Expressing "if… then…" with "yaoshi"
要是⋯⋯，就⋯⋯ (yàoshi..., jiù...) is one of several ways to convey "If..., then..." It is very similar to 如果..., 就... in usage and formality. However, it is important to note that 要是 is considered to be even more informal (and is usually left more to spoken Chinese) than the common 如果 and used more frequently in the northern areas of China.
要是 + Subj. ⋯⋯ ， 就 ⋯⋯
Note that the subject can also be placed before 要是. In this case, 要是 can be shortened as 要.
- 你 要是 真 想 我 ，就 给 我 打 电话 。If you do miss me, then give me a call.
- 要是 我 妈 知道 这 件 事 ，我 就 死 定了 ! If my mother knew about this, I would be so dead!
- 要是 老板 不 同意，我们 就 不 能 跟 客户 签 合同 。If the boss doesn't agree, then we can't sign the contract with the client.
- 你 要 再 说 ，我 真 生气 了 。If you keep talking that way, I'm really gonna get angry.
- 他 要 不 听 ，我 也 没 办法 。If he doesn't listen, there's nothing I can do about it.
要不是 is pretty much the same as the English saying "if it weren't for."
要不是 ⋯⋯ ，⋯⋯
- 要 不 是 他 求 我 ， 我 才 不 帮 你 呢 。If it weren't because he begged me, I wouldn't be helping you.
- 要 不 是 因为 孩子 ，我 早就 离婚 了 。If it weren't for the sake of the kids, I would have gotten divorced long ago.
- 要 不 是 堵车 ，我 早就 到 了 。If it weren't for the traffic jam, I would have gotten here much sooner.
- 要 不 是 亲眼 看到 ，我 也 不 相信 。If I hadn't seen it for myself, I wouldn't believe it either.
- 要 不 是 你 提醒 我 ，我 肯定 忘 了 。If it weren't for your reminding me, I would have forgotten.
Colloquial Saying 要我说
Literally 要我说 means "if you ask for my opinion."
A few examples:
- 要我说 ，你 先 别 告诉 她 。I say don't tell her yet.
- 要我说 ，他 就是 太 懒 。I say he's just too lazy.
- 要我说 ，我们 应该 早点 做 准备 。In my opinion, we should get prepared sooner.
- 要我说 ，这个 人 不 能 信 。In my opinion, this man can't be trusted.
- 要我说 ，什么时候 开始 都 不 晚 。I say it's never too late to start.
Sources and further reading
- HSK Standard Course 4上 (pp. 85) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Common Chinese Patterns 330 (汉语常用格式330例) (pp. 246) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (pp. 278) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 4 (新实用汉语课本4) (pp. 41-2) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课下册） (pp. 502) [ →buy]