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Expressing "each other" with "huxiang"

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When some action is mutual, you can use the word 互相 (hùxiāng). The word "mutual" feels formal in English, but in Chinese even everyday phrases such as "learn from each other" use the word 互相, which expresses this "each other" aspect.

Structure

Usually 互相 (hùxiāng) is used with two-syllable words, and for one-syllable words some other information will be added after the verb to make it sound more natural (see below for examples of this.)

互相 + Verb

Examples

  • 互相 帮助 hùxiāng bāngzhùHelp each other
  • 互相 了解 hùxiāng liǎojiěKnow each other
  • 互相 伤害 hùxiāng shānghàiHurt each other
  • 互相 尊重 hùxiāng zūnzhòngRespect each other
  • 互相 支持 hùxiāng zhīchíSupport each other
  • 互相 鼓励 hùxiāng gǔlìEncourage each other
  • 互相 影响 hùxiāng yǐngxiǎngInfluence each other
  • 互相 利用 hùxiāng lìyòngTake advantage of each other

Don't use 互相 (hùxiāng) with single-syllable verbs. If you really have to use 互相, you can make the verb longer by adding extra information after it.

  • 互相hùxiāng kànlook at each other
  • 互相 看 了 一 眼hùxiāng kàn le yī yǎnglanced at each other

Note that for some verbs which are inherently "mutual," the use of 互相 (hùxiāng) is redundant and unnecessary. So the following phrases are not wrong, but a little strange.

  • 互相 拥抱hùxiāng yōngbàohug each other
  • 互相 交流hùxiāng jiāoliúcommunicate with each other

See also

Sources and further reading

Books