Expressing "within (it/them)" with "qizhong"
In classical Chinese, 其 means 那个, 那, or 那些, and refers to people or things previously mentioned in the sentence. It stands to reason therefore, that 其中 (qízhōng）means "among the aforementioned" or 那里面, and denotes that something belongs to, is or is part of a bigger group. This is a little like "of which" in English, where you can say, "I have 3 ties, of which 2 are silk."
Category / Group / Context + 其中
- 我 有 四辆 汽车，其中 三 辆 都 是 宝马。I have four cars. Of them, three are BMW's.
- 到处 都 有 孤独 的 人，我 只 是 其中 一 个。There are solitary people all over the place. I am just one of them.
- 人类 21 世纪 面临 许多 问题，其中 最 严重 的 是 环境 问题。Mankind faces many challenges in the 21st century. Among them, the most serious is the problem of protecting the environment.
- 工作 虽然 有时 枯燥，但是 我 乐在 其中。Although work is sometimes boring, I am able to find joy in it.
In the last example sentence, 乐在其中 means "to find pleasure in" or maybe "there is joy involved with." This sounds awkward in English, but 其中 is often used in this abstract way.
Sources and further reading
- HSK Standard Course 4上 (pp. 73) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Boya Chinese Lower Intermediate 2 (博雅汉语准中级加速篇) (pp. 169) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 1 (pp. 353) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 2 (pp. 259-60) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 6 (新实用汉语课本6) (pp. 29) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy