Expressing "either... or..." with "yaome"
要么 (yàome) is used for offering a pair of choices with a hardline "either/or" feel: these are the two choices. Choose one. (It can also be used for more than two choices, but it's usually just two.)
You can give a series of alternatives by using 要么 (yàome). The structure is pretty versatile, as you can put a wide variety of things after each 要么.
It can be used both for commands and non-commands.
要么 + Option A ，要么 + Option B
- 要么 你 去，要么 他 去 。Either you go, or he goes.
- 要么 继续 ，要么 放弃 。Either keep going or give up.
- 要么 好好 做 ，要么 就 别 做 。You either do it well or don't do it.
- 要么 现在 就 买 ，要么 现在 就 走 。Either buy it now, or leave now.
- 你 要么 回 老家 ，要么 留在 上海 。You either go back to your hometown or stay in Shanghai.
- 要么 看书 ，要么 写 作业 ，不 可以 出去 玩 。Either read or do your homework. No playing outside.
- 你 要么 加入 我们 队，要么 加入 他们 队 。You either join our team or their team.
- 要么 继续 找 工作 ，要么 创业 ，不 能 什么 都 不 做 。Either keeping looking for a job or start your own business. You can't do nothing.
- 去年 夏天 ，我 每天 要么 去 健身房，要么 去 图书馆，特别 无聊 。Last summer I either went to the gym or the library every day. It was super boring.
- 我 老公 周末 要么 睡觉 ，要么 打 游戏 ，从来 不 做 家务 。My husband either sleeps or plays video games on weekends. He never does housework.
Sources and further reading
- Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 1 (pp. 158) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 4 (新实用汉语课本4) (pp. 165) →buy