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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.

Affirmative Form

Structure

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.

Examples

  • 要是 真 想 我 , 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 死 定了 ! If my mother knew about this, I would be so dead!
  • 要是 老板 不 同意,我们 不 能 跟 客户 签 合同 。If the boss doesn't agree, we can't sign the contract with the client.
  • 再 说 ,我 真 生气 了 。If you keep talking this way, I'll get mad. Seriously.
  • 不 听 ,我 也 没 办法 。If he doesn't listen, there's nothing I can do about it.

Negative Form

要不是 is pretty much the same as the English saying "if it weren't for."

Structure

要不是 ⋯⋯ ,⋯⋯

Examples

  • 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 kids, I would have divorced him sooner.
  • 要 不 是 堵车 ,我 早就 到 了 。If it weren't for the traffic jam, I would have gotten here 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.
  • 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 isn't trustworthy.
  • 要我说 ,什么 时候 开始 都 不 晚 。I say it's never too late to start.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books