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Conjunction

Also known as: 连词 (liáncí).

Conjunctions in Chinese do exactly what they do in English: connect things. They help make the transition between ideas smoother and also show the relationships between those ideas.

Characteristics

Conjunctions can be used to connect words, phrases, clauses, and even entire sentences. They themselves cannot act as sentence elements. Instead, they come between the elements to connect them in some way. Unlike English, Chinese conjunctions need to have something next to them, so they cannot just be at the end of the sentence, as sometimes happens in English. Unlike adjectives and verbs, conjunctions are not reduplicated.

Functions

As said above, conjunctions connect ideas and can show the relationship between them. Some of the more commonly expressed relationships include coordination (and), causality (so), condition (because), supposition (if), alternation (or), and succession (then). Less common relationships include inference, transition, concession, enumeration, and progression.

See Also

  • Different ways to say 'and' (depending on the context)
  • Different ways to say 'if' (depending on the context)
  • Different ways to say 'or' (depending on the context)

Grammar Patterns for Conjunctions

A1 Conjunctions

Grammar Point (English) Pattern Examples
Expressing "and" with "he" Noun 1 + 和 + Noun 2 他 都 不 去。
Offering choices with "haishi" A + 还是 + B ? 你 要 喝 茶 还是 咖啡 ?

A2 Conjunctions

Grammar Point (English) Pattern Examples
Expressing "or" in statements ⋯⋯或者⋯⋯ 我 想 去 青岛 或者 南京。
Expressing "with" with "gen" 跟⋯⋯ + Verb 你 要 我 一起 去 吗?
The filler word "neige" ⋯⋯那个⋯⋯ 那个⋯⋯你 可以 做 我 的 女 朋友 吗?
Two words for "but" ……,可是 / 但是…… 我 喜欢 他,可是/但是 他 不 喜欢 我。

B1 Conjunctions

Grammar Point (English) Pattern Examples
A softer "but" with "buguo" ⋯⋯ ,不过 ⋯⋯ 他 的 汉语 口语 不错 ,不过 不 认识 汉字 。
Expressing "how about" with "yaobu" Reason / Situation,要不 + Suggestion + 吧 下雨 了,要不 明天 再 去 吧 。
Expressing "in addition" with "haiyou" ⋯⋯ ,还有 ,⋯⋯ 你 需要 吃 药 。还有,要 多 休息 。
Expressing "in addition" with "lingwai" ⋯⋯ ,另外 ,⋯⋯ 希望 你 不要 再 迟到 了。另外,你 应该 穿 得 正式 一点 。
Expressing "in addition" with "zaishuo" ⋯⋯ ,再说 ,⋯⋯ 这么 晚 ,别 走 了 。再说 ,外面 还 在 下雨 。
Expressing "then…" with "name" 那么⋯⋯ 他 不 听 , 我 应该 怎么办 ?
Using "lai" to connect two verb phrases 通过 / 用 + Method + 来 + Verb Phrase 这 种 方法 赚钱 ,真 丢人 。

B2 Conjunctions

Grammar Point (English) Pattern Examples
Expressing "and then" with "yushi" ⋯⋯ ,于是 ⋯⋯ 他 实在 太 懒 了 ,于是 老板 把 他 辞 了 。
Expressing "and" with "he" (advanced) Verb 1 + 和 + Verb 2 政府 每年 都 会 维护 修理 这些 建筑 。
Expressing "in addition" with "lingwai" ⋯⋯ ,另外 ,⋯⋯ 希望 你 不要 再 迟到 了。另外,你 应该 穿 得 正式 一点 。
Using "er" to explain contrasting ideas Sentence 1, + 而 + Sentence 2 以后 后悔 的 人 不 是 我, 是 你 自己。

C1 Conjunctions

Grammar Point (English) Pattern Examples
"In order to avoid" with "yimian" 以免 + Verb Phrase 这儿 有 高压电线,请 不要 靠近,以免 发生 危险。
Expressing "as well as" with "yiji" Subj. + 何必 + Predicate A ,B + 以及 + C
Expressing "in short" with "zongzhi" (⋯⋯ ,)总之 ,⋯⋯ 不管 他 的 理由 是 什么 ,总之 ,我 不会 再 相信 他 了 。
Indicating contrast with "ze" Clause 1,+ 则 + Clause 2 南方 人 喜欢 吃 甜 的 东西,北方 人 喜欢 吃 咸 的 东西。


Sources and further reading