Expressing "with" with "gen"

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Using 跟 (gēn) to express "with" is so simple and helpful, after studying it briefly, it will always be with you! 跟 (gēn) is a very common word that will help complete many other sentence structures.


The preposition 跟 (gēn) is commonly used to express "with." Just remember that the "with" phrase comes before the verb.

Subj. + 跟 + Person + Verb + Obj.

The word 一起 (yīqǐ) is used a lot with 跟 (gēn), expressing the idea of "doing something together with somebody." It may seem kind of redundant, but it's totally normal in Chinese to use both.

Also, for most of the examples below, 跟 (gēn) is interchangeable with 和 (hé), which you may remember, also means "and," just like 跟 (gēn) does.

Subj. + 跟 + Person + 一起 + Verb + Obj.

Certain Chinese verbs use 跟 (gēn) a lot, so be on the lookout for them (examples below)!


  • 我 昨天 朋友 海滩 了。Wǒ zuótiān gēn péngyou hǎitān le.I went to the beach with friends yesterday.
  • 不要 说话Bùyào gēnshuōhuà!Don't talk to me!
  • 我 明天 要 新 客户 见面Wǒ míngtiān yào gēn xīn kèhù jiànmiàn.I'm going to meet new clients tomorrow.
  • 你 什么 时候 你 女朋友 结婚Nǐ shénme shíhou gēn nǐ nǚpéngyou jiéhūn?When are you gonna marry your girlfriend?
  • 你 喜欢 你 父母 聊天 吗? Nǐ xǐhuan gēn nǐ fùmǔ liáotiān ma?Do you like to talk with your parents?
  • 你 想 一起 去 吗? Nǐ xiǎng gēnyīqǐ qù ma?Do you want to go with me?
  • 请 你们 老师 一起 读Qǐng nǐmen gēn lǎoshī yīqǐ dú.Please read together with the teacher.
  • 下 周 谁 老板 一起 出差Xià zhōu shéi gēn lǎobǎn yīqǐ chūchāi?Who is going on a business trip together with the boss next week?
  • 结婚 以后,你 想 父母 一起 住 吗?Jiéhūn yǐhòu, nǐ xiǎng gēn fùmǔ yīqǐ zhù ma?Do you want live together with your parents after you get married?
  • 今年 中秋节 你 会 家人 一起 过 吗?Jīnnián Zhōngqiūjié nǐ huì gēn jiārén yīqǐ guò ma? Are you going to spend this Mid-Autumn Festival with your family?

Note: One of the most common beginner mistakes is to fail to use 跟 (gēn) with 见面 (jiànmiàn), "to meet." It might help to think of 见面 (jiànmiàn) as "to meet with (somebody)," the "with" cluing you into the fact that you need a 跟 (gēn) in there. The verbs 结婚 (jiéhūn), "to marry," and 聊天 (liáotiān), "to chat" are used with 跟 (gēn) in the exact same way.

Check out the examples below:

  • 我 要 见面 你。Wǒ yào jiànmiàn nǐ.
  • 我 要 见面Wǒ yào gēnjiànmiàn.I want to meet with you.
  • 我 昨天 见面 他 了。Wǒ zuótiān jiànmiàn tā le.
  • 我 昨天 见面 了。Wǒ zuótiān gēnjiànmiàn le.I met with him yesterday.
  • 你 什么时候 见面 她 ?Nǐ shénme shíhou jiànmiàn tā?
  • 你 什么时候 见面Nǐ shénme shíhou gēnjiànmiàn? When are you going to meet with her?
  • 明天 我 要 见面 我 男朋友 的 家人。Míngtiān wǒ yào jiànmiàn wǒ nánpéngyou de jiārén.
  • 明天 我 要 我 男朋友 的 家人 见面Míngtiān wǒ yào gēn wǒ nánpéngyou de jiārén jiànmiàn.Tomorrow I am going to meet my boyfriend's family.
  • 你 有没有 见面 过 Obama?Nǐ yǒu méiyǒu jiànmiàn guo Obama?
  • 你 有没有 Obama 见 过 面Nǐ yǒu méiyǒu gēn Obama jiàn guo miàn?Have you ever met Obama?

Later on you'll learn more about why this is the case, but for now just memorize the correct pattern.

Where 和 (hé) and 跟 (gēn) Differ

We mentioned earlier that 跟 (gēn) is essentially interchangeable with 和 (hé). There's at least one common usage where this is not the case, though:

  • 我 读 。 wǒ dú.
  • 我 读 。Gēn wǒ dú.Read after me.

The reason is that although 跟 (gēn) and 和 (hé) can both mean "and" or "with," the word 跟 (gēn) also has a sense of "to follow" embedded in it. There's a before/after aspect.

The following sentences are both correct, because they're simultaneous rather than before/after:

  • 一起 读。yīqǐ dú.
  • 一起 读。Gēnyīqǐ dú.Read with me.

Because of this slight difference between 跟 (gēn) and 和 (hé), it's recommended to start out using 跟 (gēn) to mean "with."

See also

Sources and further reading