Grammar is an extremely important part of any language. Be able to use Vietnamese naturally, you must understand certain grammatical structures. So is Vietnamese grammar difficult? Let’s explore with Jellyfish in the article below!
I. Is Vietnamese grammar difficult?
You must have heard a lot of Vietnamese people say “The hardships of struggling with a violent storm don’t compare to the hardships of mastering Vietnamese grammar“. But in fact, Vietnamese grammar is not too difficult, even easier than many other languages such as Chinese, Japanese, etc.
The advantage of Vietnamese grammar compared to other languages is that there are not many rules.The main difficulty is including personal pronouns and vocabulary due to the numerous synonyms and dialects in Vietnamese.
So what is the advantage of Vietnamese grammar compared to other languages?
- No gender division: French, German and many other languages often divide subjects and verbs according to gender, but Vietnamese does not. There will be no masculine or feminine concepts for the words, all you need to do is memorizing each word without learning by heart anything else.
- No articles: English has 3 articles “a”, “an” and”the” and many complicated rules attached, but Vietnamese does not.
- No passive sentence structures: For example, Japanese or English will have their own passive sentence structures, but Vietnamese will not. In most cases, you just need to add the word “bị” or “được”.
- Not many tenses and no conjugation: In Vietnamese, there are only 3 basic tenses: past – present – future and it doesn’t have any rules for verbs.
- Regardless of singular and plural nouns: If a tree is “1 cây”, then 2 trees will also be “2 cây”.
As you can see, the preliminary Vietnamese grammar structure is not difficult. Here is some basic grammar for beginners to help you start using Vietnamese as soon as possible.
See more: Foreigners study Vietnamese, why not?
II. Some basic Vietnamese grammar for beginners
To be able to speak Vietnamese basically, you must understand some grammar rules, including simple sentence structure, personal pronouns, tenses, interrogative and negative sentences. Follow the instructions outlined below!
2.1. Sentence Structure – Basic Vietnamese Grammar
Sentence structure in Vietnamese is one of the most basic grammar that you need to learn when you first start learning Vietnamese.
In fact, analyzing the sentence structure in many cases will be difficult, but most sentences will have a structure that is very similar to English.
Subject + Verb + (Object) + (Adverb)
- In a sentence, an adverb can appear at the beginning or at the end of a sentence. Some cases don’t necessarily have an adverb.
- The object here can be a person or many people, things, phenomena.
- Tôi ăn cơm (I eat rice)
|Tôi||The subject that is equivalent to “I” in English. In Vietnamese, there are many ways to say “I”. You can find out in the personal pronouns section.|
|Ăn||The verb meaning “eat”. In Vietnamese, only action words are considered as verbs.|
|Cơm||The object that means “rice” in English.|
- Anh yêu em (I love you)
(In which: “Anh” is the subject; “yêu” is the verb and “em” is the object).
- Mẹ tôi đi chợ vào mỗi buổi sáng (My mom goes to the market every morning)
(In which: “Mẹ tôi” is the subject, “đi chợ” là động từ and “vào mỗi buổi sáng” is the adverb)
2.2. Personal pronouns
In Vietnamese grammar, personal pronouns consist of 3 main persons: first person, second person and third person.
- First person: includes the pronoun used to refer to yourself.
- Second person: used to refer to the interlocutor.
- Third person:refer to people who are not involved in the communication but are mentioned to refer to individuals or things.
Here are some personal pronouns for your reference:
|First person||Tôi (when talking to a peer or a partner)||Chúng tôi|
|Mình (when talking to close friends)||Bọn mình/Chúng mình|
|Em (If you are younger than the listener)||Bọn em/Chúng em|
|Anh (If you are a man who is slightly older than the opposite person)||Bọn anh|
|Second person||Bạn (If the person is same age as you)||Các bạn|
|Anh (If the person is a man who is slightly older than you)||Các anh|
|Em (If the person is slightly younger than you)||Các em|
|Third person||Cô ấy/Chị ấy (if the individual in question is female)||Họ/Chúng nó/Người ta|
|Anh ấy (If the person in question is male)|
|Em ấy (If the person in question is younger than you)|
There are also many other personal pronouns classified by gender, age, and listener-speaker relationship.
- Anh yêu em (I love you)
(The speaker is male and may be older than the listener)
- Chú có khỏe không?
(The respondent is a male who is the same age as the speaker’s father)
- Cô ấy rất đẹp (She is so beautiful)
(The person mentioned is female).
2.3. 3 Basic tenses in Vietnamese
Actually, there is no structure about tenses in Vietnamese grammar. But to be able to speak Vietnamese, you can simply understand that in Vietnamese there will be 3 basic tenses: Present – Past – Future.
2.3.1. Present Tense
With the present tense structure in Vietnamese, we will combine with adverbs of time in the present such as: “Bây giờ”, “nay”, “hôm nay”,…or with the word “đang”.
This structure refers to things that occur during or near the time of speaking (Equivalent to English continuous tense).
- Subject + đang + object.
- Present adverb + subject + object.
- Tôi đang xem phim (I’m watching the movie)
- Bố tôi hiện nay đang làm bác sĩ (My dad is working as a doctor now)
- Bây giờ tôi đang ăn cơm (I’m eating at the moment)
2.3.2. Past Tense
To express what happened in the past, you just need to add the word “đã” before the verb or add adverbs of time in the past in the sentence.
Subject + đã + verb + (object) + (adverb)
- Tôi đã ăn cơm ( I ate rice)
- Hôm qua tôi ăn 2 bát cơm (Yesterday I ate 2 bowls of rice)
- Mẹ tôi đã đi chợ ngày hôm qua (My mother went to the market yesterday)
2.3.3. Future Tense
For the future tense in Vietnamese, Vietnamese people will often add the word “sẽ” before the verb or add the future adverbs “Ngày mai”, “Năm sau”, … to express upcoming events in the future.
Subject + sẽ + verb + (object) + (future adverb)
- Mẹ tôi sẽ đi chợ vào ngày mai (My mother will go to the market tomorrow)
- Tôi sẽ cố gắng hơn (I will try harder)
- Trưa mai tôi sẽ ăn 2 bát cơm (Tomorrow noon I will eat 2 bowls of rice)
Note: You can also invert the future adverb to the beginning of the sentence.
2.4. Interrogative sentences in Vietnamese
Interrogative sentences in Vietnamese grammar do not follow any rules. However, it is understandable that simply inserting question words at the beginning or end of a sentence will transform the sentence into a meaningful question.
- Interrogative pronouns (placed at the beginning of a sentence): ai, gì, nào, bao nhiêu, bao giờ, tại sao, khi nào…
- Interrogative words/phrases at the end of a sentence: rồi, sao, ra sao, sao vậy, à, hả, chứ, ở đâu, không….
In addition, there is an extra “?” at the end of each question.
- Anh yêu em không? (Do you love me?)
- Bạn vẫn còn làm ở chỗ cũ chứ? (Are you still working at your old company?)
- Bao giờ bạn chuyển trọ? (When are you planning to move in?)
- Khi nào mẹ bạn đi chợ? (When does your mother go shopping?)
- Vẫn đang làm việc ở công ty đấy à? (Are you still working at the company?)
- Bạn đang ở đâu? (Where do you live?)
2.5 Negative sentences
In order to say a negative sentence in Vietnamese, basically insert negative words before the verb.
Negative words include: không, không phải, chưa, đâu có, làm gì có…
Subject + không/chưa/không phải + verb + (object) + ( adverb)
- Hôm nay, mẹ tôi không đi chợ (My mother doesn’t go to the market today)
- Tôi chưa bao giờ hút thuốc (I have never smoked)
- Tôi không nhìn thấy bạn (I don’t see you)
- Anh không yêu em (I don’t love you)
- Tôi chưa ăn cơm (I have not eaten anything)
Here are the basics of Vietnamese grammar so you can refer. However, to use it effectively, you should take courses with Vietnamese teachers. You can refer to the high quality courses at Jellyfish with the information below:
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