Expressing "again" in the future with "zai"
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.
再 as "again"
The basic structure for using the future "again" is:
Subj. + 再 + Verb Phrase
- 我 明天 再 来 。I'll come again tomorrow.
- 请 再 说 一 遍 。Say it again, please.
- 我 想 再 看 一 遍 。I want to watch it again.
- 你 再 试 一下 。Try it again.
- 你 可以 帮 我 再 问 一 下 吗？Can you ask for me one more time?
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!"
再 as "another" or "some more"
The English word "another" is often avoided altogether by using 再.
- 再 吃 一点。Eat more.
- 我们 再 找 一 个 人 吧。Let's find another person.
- 我们 再 等 他 五 分钟 吧 。Let's wait for him five more minutes.
- 你 再 给 我 五十 块。Give me fifty more kuai.
- 我们 再 给 她 一点 时间 。We'll give her a little more time.
再 as "continuous action"
Here 再 is similar to the English "for a while longer" or "keep [going/doing]".
- 再 找 找。Keep looking a little bit.
- 再 等 等 他 吧。Keep waiting for him for a little while.
- 时间 还 早，再 玩 一会儿 吧。It's still early. Let's keep playing for a while.
- 现在 才 六 点 半，我 想 再 睡 一会儿。It's only 6:30. I want to sleep a little longer.
- 你们 想 不 想 再 休息 一会儿？Do you guys want to rest for a little longer?
Sources and further reading
- Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 1 (pp. 157) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 3 (新实用汉语课本3) (pp. 202) →buy
- Yale Chinese Usage Dictionary: Using 再 and 又