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Expressing "toward" with "wang"

Although 往 (wǎng) simply means "towards," it's not used as often as certain other prepositions and also has a few special use cases, so it warrants a little extra attention.

Used as "Towards"

往 (wǎng) is a preposition that means "towards" and precedes the verb it modifies.

Used before a Verb

This is the common one used in everyday speech.

Structure

Adding 往 (wǎng) with a location or place word indicates the direction of an action. Remember that the verb comes after this 往 phrase.

往 + Direction / Place + Verb

Examples

  • 一直 Yīzhí wǎng qián zǒu.Go straight ahead.
  • Wǎng zuǒ guǎi.Turn left.
  • Wǎng shàng kàn.Look up there.
  • 那个 小偷 了 。Nàge xiǎotōu wǎng dōng pǎo le.That thief ran towards the east.
  • 不要 楼下 垃圾 。Bùyào wǎng lóuxià rēng lājī.Don't throw trash downstairs.
  • 不要 小孩 嘴巴 里 东西 了 !Bùyào wǎng xiǎohái zuǐba lǐ sāi dōngxi le!Stop stuffing food in the kid's mouth!

Used after a Verb

In written language, 往 (wǎng) can also be used after a few monosyllabic verbs, which are then followed by location nouns.

Structure

Verb + 往 + Direction / Place

Examples

  • 北京 的 火车 kāi wǎng Běijīng de huǒchēthe train that goes to Beijing
  • 纽约 的 飞机 fēi wǎng Niǔyuē de fēijīthe airplane that flies to New York
  • 国外 的 货物 yùn wǎng guówài de huòwùcargo that is shipped overseas

往下 as "Keep Going"

往下 (wǎng xià) expresses "keep going," implying that the process has been interrupted before. The verbs that follow are usually communication or sensory verbs: speak (说), read (读), write (写), watch (看), and listen (听) are common.

Examples

  • Wǎng xià shuō.Keep talking.
  • Wǎng xià .Keep reading.
  • 就 知道 了 。wǎng xià kàn jiù zhīdào le.Keep reading and you'll see.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books