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Opinions on Chinese Books by Yip and Rimmington


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I'm in the UK at the moment and am relishing the opportunity to buy books not readily available in China. I had a chance to look through some textbooks by Yip Po-Ching and Don Rimmington. They all looked good but I didn't have too much time to compare them so if anyone has feedback, I'd like to hear your opinions.

The first two are:

(1) Chinese Comprehensive Grammar (Comprehensive Grammars)

(2) Chinese - An Essential Grammar (2nd Edition)

Is the "Comprehensive" grammar simply more...er..comprehensive than the essential grammar? It looked that way, so if I buy it is there any point in buying the essential grammar as well? I noticed that both of these books have the simplified Chinese characters as well as Pinyin (I mention this simply because I seem to recall reading that at least one of these used pinyin only. Perhaps it was the 1st edition of the "essential" grammar)

The other two books are:

(3) Basic Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook

(4) Intermediate Chinese: A Grammar and Workbook

These also look good but I didn't have enough time to compare in any detail. If I bought these two books, would there be any point in buying the "comprehensive" grammar as well?



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The Comprehensive Grammar has Hanzi in its examples, Essential (1. Ed. reprinted 2000) hasn't. Not only is C fuller than the E, its table of contents is way superior for finding what you're looking for.

Reading the E from cover to cover you'll of course learn a lot, but I find it less useful as a reference grammar. Mine is demoted to bathroom reading. Most of the time, I find what I'm looking for in the C, which has its place in my study. I have looked at a few others, but the C remains my favourite,

I haven't seen Nos. 3 & 4.

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I think it depends what stage your chinese is at, and what you intend to use the books for.

If you already have a good foundation of chinese, then the Comprehensive Grammar is a good reference book. I wouldn't bother with the Essential Grammar, because the Comprehensive Grammar should cover everything.

As for the Basic Grammar and Workbook, this is an excellent book, particularly if you are beginning chinese study. Needless to say, there are plenty of exercises (with answers) which are useful to help you practise what you've learnt, but the other advantage of this book (compared with the Comprehensive Grammar) is that it essentially assumes no knowledge of chinese to begin with, and the vocabulary used is built up throughout the book, so provided you work through it sequentially, practically all of the vocabulary needed for the exercises is covered previously in the book.

The Intermediate Grammar is just a continuation from the Basic Grammar, and is also a good book. I actually enjoyed reading the Basic Grammar more (I don't know why - perhaps chinese was just more of a novelty then), but the Intermediate Grammar contains quite a lot of fundamental grammar not covered in the Basic Grammar, and that you will need to know before you have a complete foundation in the language.

If your budget allows, I suggest buying the Comprehensive Grammar, Basic Grammar and Intermediate Grammar.

If you are a beginner and can only buy one book, then I recommend the Basic Grammar.

If you already have a good foundation and can only buy one book, then I recommend the Comprehensive Grammar.

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Hello everyone - thanks for your very helpful replies.

Anonymoose, based on your comments I think I shall buy the Comprehensive Grammar as well as the Basic and Intermediate Grammar and exercises which is what I'd been leaning towards anyway. (Not sure if the budget does allow but since the budget director is out of town......)

Once again, thanks everyone for the comments.


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I own the Intermediate text, and looking back it was the book that really helped me get out of rut in my studies and progress to more advanced work. The exercises will help you master the grammar, especially if you have a native to check your work and give you tips.

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