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Expressing "again" in the past with "you"

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Whenever you want to express something that has happened again, as in, "oops, I did it again!" in Chinese, you generally want to use 又 (yòu). (You'll want to use 再 (zài) for "again" in the future.)

Affirmative Form

Structure

Normally, 又 is used to express an action that has already happened again for (at least) the second time. It doesn't have to be in quick succession; it happened before, and now it's happened again.

(Subj. +) 又 + Verb + 了

Examples

  • 下雨 Yòu xiàyǔ le!It rained again!
  • 迟到 yòu chídào le.You're late again.
  • 宝宝 Bǎobao yòule.The baby is crying again.
  • yòu wàng le.I forgot again.

Negative Form

Structure

(Subj. +) 又 + 不 / 没 + Verb

Examples

  • 来 上课 。yòu méi lái shàngkè.He didn't come to class again.
  • 你们 付钱 ?Nǐmen yòu fùqián?You're not paying again?
  • 参加 ?yòu cānjiā?You are not going to participate again?
  • 对不起 ,我 带 书 。Duìbuqǐ, wǒ yòu méi dài shū.Sorry, I forgot to bring the book again.

Colloquial Saying 又来了

又来了 fits the above pattern, but is also a little tricky because it expresses something that is still ongoing, and has already started as the speaker is speaking. Literally it means "here it comes again," but it's more accurate to translate it as "there it is again," or "there [he] goes again." It indicates that the speaker is a bit annoyed that it happened again.

Other Usage

When it becomes clear that something is about to happen again, you can also use 又. It's almost as if it has already happened in your mind. In these cases, it's quite common for 又 to be immediately followed by 是 (shì), 要 (yào), 可以 (kěyǐ), or 能 (néng), and you'll notice that there's often a 了, indicating that something is about to happen.

Some examples:

  • 今天 加班 Jīntiān yòu yào jiābān le!We've got to work overtime again today!
  • 老板 请客 , 可以 吃 大餐 Lǎobǎn qǐngkè, yòu kěyǐ chī dàcān le!The boss is going to treat us. We can have a big meal again!
  • 快 过年 了 ,我们 拿 红包 Kuài guònián le, wǒmen yòu néng ná hóngbāo le!It's almost Chinese New Year. We can get our red packets [of money] again!

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

Dictionaries

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