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Stepping Stones Lesson Five

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 (Continued)

In this chapter, a more old-fashioned usage of measure words appears. Notice that the man’s sign reads 银三百两,literally “silver, 300 taels,” as opposed to 三百两银。Modern Chinese tends to use the measure word followed by the noun, but this more traditional pattern does appear from time to time.

Verb + Complement

Modern Chinese uses a “verb + complement” grammatical system where the core verb is followed by a complement, or result. 偷走 literally means “to steal (and take) away.” 看见 is also verb + complement, indicating “to look (and then) see.” It is important to note that, unlike English, the negative form will have 不 interjected between verb and result. Thus; “can’t steal (and take) away” is actually 偷不走;”can’t see” is 看不见。

Using 都

都 is an adverb indicating “both” (in the case of two) or “all” (in the case of three or more). For example, “the three people all know” would be 三个人都知道。All Chinese adverbs are placed prior to the verb.

Using 在。。。上/下

在 is a universal locative. In this chapter, we see “under the ground” 在地下, which could be literally understood as “at the ground’s bottom.” “On the ground” is simply 在地上 or “at the ground’s top.”

Using 就 (Continued)

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:


Here 就 is more used for a close connection between events. It can be understood as something to the effect of “just at the place where he buried the silver, he erected a sign that said “This Spot Doesn’t Have 300 Taels of Silver.” The opposite of 就 is 才, which indicates distant association, slower (than expected), or later than expected.

Using 前/后

后 hòu means “after.” However, its location is always after the activity described. For example, “after going home” would be 回家后。The opposite of 后 is 前 qián。以后 yǐhòu/以前 yǐqián and 之后 zhīhòu/之前 zhīqián are also frequently used.

* 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.