Comparing "jian" and "jianmian"
Both 见 (jiàn) and 见面 (jiànmiàn) to mean “to see someone” or "to meet up with someone." Sometimes they can be used interchangeably.
|见 (jiàn)||见面 (jiànmiàn)|
|Meaning||to see someone||to meet face to face|
|Part of Speech||verb||verb|
|Formality||formal and informal||formal and informal|
The key difference between these words is 见 (jiàn) emphasizes to see someone, whereas 见面 emphasizes a to meet up with someone (face to face).
- 1 见 (jiàn) and 见面 (jiànmiàn) Can Be Interchangeable
- 2 Many Set Phrases Use 见 (jiàn)
- 3 见 (jiàn) Can Be Immediately Followed by an Object
- 4 Using 见面 (jiànmiàn) with an Object
- 5 Advanced Differences
- 6 Sources and further reading
见 (jiàn) and 见面 (jiànmiàn) Can Be Interchangeable
In the following sentences, 见 (jiàn) and 见面 (jiànmiàn) both can be used interchangeably:
- 我们 明天 几 点 见？ What time shall we meet tomorrow?
- 我们 在 咖啡 店 见面 吧。 Let's meet at the coffee shop.
- 我们 很久 没 见面 了。 We haven't seen each other for a long time.
- 我们 三 个 月 没有 见面 了。 We haven't seen each other for three months.
Many Set Phrases Use 见 (jiàn)
Common Set Phrases with 见 (jiàn)
These common phrases only work with 见：
- 明天 见 see you tomorrow
- 一会儿 见 see you in a while
- 好 久 不 见 long time no see
You'll notice that the English translation "see" feels natural for the examples here, although sometimes "meet" might work as well.
Example Sentences with 见 (jiàn) as a Set Phrase
In the following sentences, only 见 (jiàn) can be used.
- 我 快 到 了，一会儿 见！ I'm almost there. See you in a bit!
- 我们 下课 了。明天 见！ We're out of class. See you tomorrow!
- 真的 是 你 吗？好 久 不 见！ Is it really you? It's been a long time!
见 (jiàn) Can Be Immediately Followed by an Object
Common Objects that Follow 见 (jiàn)
- 见 你 to see you
- 见 我to see me
- 见 朋友to meet friend
Example Sentences with 见 (jiàn) Directly Followed by an Object
In the following sentences, only 见 can be used. Aside from set phrases, one of the most common ways to use 见 is to directly follow it with an object (usually a person) to mean "meet" that person. (As you'll see below, 见面 can't be used this way.)
- 我 不 想 见 她。 I don't want to see her.
- 我 昨天 去 见 我的 我 的 朋友 了。 I went to see my friend yesterday.
- 明天 我 很 忙，不 能 见 你 了。 I'm very busy tomorrow. I can't meet you.
- 我 见 过 他 两 次。 I've met him twice.
Using 见面 (jiànmiàn) with an Object
Common Mistakes with 见面 (jiànmiàn)
The main thing to remember with using 见面 is that you can't follow it with an object.
- 见面 你
- 见面 我
- 见面 他
- 见面 朋友
Pattern with 见面 (jiànmiàn) and an Object
In the pattern below, the object is normally a person.
和 + Object + 见面
Sometimes 跟 is used instead of 和. Both are fine.
Example Sentences with 见面 (jiànmiàn)
In the following sentences, you can see how 见面 is used correctly:
- 我 和 姐姐 很 少 见面 。 I rarely meet up with my big sister.
- 今天 晚上 我 要 和 我的 朋友 见面 。 Tonight I want to meet with my friend.
- 第一 次 跟 他们 见面 后 我们 成 了 朋友 。 After meeting them for the first time we became friends.
Technically, 见面 (jiànmiàn) is just one way to use 见 (jiàn). 见面 (jiànmiàn) is a special type of Chinese verb-object construct called a “separable verb,” meaning 见 and 面 can be “separated” and other information can be put in the middle. This grammar is a bit complicated, though, and you don't need it as an elementary learner. For a detailed understanding of this type of verb and its usage, see the intermediate-level Chinese Grammar Wiki grammar points on separable verbs.
Sources and further reading
AllSet Learning Wikis
- Separable verb (Chinese Grammar Wiki)
- 1700对近义词语用法对比 第654页
- HiNative: "见" 和 "见面" 和有什么不一样?