Cause and effect with "yinwei" and "suoyi"
You will often come across “因为 (yīnwèi)⋯⋯ , 所以 (suǒyǐ)⋯⋯" in both written and spoken Chinese. This pattern will give your Chinese a more logical structure, and can help make you more persuasive.
Using 因为 by itself to explain causes
A common way to explain causes in Chinese is with 因为 (yīnwèi). This is almost entirely equivalent to "because" in English. Usually 因为 (yīnwèi) will begin a new phrase in a sentence.
In this structure, we first state the result, and then give the reason in the next statement after the 因为 (yīnwèi).
Result ，因为 + Reason
- 他 学 得 很 快， 因为 他 很 聪明。He learns fast because he is smart.
- 我 爱 吃 四川 菜， 因为 很 辣。 I love eating Sichuan food because it's very spicy.
- 我 在 学习 中文 ， 因为 我 想 去 中国。I am studying Chinese because I want to go to China.
- 我 不 喜欢 她，因为 她 不 友好。I don't like her because she is very unfriendly.
- 今天 我们 很 忙，因为 有 很 多 工作。 We are very busy today because we have lots of work.
Using 所以 by itself to explain results
Just as 因为 (yīnwèi) can be used to explain causes, 所以 (suǒyǐ) can be used to explain results. This is the equivalent of "so…" or "therefore…" in English.
This pattern is similar to the expression using both 因为 (yīnwèi) and 所以 (suǒyǐ), but it leaves out the beginning 因为 (yīnwèi). This structure is more informal.
Reason ，所以 + Result
- 汉字 太 难 了，所以 我 不 想 学 。Chinese characters are too hard, so I don't want to study them.
- 她 很 漂亮，所以 很 多 男孩 喜欢 她。She is beautiful, so a lot of boys like her.
- 他 找到 工作 了 ， 所以 他 很 高兴。He found a job so he's happy.
- 我 太 忙 了，所以 没有 时间 给 你 打 电话。I was too busy, so I didn't have time to give you a call.
- 我们 公司 有 很 多 外国人，所以 我们 要 说 英文。There are a lot of foreigners in our company, so we need to speak English.
Using 因为 and 所以 together
The full pattern "因为 (yīnwèi)⋯⋯ , 所以 (suǒyǐ)⋯⋯" is used to clearly indicate cause and effect. They could be thought of as equating to: "Since ___ happened, so ___ happened."
因为 + Cause， 所以 + Effect
This expresses that because of cause, therefore there is a result.
- 因为 我 有 一个 中国 女朋友，所以 我 要 学 中文。Since I have a Chinese girlfriend, I need to study Chinese.
- 因为 他 生病 了，所以 没 去 上课。Since he was sick, he didn't go to class.
- 因为 我 很 累，所以 要 休息。I'm very tired, so I want to rest.
- 因为 太 远 了，所以 我 不 想 去。Since it's too far, I don't want to go.
- 因为 太 忙， 所以 我们 没有 时间 吃 中饭。 We were too busy, so none of us had time to eat lunch.
- Stating the effect before the cause (advanced article)
Sources and further reading
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (pp. 272-4) →buy
- Basic Patterns of Chinese Grammar (p. 79) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 1, Part 1 (3rd ed) (p. 108) →buy
- Yale Chinese Usage Dictionary: How to use 因为 and 由于