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Expressing "again" in the future with "zai"

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While 又 (yòu) is used for "again" in the past, 再 (zài) is used for "again" in the future. That is, 再 is used when something has happened once and it will happen again.

Used as "Again"

The basic structure for using the future "again" is:

Structure

Subj. + 再 + [Verb Phrase]

Examples

  • 我们 明年 来 。Wǒmen míngnián zài lái.We'll come again next year.
  • 你 可以 说 一 遍 吗 ?Nǐ kěyǐ zài shuō yī biàn ma?Can you say it again, please?
  • 要 不 要 试 一下 ?Yào bù yàozài shì yīxià?Would you like to try it again?
  • 这 本 书 我 要 看 一 遍 。Zhè běn shū wǒ yào zài kàn yī biàn.I want to read this book again.
  • 老师 说 明天 要 复习 一 遍 。Lǎoshī shuō míngtiān yào zài fùxí yī biàn.The teacher said we'll review it again tomorrow.

In fact, this structure is present in one of the most common Chinese phrases: "再见!" In this case, it literally means "See you again!"

Used as "Another" or "Some More"

The English word "another" is often avoided altogether by using 再.

Structure

Subj. + 再 + [Verb Phrase]

Examples

  • 吃 一点 。Zài chī yīdiǎn.Eat more.
  • 点 几 个 菜 吧 。Zài diǎn jǐ gè cài ba.Let's order some more dishes.
  • 服务员 , 来 两 瓶 啤酒 。Fúwùyuán, zài lái liǎng píng píjiǔ.Waiter, two more bottles of beer, please.
  • 给 我 五十 块 。zài gěi wǒ wǔshí kuài.Give me fifty more kuai.
  • 我 能 不 能 拿 两 个 ?Wǒ néng bu néng zài ná liǎng gè?Can I take two more?

Used for Continuous Action

Here 再 is similar to the English "for a while longer" or "keep [going/doing]."

Structure

Subj. + 再 + [Verb Phrase]

Examples

  • 找 找 。Zài zhǎozhao.Keep looking.
  • 不 急 , 想想 。Bù jí, zài xiǎngxiang.Don't worry. Keep thinking.
  • 等 一会儿 吧 。Zài děng yīhuìr ba.Let's wait a little longer.
  • 时间 还 早 , 玩 一会儿 。Shíjiān hái zǎo, zài wán yīhuìr ba.It's still early. Let's keep playing a.
  • 现在 才 六 点 半 ,你 可以 睡 一会儿 。Xiànzài cái liù diǎn bàn, nǐ kěyǐ zài shuì yīhuìr.It's only half past six. You can sleep a little longer.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

Websites