Musings in Chinese on gardening

Snow Pea Flower
Pink Snow Pea Flower

Well, I don’t exactly have zucchinis coming out of my ears, but this year I took care to spray the plants with a 1:10 hydrogen peroxide solution at the first appearance of powdery mildew, and we have enough zucchinis to enjoy and share with our 100-year-old neighbor.

我喜欢园艺, 尤其是种蔬菜.
Wǒ xǐhuān yuányì, yóuqí shì zhòng shūcài.
I enjoy gardening, especially growing vegetables.

看着幼小的植物逐渐长大, 心中无比高兴。
Kànzhe yòuxiǎo de zhíwù zhújiàn zhǎng dà, xīnzhōng wúbǐ gāoxìng.
It gives me immense pleasure to watch the young plants grow up gradually.

能为家人提供新鲜的蔬菜, 令我引以为豪.
Néng wéi jiārén tígōng xīnxiān de shūcài, lìng wǒ yǐn yǐ wéi háo.
It makes me proud to be able to provide my family with fresh vegetables.

此外, 园艺还给了我许多人生道理的启示.
Cǐwài, yuányì hái gěi le wǒ xǔduō rénshēng dàolǐ de qǐshì.
Besides, gardening has also given me many revelations about life.

俗话说: “春耕,夏耘,秋收,冬藏.”
Súhuà shuō: “Chūn gēng, xià yún, qiū shōu, dōng cáng.”
As the adage goes, “Plough in spring, weed in summer, harvest in autumn, store in winter.”

种适合在您的地区生长植物, 而不是您梦想可以种植的植物.
Zhòng shìhé zài nín de dìqū shēngzhǎng de zhíwù, ér bùshì nín mèngxiǎng kěyǐ zhòngzhí de zhíwù.
Plant what will grow in your region, not what you dream would grow.

我们做事不也要看天时, 地利, 人和吗?
Wǒmen zuòshì bù yě yào kàn tiānshí, dìlì, rén hé ma?
When we do a project, don’t we also need to consider the right timing, the right place, and the right team?

一颗小种子可以长成一棵大树。
Yī kē xiǎo zhǒngzǐ kěyǐ zhǎng chéngyī kē dà shù.
A tiny seed could grow into a large tree.

我认为每个人也都有很大的潜力。
Wǒ rènwéi měi gèrén yě dōu yǒu hěn dà de qiánlì.
I think there is also great potential in each person.

植物需要肥料, 就像人体需要营养一样。
Zhíwù xūyào féiliào, jiù xiàng réntǐ xūyào yíngyǎng yīyàng.
Plants need fertilizers just like a human body needs nourishment.

人们也需要教育和修养来滋养他们的心灵。
Rénmen yě xūyào jiàoyù hé xiūyǎng lái zīyǎng tāmen de xīnlíng.
People also need education and cultivation to nourish their minds.

种瓜得瓜, 种豆得豆.
Zhòngguādéguā, zhòngdòudédòu.
You get what you sow.

但是,我们必须付出努力并且要有耐心。
Dànshì, wǒmen bìxū fùchū nǔlì bìng qiě yào yǒu nàixīn.
However, we must put in the effort and have patience.

当然, 我们不应该试图揠苗助长.
Of course, we should not try to help the shoots grow by pulling them upward (i.e. spoil things by excessive enthusiasm).

坏习惯就像杂草;它们阻碍我们的发展。
Huài xíguàn jiù xiàng zá cǎo; tāmen zǔ’ài wǒmen de fǎzhǎn.
Bad habits are like weeds; they hinder our development.

就像去芜存菁, 我们可以保留我们的优良人品并消除缺点.
Jiù xiàng qù wú cún jīng, wǒmen kěyǐ bǎoliú wǒmen de yōuliáng rénpǐn bìng xiāochú quēdiǎn.
Like culling the plants, we could keep our good qualities and elminate the shortcomings.

行行出状元; 我们应该虚心向有经验的人学习.
Háng háng chū zhuàngyuán; wǒmen yīnggāi xūxīn xiàng yǒu jīngyàn de rén xuéxí.
There are masters in every profession; we should learn humbly from experienced people.

如果您失败了, 不要气馁. 明年再试试.
Rúguǒ nín shībàile, bùyào qìněi. Míngnián zài shì shì.
If you fail, don’t lose heart. Try again next year.

找出问题所在, 对症下药.
Zhǎo chū wèntí suǒzài, duìzhèngxiàyào.
Find out where the problem is and apply the proper remedy.

一粒米, 一滴汗.
Yī lì mǐ, yīdī hàn
A grain of rice, a drop of sweat.

在感激有菜蔬享用之际, 我们应该尽力保护地球和环境.
Zài gǎnjī yǒu càishū xiǎngyòng zhī jì, wǒmen yīnggāi jìnlì bǎohù dìqiú hé huánjìng.
While we appreciate having fresh produce to enjoy, we should do our best to protect the earth and the environment.

What’s a compound-complex sentence?

Compound-Complex Sentence


All the sentence patterns that I presented previously belong to the category of the simple sentence, which basically consists of one subject and one predicate. There’s really nothing complicated about compound and complex sentences. You are using them all the time. The Chinese form compound and complex sentences in much the same way as you do in English.

VIII. Compound Sentence = Independent Clause + Independent Clause
When you stick two or more independent statements together, you have formed a compound sentence.
Each statement within a compound sentence follows the structure of a simple sentence, and is called an independent clause. Just as we have likened the simple sentence to a small one-story dwelling, we could think of a compound sentence as a one-story duplex, triplex or quadruplex. Each individual unit is an independent entity that does not affect the other units.

The independent statements in a compound sentence are usually joined togther by such conjuctives as “and”, “or”, “but” and “however”.

As shown in the following example, the “and” conjunctive is often omitted in Chinese:

我会说英语, 我也会说葡萄牙语.
Wǒ huì shuō yīngyǔ, wǒ yě huì shuō pútáoyáyǔ.
I speak English, and I also speak Portuguese.

可是. (kěshì) and 但是. (dànshì) both mean “but” or “however”.

我会说英语, 可是我不会说葡萄牙语.
Wǒ huì shuō yīngyǔ, kěshì wǒ bùhuì shuō pútáoyáyǔ.
I speak English, but I cannot speak Portuguese.

IX. Complex Sentence = Dependent Clause + Independent Clause
A complex sentence is like a two-story house, the upper story being dependent on the lower story because it cannot stand on its own. There are a few different types of dependent clauses. The following examples employ adverbial clauses that describe a condition under which the action in the independent clause takes place. For additional examples of the various types of dependent clauses, see Chapter 25 of “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes”.

如果你累了, 休息一下吧. .
Rúguǒ lèi le, xiūxī yīxià ba.
If you feel tired, rest a bit.

Obviously, “If you feel tired” is not a complete sentence. If you just say this to someone, and nothing else, he or she would be cranking his or her neck in anticipation of what’s to follow. This is why such a clause is called a dependent clause. The main statement, “rest a bit” is the independent clause.

The following line is quoted from the second stanza of 情人的眼泪 (qíngrén de yǎnlèi), or “Lover’s Tears”. We talked about the first stanza of this song in a previous post.

要不是有情郎跟我要分开,
Yàobushi yǒu qíng láng gēn wǒ yào fēnkāi,
Were it not that my lover is parting with me,

我眼泪掉不会掉下来, 掉下来.
Wǒ yǎnlèi bùhuì diào xiàlai, diào xiàlai.
my tears won’t be falling down, falling down.

Now that the rainy season is upn us, you might want to heed this advice:

当你感觉天色不对的时候,
Dāng nǐ gǎnjué tiānsè bùduì de shíhòu,
At the time when you sense that the color of the sky isn’t right,

那么, 你最好把雨伞带好.
nàme, nǐ zuìhào bǎ yǔsǎn dài hǎo.
then it’s best that you bring the umbrella along.

Just as with English, you can often omit a few words from a sentence and still retain its full meaning. You can see how this is done in the third stanza of the lyrics for the song, 雨中即景 (Yǔ Zhōng Jíjǐng The Rain Impromptu), which we looked at previously.

感觉天色不对,
Gǎnjué tiānsè bùduì,
When you sense that the sky’s color isn’t right,

最好把雨伞带好.
zuìhào bǎ yǔsǎn dài hǎo.
it would be best to bring the umbrella along.

X. Compound-Complex Sentence = two or more independent clauses + one or more dependent clauses
Here we are talking about the eqivalent of a two-story duplex, in which one of the two units may be a single-level abode.

The following example contains two independent clauses and one dependent clause. Do you see that “如果下雨 (rúguǒ xiàyǔ)” is the dependent clause?

我会来, 但是如果下雨, 我会迟到.
Wǒ huì lái, dànshì rúguǒ xiàyǔ, wǒ huì chídào.
I will come, but if it rains then I will be late.

In the song, 給我一個吻 (Gěi Wǒ Yī Gè Wěn Give Me A Kiss), that we talked about before, there are actually two pairs of independent clauses nestled within a complex sentence structure.

纵然瞪著你的眼睛,你不答应,
Zòngrán dèng zhe nǐ de yǎnjing, nǐ bù dāying,
Though you glare at me, and you won’t consent,

我也要向你请求,决不灰心.
wǒ yě yào xiàng nǐ qǐngqiú, juébù huīxīn.
I still will beg you, and won’t lose heart.

Now, how would you translate the following sentence to Chinese?

He will come, but if when he comes, I’m not here, then we still won’t be able to meet.

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