Lindie Botes

Lindie Botes

I'm a South African designer and language YouTuber with a passion for foreign languages. I aim to inspire, motivate and guide you in your journey to learn new languages!
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An A to Z Grammar for Chinese Learners: textbook review

Introducing my favorite Chinese grammar reference book!

Hello friends! Today I’m reviewing my favorite book for Chinese grammar. It’s called An A to Z Grammar for Chinese Learners. Before I continue, please take note note: this book is written using Traditional Chinese. If you don’t know the difference between Traditional and Simplified Chinese, you can take a look at this blog post I wrote!

If you decide to buy it, note that nothing is in simplified and all examples are relevant to Taiwan. In a recent Instagram story I posted a page from this book and many people asked what it is, so I thought I’d make a full post about it.

I bought this book in Taipei when I visited Taiwan two years ago. The book comes from the Mandarin Training Center at National Taiwan Normal University, and it’s amazing to have if you’re a grammar geek like me! Please note that a book like this is not a substitute for a textbook that teaches you how to speak and learn how to read and write Chinese. This is at least for intermediate learners who want to learn grammar patterns and use them correctly, so don’t expect to learn how to speak Chinese from zero through this (although, of course, learning these structures will improve your speaking)!

The book works like a dictionary, in an A to Z format. There are plenty of useful example sentences and it’s very clear to understand! I haven’t found a lot of good resources for Traditional so I’m very happy with it.

Book structure

The beginning of the book goes through basic grammar rules and helps you understand the word order, similarities and differences to English. This is a good base to have before diving into grammar structures.

After the grammar introduction, it starts from grammar structures beginning with the “A” sound, then “B” and so forth. Each grammar pattern starts with explaining the function, then going through structures and then usage. The book also carefully explains negations and question forms of the grammar point.

At the back is an English to Chinese index. For example, if you are looking how to say “almost” or “definitely” or “let alone” or “each and every” in Chinese, you can look these up in English first and then turn to the relevant page.

This post is not sponsored. If you would like me to review another textbook, or if you’re using this one, please let me know in the comments!

What's the verdict?

This book is for you if you are:

  • Learning traditional Chinese
  • Familiar with Taiwanese culture or at least interested in it
  • Looking to improve your grammar
  • Unsure about specific rules surrounding grammar structures and need a reference
  • Looking to learn grammar but not with a heavy focus on vocabulary.

This book is not for you if:

  • You are a beginner still learning how to have basic conversations
  • You are only learning simplified Chinese
  • You hate boring grammar explanations and are looking for something interactive and fun
  • You need audio files to accompany your books

Ready to start learning Chinese? Check out these cool resources!

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Lindie,
    Thanks for your review and for all the information and resources you are sharing. The book actually contains the same grammar points as the first four volumes of A Course in Contemporary Chinese, publisher’s page here:
    That course is a systematic introduction to Chinese from a Taiwan perspective, written in traditional characters. In addition to the grammar points shared with A to Z Grammar, it has all the usual stuff language textbooks have, dialogs, texts, exercises… It also has downloadable audio, so if you download that and either skip the recordings of dialogs, texts and vocabulary, or use it for listening practice, you get recordings of the example sentences in A to Z Grammar.
    Maybe this will be useful to you or to others who are looking for Chinese resources.
    Good luck with your language studies!

  2. Thanks for the recommendation – this sounds exactly what I am looking for! Any ideas where I can buy it?

  3. I got mine here:
    The shipping was a bit expensive though, so make sure you spend some time listening to the audio and looking at the sample pages before you buy in order to make sure the books really are what you need. That being said, I really like the books, with the workbooks and teacher’s manuals they make a very comprehensive collection of learning materials for Mandarin.

  4. Hi lindie. Can you please recommend me any kanji dictionary.
    P. S. Thank you for being a motivator. You are great 짱짱. 고맙습니다.

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