Expressing "be going to" with "yao"

The auxiliary verb 要 (yào) has several different meanings, and here we'll tackle the "be going to" meaning. You'll use this when you are discussing your plans with someone.


The idea behind this usage of 要 (yào) is that someone is "planning to" or "going to" or "preparing to" do something. It's not that they just want to, or have to, it's that they fully expect to do it. It's in their plan. Because of the time indication, the following examples show that the subject wants and plans to do the action stated.

Subject + 要 + Verb

A time-indicating expression may appear before or after the subject.


  • 去 你家 吃 饭 。 yào qù nǐjiāchī wǎnfàn.I'm going to your place to have dinner.
  • 我 今 年 学 中文 。 Wǒ jīnnián yào xué Zhōngwén.I am planning to learn Chinese this year.
  • 我 下 个 月 去 中国 工作 。 Wǒ xià gè yuè yào qù Zhōngguó gōngzuò.I am going to China to work next month.
  • 星期天 我 去 北京 。 Xīngqītiān wǒ yào qù Běijīng. I am going to Beijing on Sunday.
  • 我 等会儿 给 妈妈 打电话 。 Wǒ děnghuǐr yào gěi māma dǎ diànhuà. I am going to call my mom in a little bit.
  • 出去。 yào chūqù.I am going out.
  • 我 明天 买 一 个 iPhone 。 Wǒ míngtiān yào mǎi yī gè iPhone.I am going to buy an iPhone tomorrow.
  • 下班 以后 你 去 哪里 ? Xiàbān yǐhòu nǐ yào qù nǎlǐ? Where are you planning to go after work?
  • 我 下午 去 你 家。 Wǒ xiàwǔ yào qù nǐ jiā. I am going to your place this afternoon.
  • 你 明天 回 美国 吗? nǐ míngtiān yào huí měiguó ma? Are you going back to the U.S. tomorrow?

See also

Sources and further reading