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How to do something with "zenme"

怎么 (zěnme) means "how" in Chinese, and it's not hard to use at all: just put it before a verb.

The Basic "How to Verb" Usage

Structure

The question word 怎么 (zěnme) is used to ask how in Chinese. It is inserted in front of the verb that's being asked about:

Subj. + 怎么 + Verb + Obj.

Note that the subject can often be omitted from general "how to" questions, and there doesn't always have to be an object.

Examples

  • 你们 怎么 学 中文?Nǐmen zěnme xué Zhōngwén?How do you study Chinese?
  • 怎么 上班?坐 地铁 吗?zěnme shàngbān? Zuò dìtiě ma?How do you get to work? By metro?
  • 你 知道 怎么 去 外滩 吗?Nǐ zhīdào zěnme qù​ Wàitān ma?Do you know how to get to the Bund?
  • 怎么 知道 我 喜欢 旅行?zěnme zhīdào wǒ xǐhuan lǚxíng?How did you know I like to travel?
  • 我 不 知道 怎么 跟 女孩子 说话。Wǒ bù zhīdào zěnme gēn nǚháizi shuōhuà.I don't know how to talk to girls.

Topic First

Starting a "how to" question with the topic at the beginning of the question is very common. That is, the thing being asked about is introduced first, then a question is asked about how to do something involving it.

Structure

Topic + 怎么 + Verb

The object doesn't have to come after the verb. Sometimes it moves to the front of the question, establishing what the question is going to be about, before getting specific with the "how" question.

Examples

  • 芒果 怎么 吃?Mángguǒ zěnme chī?How do you eat mangos?
  • iPad 怎么 用?iPad zěnme yòng?How do you use an iPad?
  • 语法 怎么 学 ?Yǔfǎ zěnme xué?How do you study grammar?
  • 中国 菜 怎么 做?Zhōngguó cài zěnme zuò?How do you cook Chinese food?
  • "Apple" 怎么 说?the "in Chinese" is implied"Apple" zěnme shuō?How do you say apple?

See Also

Sources and further reading