How to do something with "zenme"
怎么 (zěnme) means "how" in Chinese, and it's not hard to use at all. Learn how to use it here!
The Basic "How to Verb" Something
The question word 怎么 is used to ask how in Chinese. It is inserted in front of the verb that's being asked about:
Subject + 怎么 + Verb + Object
Note that the subject can often be omitted from general "how to" questions, and there doesn't always have to be an object.
- 怎么 去？(Literally: "how go"?)How do you get there?
- 用 中文 怎么 说 "apple"？(Literally: "Chinese how say 'apple'"?)How do you say "apple" in Chinese?
- 怎么 用 筷子 吃饭？(Literally: "how use chopsticks eat (rice)"?)How do you use chopsticks to eat?
- 怎么 做 饭？(Literally: "how cook (rice)"?)How do you cook?
- 你 怎么 上班？坐 地铁 吗？How do you get to work? By metro?
- 你 怎么 学 中文？How do you study Chinese?
- 你 知道 怎么 用 手机 上网 吗？Do you know how to use the cellular internet (3G)?
- 怎么 学 语法？How do you study grammar?
- 你 怎么 知道 我 喜欢 旅游？How do you know I like to travel?
- 我们 应该 怎么 告诉 他？How should we tell him?
- 怎么 跟 女孩子 说话？How do you talk to girls?
Starting a "how to" question with the topic at the beginning of the question is very common. That is, the thing being asked about is introduced first, then a question is asked about how to do something involving it.
Topic + 怎么 + Verb
The object doesn't have to come after the verb. Sometimes it moves to the front of the question, establishing what the question is going to be about, before getting specific with the "how" question.
- 超市 怎么 走？How do you get to the supermarket?
- 芒果 怎么 吃？How do you eat mangos?
- iPad 怎么 用？How do you use an iPad?
- 太极拳 怎么 打？How do you do tai chi?
- "apple" 用 中文 怎么 说？How do you say "apple" in Chinese?
- 用 手机 怎么 上网？How to use cellular internet (3G)?
- 语法 怎么 学 ？How do you study grammar?
- 我 喜欢 旅游， 你 怎么 知道 ？How did you know I like to swim?
- 中国 菜 怎么 做？How do you cook Chinese food?
- 这么 多 苹果 怎么 吃 ？How do you eat so many apples?
Sources and further reading
- Integrated Chinese: Level 1, Part 1 (3rd ed) (p. 191) →buy
- 现代汉语八百词（增订本） (pp. 651-2) →buy
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide (p. 163) →buy