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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.

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.
  • 试 一下 。Zài shì yīxià.Try it again.
  • 你 可以 说 一 遍 吗 ?Nǐ kěyǐ zài shuō yī biàn ma?Can you please say 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.
  • 你 应该 复习 一 遍 。Nǐ yīnggāi zài fùxí yī biàn.You should review it again.

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 + Obj.

In this case, the object includes a quantity phrase.

Examples

  • 一点Zài chī yīdiǎn.Eat more.
  • 几个 菜 吧 。Zài diǎn jǐ gè cài ba.Let's order some more dishes.
  • 服务员 ,两 瓶 啤酒Fúwùyuán, zài lái liǎng píng píjiǔ.Waiter, two more bottles of beer, please.
  • 给 我 三天 时间Zài gěi wǒ sān tiān shíjiān.Give me another three days.
  • 我 能 不 能 两 个Wǒ néng bu néng zàiliǎng 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 + Verb

Examples

  • 找找 。Zài zhǎozhao.Keep looking.
  • 问问 。 zài wènwen.Keep asking and ask someone else.
  • 别 急 , 想想 。Bié jí, zài xiǎngxiang.Don't worry. Keep thinking.

You can also add 一会儿 after the verb to mean "keep doing something a little longer."

  • 聊 一会儿 。Zài liáo yīhuǐr.Let's keep talking for a little bit.
  • 等 一会儿 。Zài děng yīhuǐr.Let's wait a little longer.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

Websites