Expressing "be going to" with "yao"

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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 word of some sort, which may be placed before or after the subject.

Subj. + 要 + Verb


  • 明天 买 一 个 iPhone。 míngtiān yào mǎi yī gè iPhone.I am going to buy an iPhone tomorrow.
  • 你们 现在 出去 吗? Nǐmen xiànzài yào chūqù ma?Are you all going out now?
  • 我们 今年 去 美国 。 Wǒmen jīnnián yào qù Měiguó.We are planning to go to the U.S. 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 míngtiān yào jiàn kèhù? Is the boss going to meet the cliets tomorrow?
  • 下班 以后 回家 吗? Xiàbān yǐhòuyào huíjiā ma? Are you planning to go home after getting off work?

See also

Sources and further reading