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


  • 买 一 个 iPhone。 yào mǎi yī gè iPhone.I am going to buy an iPhone.
  • 你们 出去 吗? Nǐmen yào chūqù ma?Are you going out?
  • 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.
  • 去 我家 吃 晚饭 吗?yào qù wǒjiā chī wǎnfàn ma?Are you going to my place to have dinner?
  • 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.
  • 下班 以后 回家 吗? Xiàbān yǐhòuyào huíjiā ma? Are you planning to go back home after work?
  • 下午 老师 来 我家。 Xiàwǔ lǎoshīyào lái wǒ jiā. The teacher is coming to my place this afternoon.
  • 老板 明天 见 客户 吗? Lǎobǎn míngtiānyào jiàn kèhù? Are they going back to the U.S. tomorrow?

See also

Sources and further reading