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Indicating purpose or intent using "shi...de"

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There are many ways to explain why you are doing something or what's the use of things. This article will explain another way to do that, and it just happens to involve 是⋯⋯的. This isn't to say that you can't make these sentences without using 是 and 的 but this can help emphasize why you are doing something or what's the use of thing, giving your sentence a little more kick.

A Person as Subject


If the subject is a person, there is often a 来 or 去 after the 是, indicating direction like "coming here" or "going there."

Person + 是 + 来 / 去 + Verb+ 的


  • 旅游 shì lái lǚyóu de.I came for traveling.
  • 我们 都 出差 Wǒmen dōu shì chūchāi de.We are all going on business trips.
  • 他们 都 实习 Tāmen dōu shì lái shíxí de.They all came here to do an internship.
  • 你 真的 帮 我们 吗 ? Nǐ zhēnde shì lái bāng wǒmen de ma?Are you here to help us? Really?
  • 我们 不 做 调查 Wǒmen bù shì wán de, shì zuò diàochá de.We're not going to hang out with people. Instead, we're there to do research.

A Thing as Subject


If the subject is a thing, 用来 is often used. Look at the examples below for some more clarification.

Thing + 是 + 用来 + Verb + 的


Thing + 是 + 给 + Person + Verb + 的


  • 这 种 菜 用来 做 汤 Zhè zhǒng cài shì yònglái zuò tāng de.This kind of vegetable is for making soup.
  • 这 个 房间 客人 住 Zhège fángjiān shì gěi kèrén zhù de.This room is for our guest to live in.
  • 这些 钱 孩子 上 大学 zhèxiē qián shì gěi háizi shàng dàxué de.This money is for our children going to college.
  • 这些 礼物 客户 准备 Zhèxiē lǐwù shì gěi kèhù zhǔnbèi de.These presents are prepared for the clients.
  • 用来 ,不 用来Qián shì yònglái huā de, bù shì yònglái shěng de.Money is for spending, not for saving.

See also

Sources and further reading