Here’s where things get pretty different from English. A lot of words that act like adjectives in Mandarin are actually verbs meaning “to be (adjective).”

But at the same time, they can be used as an attribute to modify nouns. Let’s have a look.”

You can place the adjective directly in front of the noun, like so:

Bad person

Small dog

Or you can use the connector 的:

Beautiful girl

These adjectival phrases can get very complex. If you have any experience with German, the same general principle for constructing adjectival phrases is at work here.

Instead of a clause using “that” or “which” as in English, the entire adjectival phrase is connected to the noun with 的 like so:

The child who doesn’t have shoes (the not-having-shoes child)

The restaurant we went to yesterday.

You often see single adjectives with the adverb 很, which is usually translated as “very” but can also simply link a noun with an adjective. Other adverbs include 好 “very”, 真 “truly”, and 非常 “exceptionally”.

This house is very big.

This cat is really cute.

Your room is incredibly small.