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3 uses of “那个” you may not know

As you move on learning Chinese, you'll find that many words do not only mean what they look like, and they have more uses you need to know. For instance, "那个" is a simple word, meaning "that", but it has more meanings and uses. Take a look. 

1. Filler word

"那个" (nèi ge) is often used as a filler word to express thoughtful absorption, hesitation, doubt, or perplexity, pretty similar to "ummm" or "weeellllll" in English. 

Wǒ zuó tiān qù le nèige… nèige…bó wù guǎn


Yesterday I went to that…that…museum. 

Using this too much will make your speech a bit stilted, but it's better than complete silence if you plan on saying something else!

2. Demonstrative pronoun

Another interesting usage of "那个" is to express something you don't want to say directly (for example, you are too shy, or you don't want to let more people know.)

nǐnèi ge le ba


You got pregnant? 

Here, "那个" here may mean pregnancy or something that both the speaker and the listener know well. 

3. Excuse me

"那个" can be used as "excuse me" to get someone's attention.

Nèige, dì tiě zhàn zài nǎ li?


Excuse me, where is the subway station?

It's not as polite as "请问" (qǐng wèn), but it's still perfectly acceptable in an informal setting, such as in a corner shop.

Note: "那" is usually pronounced as "nèi" in spoken Chinese. 

The article is translated and editted by Chinlingo. Please indicate the source for any use, reproduction or transfer. 



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