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"
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
- 向 东 走 。Walk to the east.
- 向 前 看 。Look forward.
- 向 左 转 。Turn to the left.
- 老师 正 向 我们 走 来 。The teacher is currently walking towards us.
- 火车 已经 开 了 ，她 还 在 向 我 招手 。The train already departed. She kept waving at me.
- 你 必须 向 他 道歉 ！You must apologize to him!
- 这 件 事 你 应该 向 老板 汇报 一下 。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):
- 向 雷锋 同志 学习 ！Learn from Comrade Lei Feng!
- 我 不 喜欢 向 朋友 借钱 。I don't like to borrow money from friends.
- 你 会 向 陌生人 求助 吗 ？Would you ask strangers for help?
- 我们 都 没 经验 ，是 来 向 你 请教 的 。None of us has experience. We're here to ask you for advice.
Sources and further reading
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (pp. 84) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- Chinese Grammar - Broken down into 100 items - Basic and Intermediate Levels (汉语语法百项讲练 - 初中级) (pp. 214) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- Practicing HSK Grammar (语法精讲精炼) (pp. 77) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy