Mr. Lin studied at St. John's University from 1911, graduating in 1916. He took postgraduate philological studies at Harvard in 1919-1920, receiving Master of Arts degree in absentia in 1921. Then he travelled in France in 1920, studied at Jena, Germany, in the spring of 1921.
Mr. Lin also studied indogermanic philology under Sievers and Streitberg at Leipzig in 1921-1923, receiving Dr. Phil in 1923.
Yutang Lin worked as a teacher at Tsing Hua College in 1916-1919 and associate editor of the "Chinese Social and Political Science Review" in 1918.
He returned to China and became professor of English philology at Peking National University in 1923-1926, lecturer on philology at Peking National Normal University in 1923-1926, dean of Peking National Women's Normal University and head of English department in 1926. Then he left Peking with the general exodus of radical professors in 1926 and became dean of Arts College of Amoy University and seriously started reforms, became wise and joined the Wuhan Government as secretary of Foreign Affairs Ministry under Eugene Chen in 1927.
Mr. Lin became managing editor of the "People's Tribune" after the Wuhan-Communist split in July 1927, left politics after the success of the revolutionists and devoted himself exclusively to writing, joined the Academia Sinica (National Research Academy) in 1930 as foreign-language editor and research fellow in philology contributing editor to the "China Critic" and columnist for the "Little Critic". He was first inventor of indexing system for Chinese characters, co-worker on the official romanization system.
Yutang Lin was an author of "Philological Essays", "Critical Essays" and other volumes in Chinese, "Kaiming English Books" and "War-Time Essays", playwright of "Confucius and the Queen of Wei" which precipitated a ministerial investigation at the birthplace of Confucius. He was a founder and editor of The Analects Fortnightly (Lunyii), a magazine devoted to the promotion of humour in China since 1932, founder and editor of This Human World (Jenchienshih), a magazine devoted to the promotion of the familiar style since 1984.