93. Reasons & Actions in Mandarin Chinese

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The Mandarin Blueprint Podcast focuses primarily on The Mandarin Blueprint Method online curriculum. Creators Luke Neale & Phil Crimmins answer questions and comments, discuss topics related to China and Mandarin learning and have special guests.

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0:40 Grammar Point

GW-Connector-Because-This-So-That-连词-因为……所以

This grammar point will help you understand how to express reasons for actions in one sentence.

The Chinese word for “because” is “因为 yīnwèi,” which literally translates to ‘reason (因)’ ‘for (为).’ When using 因为 in this way, you establish a reason for an action in the first part of the sentence, and then in the second part of your sentence you declare “所以 suǒyǐ -‘ So'” followed by the action. 

因为 yīnwèi ‘Because’ + Reason, 所以 suǒyǐ ‘So’ + Action

Let’s look at some example sentences:

Sentence 1:

因为要迟到了,所以我走得很快。 – Level 16
Yīnwèi yào chídào le, suǒyǐ wǒ zǒu de hěn kuài.
Because I’m going to be late, I’m walking fast.

The reason the speaker is performing the action of “走得很快 walking fast” is that he/she “要迟到了 is going to be late.” 

Note that in English, it’s unnecessary to say “Because” and “So” in the same sentence. It sounds a bit odd to say, “Because I’m going to be late, so I’m walking fast,” but in Chinese, you’ll hear this all the time. 

Interestingly, in English, we’ll tend to repeat the subject “我 – I,” whereas in Chinese, it’s only necessary to say it once. It’s not wrong to say it twice, but you might sound a bit redundant to a native speaker’s ear.

There’s also another way to say the same thing by switching the order. Check this out:

我之所以走得很快,是因为要迟到了。
Wǒ zhī suǒyǐ zǒude hěn kuài, shì yīnwèi yào chídào le.

Here, we’ve reversed the order to put the action first and the reason second. Two notes about this:

1. If you do this, you must put “之 “before “所以” and “是” before “因为.” “之” is a more formal character that serves the same function as “的” in that it indicated possession. Therefore when you say “我之所以,” it’s as if you’re saying “My ‘so’ is…”

2. This “之所以…是因为” structure is slightly more formal, but as with all formal Chinese, it’s not “wrong” to use it when speaking or texting, but you’ll come across more seriously than if you use the spoken form. Let’s look at another example:

Sentence 2:

因为我晚上8点才下班,(所以)他们等不了我回家去吃饭。 – Level 18
Yīnwèi wǒ wǎnshàng 8 diǎn cái xiàbān, (suǒyǐ) tāmen děngbùliǎo wǒ huíjiā qù chīfàn.
Because I don’t get off work until 8, they can’t wait for me to come home to eat.

The reason that “they – 他们” are “unable 不了” to perform the action of “waiting for me to come home to eat – 等我回家去吃饭” is that “I don’t get off work until 8 我晚上8点才下班.”

Here you’ll see that it’s possible to omit “所以” before the action if the reason established after “因为” is clearly what instigated it.  

Remember, you could also say:

他们之所以等不了我回家去吃饭,是因为我晚上8点才下班。

Sentence 3:

(因为)我家的钟坏了,所以我不知道现在是几点。 – Level 18
(Yīnwèi) wǒ jiā de zhōng huài le, suǒyǐ wǒ bùzhīdào xiànzài shì jǐdiǎn.
The clock in my house is broken, so I don’t know what time it is now. 

The reason that “I/me – 我” “does not – 不 “perform the action of “knowing what time it is now 知道现在是几点” is that “the clock in my house is broken 我家的钟坏了.” 

Note that it’s also possible to omit “因为” before the reason is the action after “所以” is clearly the result of the previous context. 

You could also say:

我之所以不知道现在是几点,是因为我家的钟坏了。

Keep this structure in mind as you continue to take in new input, and when you see it, ask yourself, ‘where is the reason and where is the action.” Keep it up!

8:31 Comments & Emails

Denis Aganin on ANKI DECKS INSIDE – Now Just LOOK at how SOLID that Foundation Is!

Amazing course. I’ll write a review later I promise 🙂

Initially, I wanted to finish within a month, as I have a
background, but full-time work on my business and family matters
made it a bit harder, haha. Still, 40 days is good enough for me,
now straight to the Intermediate Course!

09:27

Makai Allbert on ANKI DECKS INSIDE – Now Just LOOK at how SOLID that Foundation Is!

Great course!! Thanks for all your help. I will definitely be
writing some reviews! This has been a great journey, and super
excited to move on! Thanks guys

10:21

Kristina Vivsik on (BONUS) The Language Learning Tripod: Attitude

Yes! Well said! And again those that haven’t been there will
only believe what they’ve heard which is mostly negative. Chinese
are also very hardworking, friendly, and not to mention the
streets are super clean! Love you guys covering the attitude and
mindset individuals should have when learning about another
culture and language.

11:41

Babes Gutierrez on (BONUS) The Language Learning Tripod Part 3: Time

Thanks so much for investing your time and effort and share the
Mandarin Blue Print to people who like to learn the language . In
my opinion, you showed us the best way in learning this
language. This is my first time. I want to learn it because in my
line of work, we regularly see people speaking Mandarin and I
have 2 Good friends who can speak well. Again, thank you so much

14:27

Ann Bihari on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 目的

Curious if this sentence, 我的目的只是帮助人, may also be translated as
My objective/purpose is to be a helpful person ?

16:09

Christine on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 过来

Hi,
I am just confused by the ‘yixia’ purpose and position in this
sentence:
你过来看一下我的木勺子
If I have to translate this literally (and yes, I know one
shouldn’t really do that), it says:
You come over look ‘all of a sudden (or… in a short while’ –
the ‘yixia’) my wooden spoon
So I am assuming 一下 is an adverb here?
So is that then saying: come over ‘in a short while’, or look ‘in
a short while’?
Since if it is come over in a short while, then why is the 一下 not
directly after the ‘come over’?
Or is 看一下 a type of expression that is always used together?
Hope this makes sense?
Christine

ANSWER:

In this context, 一下 just means “for a moment.” There are actually three common ways to indicate that the verb (in this case, 看) happens ‘for a moment.’

1. Double up the verb – 你过来看看我的木勺子。
2. ‘Verb + 一 + verb’ – 你过来看一看我的木勺子。
3. Add ‘一下’ after the verb – 你过来看一下我的木勺子。

18:31

Simon on It’s a Word! 也

With the sentence 下午我想吃面包,也想吃鱼 would you need to add 这 at the start to highlight it was ‘this’ afternoon (as in the same day)?

19:33

Beth Perazzo on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 因为

In 因为我晚上8点才下班,他们等不了我回家去吃饭 why is it deng bu instead of bu deng?

20:34

Alex Sumray on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 水果

Hi one and all,

So occasionally there’ll be top-down words formed of characters
we already know like ‘从不’ but that weren’t introduced to us in
vocabulary unlocked lessons.

Is there a specific reason for this, or can we feel free to add
them ourselves?

谢谢

22:15

Alex Sumray on It’s a Word! 救

I’m rather struggling with this one;
我今天救了两只腿受伤的狗。
The grammar in this just seems so alien..not to re-invent 中文语法,
but wouldn’t;
我今天救了两只的狗腿受伤 make more sense for all involved!?

ANSWER:

我·救·狗

Here is the basic sentence. I’m betting the adding “今天“ and “了” isn’t confusing, so let’s add those in:

我·今天·救了·狗。

Everything else is simply modifying 狗. How many dogs?

我·今天·救了·两只狗。

OK, so it was two dogs, but do they have any other characteristics?

我·今天·救了·两只·腿受伤的·狗。

Ah, they are two dogs with wounded legs! No wonder you saved them 😉

24:55

Ann Bihari on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 上去

Do we use the “building” vocabulary word to indicate that we’re
talking about going upstairs inside/outside a building? That
makes sense to me. Then I got to thinking… what if we were
answering “how to I come up” in a tree house situation or steps
up a hill/mountain, presuming we would say it differently?

ANSWER:

我怎么上去?How do I go up? – This is the general term. You can assume that if a person says this, the context of “what” they’re going up (building, mountain, treehouse) is obvious.

我怎么上楼去?How do I go upstairs (go up the building)? 楼 lóu

我怎么上山去?How do I go up the mountain? 山 shān

我怎么上树屋去?How do I go up to the treehouse? 树屋 shùwū

As you can see, if you want to specify *what* you’re ‘going up,’ you simply place the specific location between “上” and “去.”

26:26

Ann Bihari on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 等等

What is the difference between shen2 me5 de5 and deng3 deng3 for
etc?

27:06

Darren Reger on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 哥们儿

Is this Beijing speak or representative of use everywhere in
China? The 们儿 being pronounced like murr sounds like a Beijing
accent.

27:59

Alex Sumray on 我和爸爸

Hi all,

I just wondered how everything is getting on with these stories
and longer form pieces?
How you go about it and you find the listening comprehension
generally?

For me, I am finding that I can pick up on words and phrases
after a few listens at the slower speed, but there will often be
a sentence or two I just can’t grasp and then lose the overall
meaning.

I’ll then be able to read it fairly easily at this stage, which
is when I’ll find myself going ‘ah, of course’.

Hoping my listening skills will improve slowly, so that this
comprehension can come before the reading part.

So ye, how you all getting on?

29:43

Winn Ekrangsi on Compound Final EI: 谁 shéi,她是谁 tā shì shéi?

Thanks for the lesson.
Can I also say “zhè shì shéi” for who is that?

30:44

kym Thomas on MAKE A MOVIE 时

时 and 识 are both pronounced in the second tone, right? is it ok to change from kitchen to hallway for 时 time movie as i have previously used Sean Connery in the kitchen for 识 knowledge movie?

32:27

sarah bardin on Pick a Prop 子

It’s OK to use your own child right?

33:17

Darren Reger on It’s a Word! 骑

I’ve often heard it as 骑 zing 车 as well, a sort of slurring
together with the 2 middle words.

34:20

Babes Gutierrez on Simple Final Ü (YU) Quiz

Hi, just reviewing some pronunciation and please correct me if I
am wrong, when I hear Anny pronounced these: Ke, He, starts with a K… what about GE, it says pronounced it as K in skill… I am
determined to learn how to speak, read, and write Mandarin slowly but surely. Listening is very important. Thank you so much for the clarification in advance.

36:20

Kim Krings on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 公司

点 When dian(3) is used in relation with numbers, does it relate to the time of day? When I see it, I am confused since we referred to it in relation to “a dot” or a little bit.

公司让我明天下午三点上班。

37:52

Jimmy Clemens on #GW-Helper-Change-助词-了-变化

Can’t the first two sentences technically mean “I missED you”
and “You COULD/WERE able to speak”? Or is there something I’m not thinking about or that we haven’t learned yet? (I think I
understand that the last sentence would need ‘mei’ instead of
‘bu’ to be past tense, so it’s easier to conclude that this ‘le’
simply means ‘was-but-now-isn’t change’…)

Sentence 1:

我想你了。 – Level 13
Wǒ xiǎng nǐ le.
I miss you (now).

Sentence 2:

你可以说话了。 – Level 17
Nǐ kěyǐ shuōhuà le
You can speak (now).

39:46

Georg Lohrer on Start “Shadowing” in Phase 4

Ah, now we’re coming to the real thing. Shadowing is great.
Already used it with ChinesePod-stories. I downloaded the MP3s,
cutted them with audacity, copied phrases 100 times after another
(of course with some gap) and then “go”. It’s amazing. After
20-30 times I started to make my tongue no longer flipping around like a maniac. And after 50 times, I started to sound more like the native. Well, I directly started with 100% which is sometimes quite challenging, as one is not familiar with special tongue and mouth movements that fast. But everything is learnable. I here and then also recorded myself and did a curve analysis. That’s the ultimate proof whether pace, intonation, and volume are similar (not equal of course).

40:53

Simon on New Vocabulary Unlocked! 时间

Would the phrase “what time is it?” use the vocabulary 时间?

ANSWER: No. You’d say 几点 or 几点钟 jǐdiǎn zhōng

41:55

Jason Pon on BONUS VIDEO: The 6 Types of Chinese Character (Part 3 of 3)

For characters that are all pronounced the same (i.e. 力 历 沥 苈 励
呖 疬), does that mean they are incomplete morphemes by themselves and require 2nd 3rd character to form compound words? Because when spoken out all, they will all sound the same… so how would you understand what the word means unless you have context or a complete word?

44:15

William Beeman on Casting Call c- 5/55

All of the examples you have provided begin with phonetic [k],
whereas Pinyin c is [ts]. This is a bit confusing. But the only
[ts] initial I can think of in English is tsetse fly.

45:47 Movies! 

This blog post explains the theory behind Movie Scenes and learning characters.

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 合

Heath Ledger and Lord Varys are trying to have a quiet
conversation in the lobby of my “e” location, but the Rolling
Stones mouth is constantly annoying them with his inane chatter
and boasting. He refuses to leave them alone even though they
have made their impatience and frustration very clear. Finally,
they both look at each other, jump up and grab him, and march him off to the nearest bathroom, where they struggle to FIT him into the toilet bowl, using brute strength and a toilet plunger.
Flush!

47:28

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 给

Gabriel is on the basketball court of my “ei” location. He is
playing hard with his team, sweating and breathing heavily.
Suddenly, trumpets sound and a Prince, with all of his entourage,
march onto the court. One of the servants places a silk-covered
chair and stool in front of Gabriel. He politely gestures for him
to sit down. Gabriel touches the upholstery with pleasure, and
happily sits down. Immediately, the Prince kneels before him and
gestures for Gabriel to GIVE him his foot. Gabriel is reluctant,
but the Prince continues to urge him to do so. Finally, Gabriel
agrees, and gives him his foot. The Prince looks hopeful, and
brings out the glass slipper. Unfortunately, the shoe doesn’t
fit. The Prince GIVES Gabriel a disappointed look. Gabriel shrugs
his shoulders, and jumps into the Prince’s arms. They live
happily ever after.

49:11

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 拿

Neal is kneeling in Olivia’s kitchen, HOLDing a glass slipper
out to her. She misunderstands, and holds out her hand to grab
it, but she forgets that she has a giant foam hand on, so she is
unable to HOLD it, and the glass slipper falls and smashes into a
million pieces. So much for fairy tale happy endings….

49:54

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 穴

Arnold Schwarzenegger is in the lobby of my “e” location, in
response to a tragedy. People are milling about, but Arnold
quickly ascertains that a section of the roof has come down and
trapped a little goat, because the animal’s legs are sticking out
from under the debris. Arnold quickly takes control of the
situation. He begins wielding a pick-axe in order to create a
HOLE. He continues to work away at the debris, enlarging the HOLE little by little. Finally, a little face can be seen and Arnold
is able to pull the baby goat out of the HOLE to thunderous
applause and much media attention.

51:12

Georg Lohrer on Make a Movie 校

Angelique Kerber (famous German tennis athlete) finished her
tennis workout and comes home into the -ao site. The only thing
she now likes is to have a shower. But what a pity, the whole
bathroom is full with grown trees. And between the trees she sees
a lot of networking-cable, which seems to connect the trees.
What’s what? Now she detects the big sign hanging from the
ceiling: “Welcome to Tree-SCHOOL”.

52:11

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 式

We are in the backyard of my childhood home. There is an archery competition occurring. All of the competitors look similar, and have similar STYLES of shooting their arrows. Suddenly, Sean Connery enters the arena. He is STYLED in a gorgeous Scottish kilt, white shirt and knee socks. The audience begins to murmur and point, appreciating his STYLISH outfit. He saunters up to his spot and instead of an arrow, pulls an I-beam out of his quiver. The audience gasps. He stands legs apart, slightly bent in order to accommodate the large I-beam into his bow. His STYLE is unorthodox but effective. The centre of the target is completely annihilated. He turns and gives a STYLISH bow to the wildly appreciative audience.

53:11

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 试

Continuing on from the previous movie scene, where Sean Connery
showed off his impeccable style and wins the archery competition
by shooting an I-Beam and annihilating the target, in this round
the crowd is begging Sean to TRY to shoot the arrow with his bow
instead of the I-beam. “TRY, TRY, TRY” they chant. Sean picks up
the arrow, then puts it down and picks up the I-beam, going back
and forth, undecided. Finally, he fits the arrow into his bow and
shoots it wildly off target. He throws up his hands as if to say,
“See, I TRIED, and it was a complete failure.” He then picks up
the I-beam, shoots it and annihilates the target once again.

54:44

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 份

Frank is sitting in front of a curtained stage in the backyard
of my “en” location. The curtains open, and The Rock steps out,
in full Hamlet costume. He begins, with grand gestures, “To be,
or not to be…that” and he stops. Frank stands up confused, and
holds out his hands palms up, as if to ask, “What’s going on
here?” The Rock shakes his pointer finger back and forth and
answers, “You only get A PORTION of the play unless you pay up!”
The Rock holds out a hat, and Frank reluctantly plods up to the
front of the stage and puts in his admission money. He returns to
his seat, and the Rock continues, “To be or not to be, that is
the question.”

55:47

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 刚

Gabriel is at the entrance of Erica Wang’s apartment. He is
walking up the stairs carrying a pair of scissors and a vegetable
peeler under a glass cover, as they are extremely valuable.
Suddenly, he trips and falls. The glass cover shatters and the
scissors and vegetable peeler go flying across the cement. Erica
comes to the door, sees Gabriel face down on the pavement, glass
everywhere, and implements strew across the sidewalk. With her
hands out, palms up she asks, “What JUST HAPPENED?”

56:44

Darren Reger on Make a Movie 肉

Robert Deniro is starving and runs into the bathroom of my ou
set because he can smell some meat in there. Inside he keeps
sniffing and can smell the meat but can’t find it. Over in the
corner is an umbrella but no meat. He puts in his x-ray goggles
(internal prop) and now he sees that the meat is under the
umbrella.

57:27

Georg Lohrer on Make a Movie 被

Boris Becker comes to the backyard of my “ei”-site. He eagerly
needs money – as regular. He wants to sell the cat-suit of his
last spouse. He stumbles into a Hells Angels Rocker (my 皮-prop
for skin-leather-leather-ware-Rocker). He offers him the
cat-suit. The last thing he remembers is a hard knock on his head
and then the rocker wraps him into a blanket. Well, that’s the
only way this guy will yield some money – ransom.

58:13

Richard Krause on Make a Movie 带

I couldn’t resist a movie based on recent events. Donald Trump
(d-) is the backyard of a house on the tropical island of
LangkAwI (-ai), surrounded by palms and bougainvillea. He wants to do another photo shoot for his evangelical political base, so he is carrying not 1, not 2, but 3 Christian crosses (十) and is
wearing a crown of thorns (冖) along with his business suit. In
the 32 degree Celsius heat and 95% humidity, he is sweating
profusely, so the cameraman hands him a large beach towel (巾) to dry off before snapping the photos.

59:31

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 前

Chelsey bursts into the kitchen of my “an” location. She has a
Viking helmet on her head, and a vegetable peeler in her hand. A
perfect pumpkin sits on the table, and eerie music plays in the
background. She peers out the window at the moon rising over the horizon. She holds the peeler up, ready to start the ritual
peeling of the pumpkin for the spell, but she cannot begin BEFORE the moon is in exactly the right place in the sky.

1:00:27

Darren Reger on Make a Movie 再

Zach Galifiniakis follows a pot of soil that is mysteriously
zipping about into the bathroom of my ai set to catch it. he puts
a cloche (glass cover prop) on top but somehow it escapes. He
does it AGAIN, it escapes AGAIN. Finally he puts the cloche on
top then puts a heavy razorblade on top of the cloche so it’ll
never escape AGAIN.

1:01:16

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 召

George is in the backyard of my “ao” location, holding a knife.
The Rolling Stones mouth is bouncing from ear to ear, irritating
George with his constant inquiries as to what George is doing.
Finally, George has had enough. He stops in the middle of the
yard, lifts both of this hands to the heavens, and tries to
SUMMON help. He begs the gods above to remove this irritant from his life. To his surprise, his SUMMONS works! The skies part, a bolt of lightning appears, and the Rolling Stones mouth is no
more! (although I’m sure he will reappear in future scenes…)

1:02:33

Jack on Make a Movie 因

yi character fighting the gingerbread man in a boxing ring
outside en location in charity match for a good CAUSE

1:03:01

Daan Helsloot on Make a Movie 系

Wedding in the backyard of my childhood home. My -xi character
shows ant-man and wee-man that they can cut the wedding pie with the katana to solidify their RELATIONSHIP.

1:03:36

Daan Helsloot on Make a Movie 妈

My -M actor squints his eyes because he thinks he sees his mum
at the entrance of my -A set. Upon getting closer he realises it
is a horse who put on some red lipstick.

1:04:18

Alex Sumray on Make a Movie 冰

Beyonce outside my -eng set.

The Whitewalkers are coming. Dun dun duuuunnn.
Everything turning to ice as they walk.

Beyonce takes a deep breath, readying herself, fire hydrant (水)
in hand. Let’s do this.

She starts to fire the powerful jet of water at them, but it just
freezes in midair.

The main whitewalker fella (whose name escapes me) snaps of an
icicle ( 冫) from this, chucks it at Beyonce who is instantly
frozen in her famous single ladies pose.

1:05:10

Della Fuller on Make a Movie 绍

Sean Connery is in the backyard of my “ao” location, surrounded
by many people at a cocktail party. He is relaxing on a lounge
chair with a beautiful silk throw over his legs, sipping a gin
and tonic. On the table beside him there is a small bell. Every
time he rings the bell it is the signal for someone to come over
to Sean’s chair, shake hands, and make small talk so that they
can get ACQUAINTED.