Comparing "zongsuan" and “zhongyu"

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Adverbs is 总算 (zǒngsuàn) and 终于 (zhōngyú) both can be translated as "finally" or "in the end," but they subtly different in tone.

Same Grammatical Structure

Grammatically, 总算 and 终于 are used basically the same way. They are both adverbs, and they can be placed before the subject or after the subject. However, in comparison to 终于, 总算 is seldom used before the subject. In the simple sentences given below, however, they are fully interchangeable.

Subj. + 总算 / 终于 + Verb


  • 总算 来了 !zǒngsuàn lái le!You finally came!
  • 终于 懂 了 。zhōngyú dǒng le.I finally understood it.
  • 总算 停 了 。zǒngsuàn tíng le.The rain finally stopped.
  • 终于 找到 你 了 !zhōngyú zhǎodào nǐ le!I finally found you!
  • 飞机 总算 起飞 了 !Fēijī zǒngsuàn qǐfēi le!The plane is finally taking off!

总算 is More Informal and Impatient

Both 总算 and 终于 express that an action has finally happened after a long wait, however 总算 implies that the speaker had a bit of an agonizing wait, and it has a heavier tone better suited to complaints.


  • 谢天谢地,你 总算 来 了。Xiè tiān xiè dì, nǐ zǒngsuàn lái le.Thank God, you finally came.
  • 总算 没 迟到。Zǒngsuàn méi chídào.You finally didn't arrive late.
  • 她 的 感冒 总算 好 了。Tā de gǎnmào zǒngsuàn hǎo le.She finally got over her cold.

终于 is more formal and objective

终于 is more formal than 总算 (in other words, 总算 is more for spoken Chinese), and it also has a more objective feel (meaning that the speaker isn't just being impatient and there was indeed a very long wait for this thing that finally happened).

  • 终于 决定 了!zhōngyú juédìng le!You finally decided!
  • 终于 要 放假 了,开心 吧?Zhōngyú yào fàngjià le, kāixīn ba?You're finally going on vacation. You're happy about it, aren't you?
  • 你们 合作 的 项目 终于 成功 了!Nǐmen hézuò de xiàngmù zhōngyú chénggōng le!This project you've been working on together has finally succeeded!

Sources and further reading