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Expressing "about to" with "jiuyao"

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就要 (jiùyào) is similar to 快要 (kuàiyào), meaning "about to." They are interchangeable in some cases. But there is a major difference that you need to take a good look at.

Basic Pattern

Structure

(Subj. +) 就要 + Verb + 了

Examples

  • 就要 出国 jiù yào chūguó le.She is about to go abroad.
  • 就要 下雨 Jiù yào xiàyǔ le!It's about to rain!
  • 我们 的 大老板 就要Wǒmen de dà lǎobǎn jiùyào lái le.Our big boss is coming soon.
  • 他们 就要 结婚 Tāmen jiù yào jiéhūn le.They are about to get married.
  • 就要 下课 ,还有 别的 问题 吗 ?Jiù yào xiàkè le, háiyǒu bié de wèntí ma?The class is almost over. Are there any other questions?

In this case, 就要 can be replaced by 快要 or 快.

Advanced Pattern

快要 (kuài yào) is generally "about to" [happen], but 就要 (jiù yào) could be used to mark a more specific time. 要 (yào) here can be omitted. For this one, you wouldn't normally use "about to" for this English translation, but the feeling is nevertheless that the impending event is coming up fast.

Structure

还有 + Time (+ Subj.) + 就 (要) + Verb + 了

Examples

  • 还有 十 天 宝宝 一 岁 Háiyǒu shí tiān bǎobao jiù yī suì le.In ten more days, the baby will be one year old.
  • 还有 十 分钟 我 下班 Háiyǒu shí fēnzhōng wǒ jiù xiàbān le.I get off work in 10 minutes.
  • 还有 五 天 就要 放假 Háiyǒu wǔ tiān jiù yào fàngjià le. I go on vacation in 5 days.
  • 还有 一 个 月 就要 过年 Háiyǒu yī gè yuè jiù yào guònián le.It will be Chinese New Year in another month.
  • 还有 两 个 星期 我们 就要 考试 Háiyǒu liǎng gè xīngqí wǒmen jiù yào kǎoshì le.We're just two weeks away from the exam date.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

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