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Expressing "about to" with "jiuyao"

就要 (jiùyào) is similar to 快要 (kuàiyào), meaning "about to." They are interchangeable in some cases. But there is a major difference that you need to take a good look at.

Basic Pattern

Structure

(Subj. +) 就要 + Verb + 了 (,⋯⋯)

Examples

  • 就 要 下雨 Jiù yào xiàyǔ le.It's about to rain!
  • 他们 就 要 结婚 Tāmen jiù yào jiéhūn le.They are about to get married.
  • 就 要 出国 jiù yào chūguó le.I'm about to go abroad.
  • 宝宝 就 要 一岁 Bǎobao jiù yào yī suì le.The baby is about to be one-year old!
  • 就 要 下课 ,还有 别的 问题 吗 ?Jiù yào xiàkè le, háiyǒu bié de wèntí ma?The class is almost over. Are there any other questions?

In this case, 就要 can be replaced by 快要 or 快.

Advanced Pattern

快要 (kuài yào) is generally "about to" [happen], but 就要 (jiù yào) could be used to mark a more specific time. 要 (yào) here can be omitted. For this one, you wouldn't normally use "about to" for this English translation, but the feeling is nevertheless that the impending event is coming up fast.

Structure

还有 + Time (+ Subj.) + 就 (要) + Verb + 了

Examples

  • 还有 十 分钟 我 下班 Háiyǒu shí fēnzhōng wǒ jiù xiàbān le.I get off work in 10 minutes.
  • 还有 两 个 星期 我们 就 要 考试 Háiyǒu liǎng gè xīngqí wǒmen jiù yào kǎoshì le.We're just two weeks away from the exam date.
  • 还有 一 个 月 就 要 过年 Háiyǒu yī gè yuè jiù yào guònián le.It will be Chinese New Year in another month.
  • 还有 半 个 小时 飞机 起飞 Háiyǒu bàn gè xiǎoshí fēijī jiù qǐfēi le.The plane takes off in half an hour.
  • 还有 五 天 就 要 放假 Háiyǒu wǔ tiān jiù yào fàngjià le. I go on vacation in 5 days.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

Websites