Expressing "must" with "dei"
- Wanting to do something with "yao" (A1)
- Expressing "should" with "yinggai" (A2)
- Expressing "would like to" with "xiang" (A2)
- Expressing "don't need to" with "buyong" (B1)
- Expressing "had better" with "zuihao" (B1)
- Declaring the only option with "zhihao" (B2)
- Expressing "have to" with "budebu" (B2)
- Adding emphasis with "fei....buke" (C1)
- Expressing “must" with "feidei" (C1)
The auxiliary verb 得 (děi) means "must." Yes, it's annoying that the same character can also be pronounced "de," but at least when you use 得 (děi), there's no ambiguity like with the word 要 (yào).
Normally, when you see 得, it's a particle and is pronounced "de." However, it can also be an auxiliary verb. In this case it's pronounced "děi" and means "must."
Subj. + 得 + [Verb Phrase]
- 我们 得 走 了 。We have to leave now.
- 时间 不 早 了，我 得 回家 了。It's getting late. I have to go home.
- 他 是 你 弟弟 ，你 得 帮 他 。He is your younger brother. You must help him.
- 不好意思 ，你 得 马上 离开 。Excuse me, but you have to leave here right now.
- 在 学校 就 得 听 老师 的 话 。You have to listen to the teacher at school.
- 你 得 先 付钱 再 进去 。You need to pay before you go in.
- 是 你 的 错 ，你 得 道歉 。It's your fault. You must apologize.
- 他 没有 经验 ，你 得 教教 他 。He doesn't have experience. You must teach him.
- 明天 去 面试 ，你 得 穿 得 正式 一点 。You must wear something more formal for tomorrow's job interview.
- 你 病 得 太 厉害 了，得 去 看 医生。You are really sick. You must go see a doctor.
- "Would like to" with xiang
- Wanting to do something with yao
- Auxiliary verb
- Auxiliary verb "hui" for "will"
Sources and further reading
- Yoyo Chinese: "Have to and Don't have to"