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Expressing "only if" with "zhiyou"

只有 (zhǐyǒu) means "only if," and is used with 才 (cái) to emphasize that only one course of action will bring about the desired outcome.

Structure

只有 + Essential Condition + 才 + Desired Outcome

Examples

  • 只有 努力 能 做 好 工作。Zhǐyǒu nǔlì cái néng zuò hǎo gōngzuò.Only with hard work is it possible to do a good job.
  • 只有 多 吃饭 能 长高。Zhǐyǒu duō chīfàn cái néng zhǎng gāo.Only if you eat more will you be able to grow tall.
  • 只有 多 说,你的中文 会 提高。Zhǐyǒu duō shuō, nǐ de Zhōngwén cái huì tígāo.Only if you eat more will you be able to grow tall.
  • 只有 大家 一起 做 能 成功。Zhǐyǒu dàjiā yīqǐ zuò cái néng chénggōng.Only if everyone works together can we succeed.
  • 只有 写完 你的 作业 能 看 电视。Zhǐyǒu xiě wán nǐ de zuòyè cái néng kàn diànshì.Only if you finish your homework can you watch TV.
  • 只有 暑假 我 能 出去 玩。Zhǐyǒu shǔjià wǒ cái néng chūqù wán.I can only go traveling during the summer holidays.
  • 只有 每天 跑步,你的 身体 会 健康。Zhǐyǒu měi tiān pǎobù, nǐ de shēntǐ cái huì jiànkāng.Only if you go running every day can you have a healthy body.
  • 只有 老板 同意 这个 建议,我们 能 做。Zhǐyǒu lǎobǎn tóngyì zhège jiànyì, wǒmen cái néng zuò.We can only do this if the boss agrees with the suggestion.
  • 只有 你 吃 过 了,你 能 说 好 不 好吃。Zhǐyǒu nǐ chī guò le, nǐ cái néng shuō hǎo bù hǎochī.You can only tell if it's good or not if you have eaten it before.
  • 只有 学习 了 拼音,你 能 更好地 学 汉字。Zhǐyǒu xuéxí le pīnyīn, nǐ cái néng gèng hǎo de xué hànzì.Only if you have learned pinyin can you improve your Chinese characters.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

Websites