Additional Resources for Intermediate and Advanced Students

Grammar reference books, readers, and other resources to augment and accelerate your learning

Additional Resources for Beginning Students

Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar: A Student's Guide to Correct Structures and Common Errors (Qin Xue Herzberg and Larry Herzberg) is, as the title suggests, a helpful guide to basic Chinese grammar patterns and mistakes commonly made by English-speaking students of Mandarin, such as those due to overly literal translations of common expressions.

Chinese Demystified: A Self-Teaching Guide (by Claudia Ross, coauthor of Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar below) includes guides for pronouncing Mandarin and writing Chinese characters, information about important grammar topics, and accompanying exercises.

Resources for Intermediate and Advanced Students

Niubi: The Real Chinese You Were Never Taught in School (Eveline Chao): One fascinating effect of China’s continuing growth and modernization on its popular culture is the explosion in slang expressions that has occurred in recent years, in large part because of the use of the Internet by ever-larger numbers of Chinese citizens. As in the United States, wildly creative, funny, and vulgar new slang can become popular overnight as a result of mass exposure online. Many now-common colloquialisms are given a clear and thorough explanation in this book. For anyone who wants to really speak like a native and have fun with the dynamic, living language that is contemporary Mandarin, this book is a great resource. Available for iBooks.

Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (Claudia Ross and Jing-heng Sheng Ma): For the serious student of Mandarin, this 432-page guide presents detailed, comprehensive information about contemporary grammar and usage. To make the book as useful and relevant as possible, its authors favor the practical over the obscure.


The Graded Chinese Reader series by Shi Ji (beginning with Graded Chinese Reader 1) starts out at a more advanced level than the Chinese Breeze series above. It's also different in format, as each volume is a larger compilation of stories by famous writers. Like the Chinese Breeze series, each of these books comes with an MP3 CD presenting an audio version of the text for each story. Consider using a different seller than Amazon (see the "More Buying Choices" link on the Amazon page), whose prices for these volumes are currently much higher, but be aware that some options require shipping directly from China.

Capturing Chinese: Short Stories from Lu Xun's Nahan (collected and edited by Kevin John Nadolny), described as "a guide to help students of Chinese read Chinese literature, learn Chinese history, and study Chinese characters," presents a number of famous short stories by Lu Xun, one of the most important and influential writers in modern Chinese literature. The text of each story is accompanied by vocabulary notes, historical and cultural commentary, summaries, and pinyin for the entire text—everything an intermediate or advanced student needs to process this challenging material. MP3's of native speakers reading the stories are also provided.