncover “de” in three standard circumstances. First and foremost, “de” likes to follow adjectives:
Chinese English
měilì de fēngguāng beautiful scenery
yǒumíng de gēxīng  famous star (singer)
yǒuyòng de zhōnggào useful advice
zhēngshì de tuìfáng shíjiān official checkout time
The second place you will find “de” is after nominal expressions. A nominal expression is an adjective-like clause that plays the part of the relative clause. Chinese does not have words for “that,” “which,” “who,” etc. Check out the following examples; the “that” in the Chinese serves to clarify the subject.
English Explained Translation Chinese
These are the fruits that I like. These are the<I like> de fruits. Zhè xiē shì wǒ  xǐ huān de shuǐ guǒ.
The man who came yesterday. The <yesterday came> de that man. Zuótiān lái de nèige rén.
List of Particle
Chinese Pinyin Definition
 lā sentence final particle that adds politeness to an imperative sentence; sentence final particle that indicates a change of situation
(sentence final particles used at the end of question sentences); (sentence final particle that softens an assertion)
a modal particle ending sentence, showing affirmation, approval, or consent
罢了 bàle a modal particle indicating (that's all, only, nothing much)
de of; ~'s (possessive particle); (used after an attribute); (used to form a nominal expression); (used at the end of a declarative sentence for emphasis)
de structural particle: used after a verb (or adjective as main verb), linking it to following phrase indicating effect, degree, possibility etc.
de -ly; structural particle: used before a verb or adjective, linking it to preceding modifying adverbial adjunct
过了 guòle beyond
好了 hǎole OK; all done
极了 jíle extremely; exceedingly
la sentence-final particle, contraction of 了啊, indicating exclamation; particle placed after each item in a list of examples
le (modal particle intensifying preceding clause); (completed action marker)
lou (final particle equivalent to )
lo (final particle similar to 了, indicating that something is obvious)