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The differences between ‘gen’ and ‘ye’

Chinese words, learning Chinese, Chinese grammar

Some people learning Mandarin Chinese can get the words 跟 (gēn) and 也 (yě) confused, or use them incorrectly. The two words have related meanings and functions, but they're used quite differently.



跟 (gēn): "and", "with" (conjunction)


跟 is a conjunction. As with 和, you can't use 跟 to link verbs or verb phrases. This is an important point, and using 跟 or 和 to link verbs is a common mistake that people learning Mandarin often make.



Always remember that you can only use 跟 to link nouns together. That is, it links things not actions.



Have a look at some example sentences for 跟:




wǒ gēn wǒ nánpéngyǒu qù Běijīng de.

I went to Beijing with my boyfriend.



wǒ gēn wǒ bàba dōu shì lǎoshī.

My father and I are both teachers.



nǐ gēn nǐ de shìyou hédelái ma?

Do you get on well with your flat mates?



wǒ xǐhuan xué Zhōngguó de lìshǐ gēn wénxué.

I like studying Chinese history and literature.


As you can see, 跟 is simply used to link nouns together, where "with" or "and" might be used in English.



也 (yě): "also" (adverb)


也 is an adverb meaning "also", "too", "as well", "either" etc. Unlike 跟, it links verbs, verb phrases and adjectives. That's the most important difference between 跟 and 也.

"也"是副词,意思是"also"、"too"、"as well"、"either"等。与"跟"不同的是,它可连接动词、动词词组和形容词,这是"跟"和"也"之间最重要的不同。


Have a look at some example sentences for 也:




wǒ bàba shì lǎoshī, wǒ yěshì lǎoshī.

My father is a teacher; I am also a teacher.



wǒ qù wèn tā le, tā yě bù zhīdào zěnme bàn.

I went to ask her, and she didn't know what to do either.



tā yě hěn shuài.

He is also good-looking.


A: 我喜欢炒饭。

wǒ xǐhuan chǎofàn.

I like fried rice.

B: 我也喜欢。

wǒ yě xǐhuan.

I like it too.


Notice how 也 always links verbs or adjectives, and 跟 always links nouns.


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