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Expressing "either... or..." with "yaome"

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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.)

Structure

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

Examples

  • 要么 你 去,要么 他 去 。Yàome nǐ qù, yàome tā qù.Either you go, or he goes.
  • 要么 继续 ,要么 放弃 。Yàome jìxù, yàome fàngqì.Either keep going or give up.
  • 要么 好好 做 ,要么 就 别 做 。Yàome hǎohǎo zuò, yàome jiù bié zuò.You either do it well or don't do it.
  • 要么 现在 就 买 ,要么 现在 就 走 。Yàome xiànzài jiù mǎi, yàome xiànzài jiù zǒu.Either buy it now, or leave now.
  • 要么 回 老家 ,要么 留在 上海 。yàome huí lǎojiā, yàome liúzài Shànghǎi.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 。Yàome kànshū, yàome xiě zuòyè, bù kěyǐ chūqù wán.Either read or do your homework. No playing outside.
  • 要么 加入 我们 队,要么 加入 他们 队 。yàome jiārù wǒmen duì, yàome jiārù tāmen duì.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 。Yàome jìxù zhǎo gōngzuò, yàome chuàngyè, bù néng shénme dōu bù zuò.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 。Qùnián xiàtiān, wǒ měi tiān yàome qù jiànshēnfáng, yàome qù túshūguǎn, tèbié wúliáo.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 。Wǒ lǎogōng zhōumò yàome shuìjiào, yàome dǎ yóuxì, cónglái bù zuò jiāwù.My husband either sleeps or plays video games on weekends. He never does housework.

This "either/or" 要么 pattern is similar to one of the uses of each 要不 and 或者.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books