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. This usage of 要 (yào) typically includes a time-indicating expression, which may be placed before or after the subject.

Subj. + 要 + Verb


  • 去 你家 吃 晚饭。 yào qù nǐ jiā chī wǎnfàn.I'm going to your place to have dinner.
  • 我们 今 年 去 美国。 Wǒmen jīnnián yào qù měiguó.We are planning to go to America this year.
  • 下 个 月 来 中国 工作。 xià gè yuè yào lái Zhōngguó gōngzuò.He is coming to China to work next month.
  • 这 个 星期天 做 什么?Zhè ge xīngqītiānyào zuò shénme? What are you going to do this Sunday?
  • 晚上 给 妈妈 打电话。 wǎnshàng yào gěi māma dǎ diànhuà. I am going to call my mom this evening.
  • 你们 出去 吗? Nǐmen yào chūqù ma?Are you going out.
  • 明天 买 一 个 iPhone。 míngtiān yào mǎi yī gè iPhone.I am going to buy an iPhone tomorrow.
  • 下班 以后 去 哪里 ? Xiàbān yǐhòuyào qù nǎlǐ? Where are you planning to go after work?
  • 下午 去 你 家。 xiàwǔ yào qù nǐ jiā. I am going to your place this afternoon.
  • 明天 回 美国 吗? Míngtiānyào huí Měiguó ma? Are you going back to the U.S. tomorrow?

See also

Sources and further reading