The word "and" in English seems very simple, but is often quite tricky to translate into Chinese. This is because "and" is very versatile in English, and manages to cover the functions of quite a few different Chinese words and structures.
A lot of learners then over-use one or two "and" words and end up sounding quite awkward. Learning to correctly express "and" in Chinese is an effective way to sound a lot more natural.
"And" for linking adjectives or nouns
Speakers of English shouldn't have too much trouble linking nouns or adjectives together in Chinese. You generally use the word 和, which in these cases is equivalent to "and".
Linking nouns with 和 (hé)
和 works exactly like "and" in English, sitting between the two nouns. Some examples of linking nouns with 和:
wǒ hé wǒ de zhàngfū dōu shì lǎoshī.
My husband and I are both teachers.
píjiǔ hé pútáojiǔ wǒ dōu xǐhuan hē.
I like drinking beer and wine.
zhèxiē shū hé yīfú dōu shì nǐ de.
These books and clothes are all yours.
There are some other words for connecting nouns that are also covered by "and" in English.
Linking nouns with 跟 (gēn)
跟 is often translated as "with", but actually it's interchangeable with 和 in most cases. It works in the same way, sitting between the two nouns it links:
wǒ gēn wǒ péngyǒu chángcháng qù jiǔbā.
My friends and I often go to the bar.
nǐ gēn wǒ yīyàng dà.
You and me are the same age.
tā gēn tā nán péngyǒu yīqǐ zhù.
She and her boyfriend live together.
Notice how all of the above sentences could just as well be expressed using "with" in English. I used the slightly awkward versions using "and" just to illustrate that 跟 is actually very similar to 和.
Linking nouns with 与 (yǔ)
与 is another conjunction for linking nouns that's common in Classical Chinese but less so in the modern language. It's most often used in writing, as a more formal way to express "and", covering the function of both 和 and 跟. Some examples:
zhè jiàn shì yǔ nǐ wúguān.
This issue has nothing to do with you.
yǒuyì yǔ kuàilè bùkěfēn.
Friendship and happiness cannot be separated.
yīnggélán yǔ Sūgélán xiānglín.
England and Scotland are neighbours.
Notice how the style of these examples is quite formal and literary, as that's appropriate for 与.
"And" for linking verbs or phrases
This is where things get tricky. First off, you can not link verbs with 和. This is a classic English-speaker mistake, and you hear it everywhere. It sounds very obvious and totally incorrect to native Chinese speakers.
There are a number of different words for connecting verbs and phrases in Mandarin Chinese, all of which can be translated as "and".
Without a conjunction
Quite often, it's possible to just not use any explicit word for "and" when linking phrases. This is usually quite a safe bet when speaking – just say the two phrases without any connector. Some examples:
wǒ měi tiān qù kāfēi diàn hē kāfēi.
Everyday I go to the café and have coffee.
yīgè nánrén guòlái wèn wǒ zěnmele.
A man came over and asked if I was OK.
wǒ kāichē qù le chéngshì mǎi dōngxi.
I drove to town and went shopping.
If a sentence in English can be expressed using "to", you can usually omit any kind of connector in Mandarin. Look at the examples above and notice how they all have some sense of purpose in the second phrase – "I go to the café to drink coffee", etc.
"And" in English often implies a sequence of actions (compare "they got married and had a child" to "they had a child and got married"). In Chinese, you can get the same effect by not using a conjunction at all and just following one phrase with another, as above.
If you really want to use a conjunction, you can use 然后. This means "and then", and makes the sequence clear. Some examples:
wǒ xiǎng xiān xiūxí yīxià ránhòu qù xuéxiào.
I'd like to rest a bit first and then go to school.
zánmen děng yíxià ránhòu chūqù.
Let's wait a while and then go out.
也 is a common connector for verbs and phrases in Mandarin, and is often used to link two phrases that share the same subject. If you're talking about one person doing two things, 也 is a safe bet to link the two phrases together.
也 is literally "also" or "too", but a more convenient way to think of it might be "and also". This makes it easy to use to express "and". Some examples:
wǒ chīle chǎofàn, yě hēle píjiǔ.
I ate fried rice and drank some beer.
wǒmen hěn xiǎng nǐ, yě fēicháng qídài nǐ zài zhèlǐ.
We miss you and are really looking forward to you being here.
tā xǐhuan chànggē, yě xǐhuan tiàowǔ.
He likes singing and dancing.
wǒmen yào qù Běijīng, yě yào qù Shànghǎi.
We want to go to Beijing and Shanghai.
Notice how 也 introduces a new phrase, but keeps the same subject. The verb is often the same as well, in which case it must be repeated. 也 can link phrases with different verbs though, as in the first two examples.
When the verb is the same, you could actually use one of the noun connectors above to just link the objects together. The underlying structure of the sentence would then be different, although the meanings are practically identical.
还有 is a very versatile word and has a lot uses besides expressing "and" in Mandarin. It can be used to tack on extra information to the end of a sentence. Some examples:
tā mǎile shūcài, hái yǒu yīxiē shuǐguǒ.
He bought vegetables and some fruit.
wǒ hěn lèi, hái yǒudiǎn xīnfán.
I'm tired and a bit grumpy.
wǒ yào mápódòufu, hái yǒu liǎng wǎn mǐfàn.
I'd like mapo tofu and two bowls of rice.
The "furthermore" conjunctions
The following words can also express what would be "and" in English. They're all used to link verbs or phrases, and have the sense of "furthermore" or "as well as".
并 is a fairly formal way to link verbs and phrases in Mandarin. 并 usually draws attention to the actual combination itself, as in "a and b" with emphasis on the "and". Some examples:
wǒ cānjiā guo hànyǔ shuǐpíng kǎoshì bìng kǎo de zuìgāo de shuǐpíng.
I've taken the HSK and achieved the highest level.
tā tèbié ài píjiǔ bìng měi tiān dōu hē zuì.
He really loves beer and gets drunk every day.
wǒ qùnián líkāile shànghǎi bìng cónglái méiyǒu huíqùguò.
I left Shanghai last year and I've never been back.
Note that a common use of 并 is in 并不, to express "not at all".
并且 (bìngqiě) is a variation of 并 that functions in the same way, but adds a lot more force to the "furthermore" or "moreover" feel of the word.
而且 is similar to 并且 – it expresses "and" as in "and what's more". Remember though that it can often just be translated as "and". It's not as strong as "furthermore" in English, it just has that feel to it. Some examples:
tā jiéhūnle, érqiě yǒu sān gè háizi.
He's married and has three children.
tā hěn fánrén, érqiě hěn zìsī.
She's annoying and selfish.
wǒmen de dōngxi bèi tōu zǒu le, érqiě wǒmen cuòguòle huǒchē.
Our stuff got stolen, and we missed our train.
Notice that 而且 can link phrases with different subjects, as in the last example.
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