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Expressing "towards" with "xiang"

向 (xiàng) is a preposition that means "towards" and is used often with certain verbs. These usages need to be learned together with 向.

Used as "Towards"

Structure

When used as a preposition, 向 indicates an action that is performed towards a reference point but doesn't have any actual motion towards that point.

向 + Direction / Person + Verb

Examples

  • 东 走 。Xiàng dōng zǒu.Walk to the east.
  • 前 看 。Xiàng qián kàn.Look forward.
  • 左 转 。Xiàng zuǒ zhuǎn.Turn to the left.
  • 老师 正 我们 走 来 。Lǎoshī zhèng xiàng wǒmen zǒu lái.The teacher is currently walking towards us.
  • 火车 已经 开 了 ,她 还 在 我 招手 。Huǒchē yǐjīng kāi le, tā hái zài xiàng wǒ zhāoshǒu.The train already departed. She kept waving at me.
  • 你 必须 他 道歉 !Nǐ bìxū xiàng tā dàoqiàn!You must apologize to him!
  • 这 件 事 你 应该 老板 汇报 一下 。Zhè jiàn shì nǐ yīnggāi xiàng lǎobǎn huìbào yīxià.You should report this matter to the boss!

Used as "From"

Whereas in English we would say "learn from someone," in Chinese this would be expressed as "learn toward someone," as in the following example (and famous propaganda slogan):

  • 雷锋 同志 学习 !Xiàng Léi Fēng tóngzhì xuéxí!Learn from Comrade Lei Feng!

More examples:

  • 我 不 喜欢 朋友 借钱 。Wǒ bù xǐhuan xiàng péngyou jiè qián.I don't like to borrow money from friends.
  • 你 会 陌生人 求助 吗 ?Nǐ huì xiàng mòshēngrén qiúzhù ma?Would you ask strangers for help?
  • 我们 都 没 经验 ,是 来 你 请教 的 。Wǒmen dōu méi jīngyàn, shì lái xiàng nǐ qǐngjiào de.None of us has experience. We're here to ask you for advice.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books