Using "zai" with verbs

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Level A2
Is similar to
Is used for Expressing location
Keywords
Translations in, at

When you want to express the place in which you do something, you can use 在 (zai).

Structure

To indicate the location that a verb takes place in, 在 (zai) is used.

Subject + 在 + Location + Verb + Object

Notice that the location is placed before the verb in Chinese, whereas it appears afterwards in English. And often you need a "里 (lǐ)" with "在 (zai)",after a thing to indicate the location.

Examples

  • 上海 工作 。 zài Shànghǎi gōngzuò. I am working in Shanghai.
  • 酒吧 喝 酒 。 zài jiǔbā hē jiǔ. I am drinking at the bar.
  • 图书馆 看 书 。 zài túshūguǎn kān shū. He is reading in the library.
  • 这 个 公司工作 。 zài zhè gè gōngsīgōngzuò. I work at this company.
  • 我 周末 要 睡觉 。 Wǒ zhōumò yào zài jiā shuìjiào. During the weekend, I want to sleep at home.
  • 不 要 床 上 吃 东西 。 need a "上" with "在" to indicate the location " on the bed".Bù yào zài chuáng shàng chī dōngxī. Don't eat food on the bed.
  • 我 想 开 一 个 派对 。 Wǒ xiǎng zài jiā kāi yī gè pàiduì. I want to have a party at my home.
  • 他 喜欢 厕所 里 抽 烟 。 need a "里" with "在" to indicate the location " in the bathroom".Tā xǐhuan zài cèsuǒ lǐ chōu yān. He likes to smoke while he's in the bathroom.
  • 很 多 人 地铁 里 吃 包子 。 need a "里" with "在" to indicate the location " in the subway".Hěn duō rén zài dìtiě lǐ chī bāo zi. Many people eat baozi while in the subway.
  • 现在 我们 KTV 唱 歌 。 Xiànzài wǒmen zài KTV chàng gē. Now we're at KTV singing songs.

Notice that in English we usually put the location at the end of a sentence. This is different in Chinese, as we put the location after the subject but before the verb.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books