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"
Remember this is the future "again."
Subj. + 再 + [Verb Phrase]
- 我们 明年 再 来 。We'll come again next year.
- 再 试 一下 。Try it again.
- 你 可以 再 说 一 遍 吗 ？Can you please say it again?
- 这 本 书 我 要 再 看 一 遍 。I want to read this book again.
- 你 应该 再 复习 一 遍 。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.
Subj. + 再 + Verb + Obj.
In this case, the object includes a quantity phrase.
- 再 吃 一点 。Eat some more.
- 再 点 几个 菜 吧 。Let's order some more dishes.
- 服务员 ，再 来 两 瓶 啤酒 。Waiter, two more bottles of beer, please.
- 再 给 我 三天 时间 。Give me another three days.
- 我 能 不 能 再 拿 两 个 ？Can I take two more?
Used for Continuous Action
Here 再 is similar to the English "for a while longer" or "keep [going/doing]."
Subj. + 再 + Verb + Verb
- 再 找找 。Keep looking.
- 你 再 问问 。 Keep asking.
- 别 急 ，再 想想 。Don't worry. Keep thinking.
You can also add 一会儿 after the verb to mean "keep doing something a little longer."
- 再 聊 一会儿 。Keep talking for a little bit.
- 再 等 一会儿 。Wait a little longer.
You can use either the "Verb + Verb" pattern or the 一会儿 pattern with 再, but don't use them together.
- "Never again" with "zai ye bu"
- Sequencing with "xian" and "zai"
- Expressing "again" in the past with "you"
Sources and further reading
- HSK Standard Course 2 (pp. 60) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 1 (pp. 157) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 3 (新实用汉语课本3) (pp. 202) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- Yale Chinese Usage Dictionary: Using 再 and 又