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 (zěnme) is used to ask how in Chinese. It is inserted in front of the verb that's being asked about:

Subj. + 怎么 + Verb + Obj.

Note that the subject can often be omitted from general "how to" questions, and there doesn't always have to be an object.


  • 你们 怎么 学 中文?Nǐmen zěnme xué Zhōngwén?How do you study Chinese?
  • 怎么 上班?坐 地铁 吗?zěnme shàngbān? Zuò dìtiě ma?How do you get to work? By metro?
  • 你 知道 怎么 去 外滩 吗?Nǐ zhīdào zěnme Wàigtān ma?Do you know how to get to the bond?
  • 怎么 知道 我 喜欢 旅行?zěnme zhīdào wǒ xǐhuan lǚxíng?How did you know I like to travel?
  • 我 不 知道 怎么 跟 女孩子 说话。Wǒ bù zhīdào zěnme gēn nǚháizi shuōhuà.I don't know how to talk to girls.

Topic First

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?Chāoshì zěnme zǒu?How do you get to the supermarket?
  • 芒果 怎么 吃?Mángguǒ zěnme chī?How do you eat mangos?
  • iPad 怎么 用?iPad zěnme yòng?How do you use an iPad?
  • 太极拳 怎么 打?Tàijí quán zěnme dǎ?How do you do tai chi?
  • "apple" 用 中文 怎么 说?"apple" yòng Zhōngwén zěnme shuō?How do you say "apple" in Chinese?
  • 用 手机 怎么 上网?Yòng shǒujī zěnme shàngwǎng?How do you use a cell phone to get on the internet?
  • 语法 怎么 学 ?Yǔfǎ zěnme xué?How do you study grammar?
  • 我 喜欢 旅游, 你 怎么 知道 ?Wǒ xǐhuan lǚyóu , nǐ zěnme zhīdào?How did you know I like to travel?
  • 中国 菜 怎么 做?Zhōngguó cài zěnme zuò?How do you cook Chinese food?
  • 这么 多 苹果 怎么 吃 ?Zhème duō píngguǒ zěnme chī?How do you eat so many apples?

See also

Sources and further reading