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5 uses of “要” in Chinese

5 uses of 要 in Chinese.jpg

要(yào) is one of the most common words in Chinese, and it has a versatile range of uses. This article covers five common uses of 要 in Chinese grammar: "want", "need", "should", for commands and for future tense.

"要(yào)"是中文里最为常见的汉字之一,有着广泛的用法。本文涵盖5种"要"的中文语法:"想要(want)"、"需要(need)"、"应该(should)"、命令语气以及将来语境下将来时的用法。

 

要 meaning "want"

"要"表示"想要(xiǎng yào)"

 

The dictionary definitions for 要 always include "want" in English. 要 is the most direct and simple way of expressing a desire in Chinese. For example:

字典里对于"要"的定义包括了英文中"want"的意思。"要"是中文里表达自己的渴望的最直接和简单的方式。例如:

 

我要那个玩具。

Wǒ yào nàge wánjù.

I want that toy.

 

我要吃糖果。

Wǒ yào chī tángguǒ.

I want to eat sweets.

 

谁要去游泳?

Shéi yào qù yóuyǒng?

Who wants to go swimming?

 

Notice how in the first sentence, 要 is the main verb, whereas in the last two sentences, 要 is an auxiliary verb.

注意,第一个例句里的"要"是主动词,而接下去的两个例句里的"要"均是助动词。

 

As in English, expressing "want" in this way can be quite direct and abrupt, so be careful with it.

而英文里,这种表达"想要"的方式有点过于直接和唐突,谨慎使用。

 

要 meaning "need"

"要"表示"需要(xūyào)"

 

In much the same way as it can be used to express "want", 要 can also express "need". Have a look at these examples:

和表达"想要"的用法差不多一样,"要"也可以用来表示"需要"的意思。看看以下的例子:

 

我要找到我的钥匙。

Wǒ yào zhǎodào wǒ de yàoshi.

I need to find my keys.

 

去美国要申请签证。

Qù Měiguó yào shēnqǐng qiānzhèng.

You need to apply for a visa to go to America.

 

买汽车要花很多钱。

Mǎi qìchē yào huā hěnduō qián.

You have to spend a lot of money to buy a car.

 

In the above sentences, 要 could be swapped with 需要(xūyào) without a great deal of difference.

以上的例句里,"要"都可以换成"需要",而意思没有什么不同。

 

要 meaning "should"

"要"表示"应该 (yīng gāi)"

 

要 can often be somewhat ambiguous as to whether it expresses "need" or "should". Have a look at the example sentences below; you could interpret them as meaning "need" or "should" in English, but all of them use 要 in Chinese.

"要"在表示"需要"或者"应该"的时候常出现模棱两可的情况。看看以下的例句,你可以将它们理解成"需要"或"应该"的意思,不过它们通通用到"要"这个字。

 

葡萄要先洗一洗再吃。

Pútáo yào xiān xǐ yī xǐ zài chī.

We should wash the grapes before we eat them.

 

生病时要多喝水。

Shēngbìng shí yào duō hē shuǐ.

You should drink more water when you're ill.

 

你学习中文要努力一点。

Nǐ xuéxí Zhōngwén yào nǔlì yīdiǎn.

You should put more effort into studying Chinese.

 

要 for commands

"要"有命令的意味

 

要 is often used to form imperative sentences in Chinese. 要 is pretty much only used to form negative commands.

"要"常被用于中文里的命令句。"要"一般在被动命令句里使用。

 

For example, 要 is the easiest way to express "don't":

例如,"要"是表达"不要(don't)"的最简单的方式:

 

不要碰我的东西。

Búyào pèng wǒ de dōngxī.

Don't touch my stuff.

 

什么都不要说

Shénme dōu búyào shuō.

Don't say anything.

 

不要看我。

Búyào kàn wǒ.

Don't look at me.

 

Note that when 不 comes before 要, it becomes second tone due to tone change rules.

注意,当"不(bù)"出现在"要"之前的时候,"不"会因声调变换规律而变成第二声。

 

了(le) can be used to indicate a change of state. If you combine this with 不要, you get commands that express "stop".

"了(le)"可以用来表示状态的改变。要是将它和"不要"组合的话,得到的就会是表示"停下(stop)"的命令。

 

Here are some examples:

有以下几个例子:

 

不要说话了。

Búyào shuōhuàle.

Stop talking.

 

不要嘲笑我了!

Búyào cháoxiào wǒle!

Stop mocking me!

 

不要这样了!

Bú yào zhèyàng le!

Stop it!

 

You can also replace 不要 with 别 in most situations. A couple of examples:

大部分情况下,你可以用"别"替换"不要"。看看这几个例子:

 

别误会我。

Bié wùhuì wǒ.

Don't misunderstand me.

 

别打扰我。

Bié dǎrǎo wǒ.

Don't disturb me.

 

别离开我。

Bié líkāi wǒ.

Don't leave me.

 

These kinds of commands can also be expressed in English with "any more" or "again", for example:

这类的命令也可以用于表示英文里"any more"或"again"的意思。例如:

 

不要再喝了。

Bùyào zài hēle.

Don't drink any more.

 

你不要见她了吧。

Nǐ bùyào jiàn tāle ba.

Don't see her again.

 

要 for future tense

"要"在将来时态中的用法时使用

 

Finally, 要 can be used to express future tense. This is similar to many European languages that express future actions with words like "want" or "will".

最后,"要"可以用来表示将来时。这和许多欧洲语言里使用"want"或"will"等词来表达将来动作的情况类似。

 

Some examples:

几个例子:

 

他们要来这里吃饭。

Tāmen yào lái zhèlǐ chīfàn.

They're going to come here to eat.

 

我们明天要去颐和园。

Wǒmen míngtiān yào qù Yíhéyuán.

We're going to go to the Summer Palace tomorrow.

 

看起来要下雨了。

Kànqǐlái yào xiàyǔ le.

Looks like it's going to rain.

2016-06-21

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