Expressing "only if" with "zhiyou"

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只有 (zhǐyǒu) means "only if," and is used with 才 (cái) to emphasize that only one course of action will bring about the desired outcome.

Structure

只有 + Essential Condition + 才 + Desired Outcome

Note that 才 is often followed by 能, but not always.

Examples

  • 只有 努力 能 做 好 工作。Zhǐyǒu nǔlì cái néng zuò hǎo gōngzuò.Only if you work hard is it possible to do a good job.
  • 只有 多 吃饭 能 长高。Zhǐyǒu duō chīfàn cái néng zhǎng gāo.Only if you eat more will you be able to grow tall.
  • 只有 多 说,你的中文 会 提高。Zhǐyǒu duō shuō, nǐ de Zhōngwén cái huì tígāo.Only if you speak more will your Chinese improve.
  • 只有 大家 一起 做 能 成功。Zhǐyǒu dàjiā yīqǐ zuò cái néng chénggōng.Only if everyone works together can we succeed.
  • 只有 写 完 你的 作业 能 看 电视。Zhǐyǒu xiě wán nǐ de zuòyè cái néng kàn diànshì.Only if you finish your homework can you watch TV.
  • 只有 妈妈 在 我们 能 出去 玩。 Zhǐyǒu māma zài wǒmen cái néng chūqù wán.Only if Mom is here can we go out and play.
  • 只有 每天 跑步,你的 身体 会 健康。Zhǐyǒu měi tiān pǎobù, nǐ de shēntǐ cái huì jiànkāng.Only if you go running every day can you have a healthy body.
  • 只有 老板 同意 这个 建议,我们 能 做。Zhǐyǒu lǎobǎn tóngyì zhège jiànyì, wǒmen cái néng zuò.We can only do this if the boss agrees with the suggestion.
  • 只有 你 吃 过 了,你 能 说 好 不 好吃。Zhǐyǒu nǐ chī guò le, nǐ cái néng shuō hǎo bù hǎochī.You can only tell if it's good or not if you have eaten it before.
  • 只有 学习 了 拼音,你 能 更 好 地 学 汉字。Zhǐyǒu xuéxí le pīnyīn, nǐ cái néng gèng hǎo de xué hànzì.Only if you have learned pinyin can you learn Chinese characters better.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

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