Chinese has no articles. No 'the', no 'an', no nothing.|
The word 'no' does not exist in Chinese. 'He drink not.'
Chinese has no singular and plural. "One child, two wife, three headache....".
Since there are no singular and plural, subject-verb agreement doesn't exist.
Chinese does not distinguish between countable and non-countable nouns; one money, three homework, ten child, many milk.
Chinese has no gender forms, other than words for 'he, she, it' - which have the same pronunciation.
Chinese has no Nominative or Accusative cases. 'I' and 'me' are the same, as are 'he' and 'him', 'she' and 'her'.
Chinese has no Genitive case in either verbs or nouns: One word (de) is used to indicate possession. 'I de' is 'my' or 'mine'. Etc.
Chinese has almost no use for small words like prepositions, conjuctions, auxiliaries ....... in, at, to, of, for .....
Chinese has no prepositions for Dative, Ablative or Locative cases: 'I give she book.' 'I go store.' 'I live Shanghai.' 'Thank you reply me'. 'I travel boat.'
Chinese verbs do not express time, but simply action, so Chinese has no verb tenses. Time expressions are done with temporal adverbs. 'He future travel.' 'I tomorrow shop.'
The Chinese do not talk in the present about the future being in the past, for e.g.: 'By Friday I will have gone...'.
Chinese verbs are one word and express a simple action meaning, in contradistinction to English. This is not a small thing. In English, the verbs carry so much of the meaning that we could often toss the rest of the sentence without loss.
'I would have had to have gone to Beijing had I wanted to do what you have suggested.' is a complete sentence in English constructed (almost) entirely with verbs; to the Chinese, it's jibberish.
Our need for the verb 'to be' is a non-existent concept - English says, 'I am going'; Chinese says, 'I go', ‘I will happy’, ‘We will always together’, I will back on Monday.
Chinese has two verbs meaning 'to be'. One verb means 'to exist', as does the English 'to be'. The other means 'to be somewhere', relating to position. This is a more sensible approach than making a verb carry two meanings as we do in English.
When we say (in English) 'I am on the street', we are really saying, 'I exist on the street'. That's not precisely our meaning but we have no other way to express the sentiment of physically being in a place. Chinese solves that with the extra 'to be in a place' verb.
Chinese does not have hundreds of words that function as different parts of speech with minor variations in spelling, like 'hesitate, hesitant, hesitation ...'. 'Don't be hesitated ...' makes perfect sense in Chinese.
Chinese has no negative questions. Never say to a Chinese friend 'You aren't going to the party, are you?' If he’s not going, he will answer, “Yes”.
There is trouble with large numbers. English has a name for ones, tens, hundreds and thousands. We have no name for ten thousand or one hundred thousand - we just say 'ten of those back there' or 'one hundred of those back there'. Chinese has names for ten thousand and one hundred thousand, so the mental arithmetic is different. To a Westerner, 1 million is a thousand thousands; to a Chinese, it's 100 ten thousands.
Also, in the Western system we place a comma after each set of 3 zeros, because we must count by thousands. But Chinese have more number place names so they count by ten thousands, and that places the comma after each set of 4 zeros.
This often leads to humorous results when people try to do quick mental translations between the two systems. The cost of a $250,000 house will likely produce either 25 hundred thousands ($2.5 million) or 2.5 ten thousands ($25,000).