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Stepping Stones Lesson Four

Audio Immersion  |  Audio Practice  |  Vocabulary Study  |  Vocabulary Review
Reading Practice  |  Exercises  |  Stepping Stones Home

Reading Practice

Practice reading the entire story aloud, with comprehension, using only the unannotated Chinese text.

If you get stuck, you can click on any character to display the pinyin and meaning of the character. Use the audio player to review the pronunciation of the text.

Grammar Notes

Using Measure Words

When counting objects, Chinese requires a measure word. 个 is the most common measure word and can be used with a wide variety of nouns. Therefore, to say “one person,” one must say  一个人。Different objects have different measure words associated with them, as demonstrated by 一座山。

Using 把

把 is an extremely common Chinese preposition that is often avoided by foreign learners. Whenever there is an action verb with a complement (result), it is possible to use  把. In this text, we had the example of  大力神把山移走了。In English one could simply translate it as “The God of Great Strength moved the mountain,” but it is important to recognize and practice the 把 construction.

Using 了

了 is a difficult particle to fully comprehend and appreciate. For now, it is sufficient to understand that, in this text, 了 represents the completion of a verb. In the sentence 大力神把山移走了,the 了 tells use that the action was completed, i.e. “the mountain was moved.” 了 does not perfectly mesh with the English conception of “past tense,” but it can be understood as a verbal completion marker.


The core meaning of 上 is “up,” “above,” “superior.” It can be used as a verb “to go to”/”to enter.” 上天 means “to ascend to Heaven.” 上山 would mean to go up the mountain. However, when used after a noun, it is a preposition roughly meaning “on” or “in.” 天上 means “in Heaven.” 山上 means “on the mountain.”


就 is a grammatical particle that indicates that that whatever happens next is close in association, quicker (than expected) or sooner than expected. 就 always immediately precedes a verb. In this lesson, we had :


This indicates that the God in Heaven made the God of Great Strength move the mountain immediately after hearing the Foolish Old Man’s words. The opposite of 就 is 才, which indicates dinstant association, slower (than expected), or later than expected.


让 actually means “let” or “allow.” However, in the context of this lesson, it actually means “to order,” “to command,” “to make.” For example, 爸爸让我回家* means “Dad made me go home.”

* 回家 huíjiā – to go home; to return home

Once you can read the story through (congratulations!), you're ready to go on to the next step.