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10 essential verbs in Chinese you must know (1)

Pierre Cerchiaro | April 17, 2019 | | 0 Comments
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 Like in any other language, certain verbs in Chinese are used all the time in daily life and can help you express basic but essential sentences to be understood by everyone in China. In this article, we will present to you the most common Chinese verbs followed by sample sentences with characters, pinyin, explanation and English translation.


 

shì - To be

我的妈妈是医生。

wǒ de māmā shì yīshēng

[我的 My] [妈妈 mom] [是 be] [医生 doctor]

My mother is a doctor.

马云是阿里巴巴公司的老板。

Mǎ Yún shì ālǐbābā gōngsī de lǎobǎn

[马云 Ma Yun, a name] [是 be] [阿里巴巴 Alibaba] [公司 company] [的 possessive particle] [老板 boss]

Ma Yun is Alibaba company’s CEO.

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披萨是意大利的特色。

pīsà shì yìdàlì de tèsè

[披萨 pizza] [是 be] [意大利 Italy] [的 possessive particle] [特色 special feature]

Pizza is an Italian specialty.

 

有 yǒu - To have

我家有三间房间。

wǒ jiā yǒu sān jiān fángjiān

[我 My] [家 house] [有 have] [三 three] [间measure word] [房间 room]

There are three rooms in my house .

 

李小姐有十年的工作经验。

lǐ xiǎo jiě yǒu shí nián de gōngzuò jīngyàn

[李 Li, a common Chinese last name ] [小姐 Miss] [有 have] [十 ten] [年 years] [的 possessive particle] [工作 work] [经验 experience]

Miss Li has 10 years of working experience.

 

冰箱里还有三个苹果。

bīngxiāng lǐ hái yǒu sān gè píngguǒ

[冰箱 fridge] [里 inside] [还 still] [有have] [三 three] [个 measure word] [苹果 apple]

There are still three apples in the fridge.

 

要 yào - To want

你要看哪一部电影? 

nǐ yào kàn nǎ yī bù diànyǐng ? 

[你 you] [要 want] [看 look] [哪 which] [一 one][部 measure word] [电影 movie]

Which movie do you want to watch?

 

你今天晚上要吃什么?

nǐ jīntiān wǎnshàng yào chī shénme ? 

[你 you] [今天 today] [晚上 evening] [要 want] [吃eat] [什么 what]

What do you want to eat this evening?

 

为什么她不要陪你买衣服

wèishénme tā bù yào péi nǐ mǎi yīfú 

[为什么 why] [她 she] [不 negative prefix] [要 want] [陪 accompany] [你 you] [买 buy] [衣服 clothes]

Why doesn’t she want to buy clothes with you?

 

喜欢 xǐhuān - To like

我的姐姐不喜欢吃臭豆腐。

wǒ de jiějiě bù xǐhuān chī chòudòufu

[我的 my] [姐姐 big sister] [不 negative prefix] [喜欢 like] [吃 eat] [臭豆腐 stinky tofu]

My sister doesn’t like to eat stinky tofu.


stinky tofu

你最喜欢踢足球还是游泳?

nǐ zuì xǐhuān tīzúqiú hái shì yóu yǒng ? 

[你 you] [最 most] [喜欢 like] [踢足球 play football] [还是 or, used in a interrogative question] [游泳 swim]

Do you prefer playing football or swimming? 

如果你喜欢我,你就可以跟我说。

rúguǒ nǐ xǐhuān wǒ,nǐ jiù kěyǐ gēn wǒ shuō 

[如果 if] [你 you] [喜欢 like] [我 me],[你 you] [就 just] [可以 can] [跟 with] [我 me] [说 say]

If you like me, you can just tell me.

 

看 kàn - To look at,to see,to watch,to read

她今天只想待家看电视。

tā jīntiān zhǐ xiǎng dài jiā kàn diànshì 

[她 she] [今天 today] [只 only] [想 want] [待 stay] [家 home] [看 look] [电视 TV]

Today she only wants to stay at home and watch TV.


family reading time

 

小红喜欢在咖啡厅看书。

Xiǎohóng xǐhuān zài kāfēitīng kàn shū 

[小红 Xiaohong, a name] [喜欢 like] [在 at] [咖啡厅 coffee shop] [看 look] [书 book]

Xiaohong likes to read books at coffee shops.

我每周末都去看足球比赛。

wǒ měi gè zhōumò dōu qù kàn zúqiú bǐsài 

[我 I] [每 every] [周末 weekend] [都 all 每] [去go] [看 look] [足球 football] [比赛 competition]

I watch football matches every weekend.

  

去 qù - To go

我们明天去日本旅游。

wǒmén míngtiān qù rìběn lǚyóu

[我们 we] [明天 tomorrow] [去 go] [日本 Japan] [旅游 travel]

We will travel to Japan tomorrow .

她昨天跟朋友一起去酒吧。

tā zuótiān gēn péngyǒu yī qǐ qù jiǔbā 

[她 she] [昨天 yesterday] [跟 with] [朋友 friend] [一起 together] [去 go] [酒吧 bar]

She went to a bar with friends yesterday.

我很饿。我们去哪里吃饭? 

wǒ hěn è. wǒmén qù nǎlǐ chīfàn ? 

[我 I] [很 very] [饿 hungry]。[我们 we] [去 go] [哪里 where] [吃饭 eat]

I’m hungry. Where do we eat?

  

来 lái - To come

你从哪里来的?

nǐ cóng nǎlǐ lái de ? 

[你 you] [从 from] [哪里 where] [来 come] [的 used at the end of a declarative sentence for emphasis]

Where are you from?


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我来过这家饭馆两次。

wǒ lái guò zhè jiā fànguǎn liǎng cì 。 

[我 I] [来 come] [过 experienced action marker] [这 this] [家 measure word] [饭馆 restaurant] [两 two] [次 time]

I’ve been to this restaurant twice. 

客人来了。帮我开一瓶葡萄酒。

kè rén lái le 。 bāng wǒ kāi yī píng pútáojiǔ 。

[客人 guest] [来 come] [了 completed action marker]. [帮 help] [我 me] [开 open] [一 one] [瓶 bottle] [葡萄酒 wine]

Guests have arrived. Help me open a bottle of wine. 

 

买 - To buy

我要买三张公共汽车票。

wǒ yào mǎi sān zhāng gōnggòngqìchē piào 

[我 I] [要 want] [买 buy] [三 three] [张 measure word] [公共汽车 bus] [票 ticket]

I would like to buy three bus tickets.

我的老公喜欢去百货公司买衣服。

wǒ de lǎo gōng xǐhuān qù bǎihuògōngsī mǎi yīfú 

[我的 My] [老公 husband] [喜欢 like] [去 go] [百货公司 shopping mall] [买 buy] [衣服 clothes]

My husband likes to go to the shopping mall to buy clothes. 

 

我买了一瓶香水送我的弟弟。

wǒ mǎi le yī píng xiāngshuǐ sòng wǒ de dìdì 

[我 I] [买 buy] [了 completed action marker] [一 one] [瓶 bottle] [香水 perfume] [送 offer] [我的 my] [弟弟 little brother] 

I bought a bottle of perfume for my little brother.

 

知道 - To know 

我不知道他叫什么名字。

wǒ bù zhīdào tā jiào shénme míngzì 

[我 I] [不 negative prefix] [知道 know] [他 he] [叫 call] [什么 what] [名字 name]

I don’t know his name.

我知道这个国家,但是我没去过。

wǒ zhīdào zhè gè guójiā , dànshì wǒ méi qù guò 

[我 I] [知道 know] [这 this] [个 measure word] [国家 country],[但是 but] [我 I] [没 have not] [去 go] [过 experienced action maker]

I know this country, but I’ve never been there.

你不知道这个歌手吗?他很有名。

nǐ bù zhī dào zhè gè gēshǒu má ? tā hěn yǒumíng

[你 you] [不 negative prefix] [知道 know] [这 this] [个 measure word] [歌手 singer] [吗 question particle for “yes-no” questions]?[他 he] [很 very] [有名 famous]

You don’t know this singer? He’s very famous.

 

认识 rènshi - To know,to understand,to recognize

我很高兴认识你。

wǒ hěn gāoxīng rènshí nǐ 

[我 I] [很 very] [高兴 happy] [认识 know/meet] [你 you]

Nice to meet you.


GettyImages-542588996

我在图书馆认识他。

wǒ zài túshūguǎn rènshí tā 

[我 I] [在 at] [图书馆 library] [认识 know/meet] [他 him]

I met him at the library.

她是谁?我不认识她。

tā shì shéi ? wǒ bù rèn shí tā

[她 she] [是 be] [谁 who]?[我 I] [不 negative prefix] [认识 know/meet] [她 her]

Who is she? I don’t know her .

 

Don’t hesitate to read and reread this article every day to remember these verbs and how they are frequently used in everyday language. 

  

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Pierre Cerchiaro

Pierre Cerchiaro

Pierre Cerchiaro is a contributing writer at TutorMing. He is a French expat working in Taiwan and has had both studying experience in China and Taiwan. He is passionate about the Chinese language and is a foodaholic.

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