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Master the Most Useful Chinese Grammar Conjunctions

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What’s the secret weapon to achieving more fluent Chinese?

You must have struggled with Chinese grammar as a beginner. But after all that sweat and hard work, you may have reached a higher level in Chinese grammar now and are eagerly looking for something more exciting to perfect your sentences. One of the keys is to utilize Chinese grammar conjunctions.

Conjunctive adverbs are a significant part of every language in both writing and speaking. They allow you to connect ideas, make comparisons, string together sentences, and most importantly, make your speech flow more smoothly and naturally. Without proper conjunctions, your speech may not function as effectively as it should. This makes Chinese conjunctions for intermediate language-learners a can’t-miss lesson!

Don’t panic just yet! Conjunctions in the Chinese language function just like English conjunctions. They indicate to the listener about different relationships between subclauses to help you better understand the sentence. Now, we’ve prepared for you a Chinese conjunction words list.

Let’s go straight to them, and enhance your Chinese learning!

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Table of Contents

  1. What is a Conjunction?
  2. Chinese Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts
  3. Chinese Conjunctions to Express Condition
  4. Chinese Conjunctions to Express Cause (Chinese Causal Conjunctions)
  5. Chinese Conjunctions to Express Opposition
  6. Chinese Conjunctions to Express Purpose
  7. Final Thoughts


1. What is a Conjunction?

Sentence Patterns

A conjunction is a phrase that’s used to connect ideas or related sentences to make them join smoothly together. In Chinese grammar, conjunctions are very similar to English conjunctions, although there are some special ones that don’t make much sense in English but are considered common Chinese conjunctions.


2. Chinese Conjunctions to Correlate Similar Thoughts

The most common conjunctions in Chinese are those that correlate similar thoughts. In this Chinese conjunctions list, you’ll find all the words and information you need to do so smoothly!

1- With / And

Person Hiking

Would you like to go hiking with your friends?

Meaning #1:

In English: With
Pinyin: hé / gēn / yǔ / tóng
In Chinese: 和 / 跟 / 与 / 同

Usage in a sentence:
In English: The weather today is very nice, so I decided to hike with my best friend.

Pinyin: Jīn tiān tiān qì hěn hǎo, yú shì wǒ jué dìng hé / gēn / yǔ / tóng zuì hǎo de péng yǒu chū qù dēng shān.

In Chinese: 今天天气很好,于是我决定和 / 跟 / 与/ 同最好的朋友出去登山。

Grammar Explanation:
In this case, the word indicates being accompanied by someone or something.

Meaning #2:

In English: And
Pinyin: hé / gēn / yǔ / tóng
In Chinese: 和 / 跟 / 与 / 同

Usage in a sentence:
In English: My sister and I went shopping yesterday.

Pinyin: Wǒ hé jiě jie zuó tiān yì qǐ qù guàng jiē le.

In Chinese: 我和姐姐昨天一起去逛街了。

Grammar Explanation:
In this case, it’s used to connect words that share the same part of speech.

Additional Notes:
These four words are basically the same, and can be replaced by each other. However, a slight difference between them is that 和 () and 跟 (gēn) are used more often in speech, while 与 () and 同 (tóng) are more suitable for writing and sound more formal.

2- Or

Pair of Baby Bottles with Mother and Child in Background

Drinking milk everyday is a good habit!

In English: Or
Pinyin: huò / huò zhě
In Chinese: 或 / 或者

Usage in a sentence:
In English: I like to add sugar or honey in my milk.

Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ huān zài niú nǎi lǐ jiā táng huò / huò zhě fēng mì.

In Chinese: 我喜欢在牛奶里加糖或 / 或者蜂蜜。

Grammar Explanation:
Here, the word is used to connect alternative words or clauses.

Additional Notes:
There isn’t really a huge difference between 或 (huò) and 或者 (huò zhě). However, 或 (huò) is used more frequently for connecting small words since it’s a simpler version of 或者 (huò zhě), while 或者 (huò zhě) can be used for a longer alternative clause.

3- As well as

Remember to wear formal clothing at a job fair!

In English: As well as
Pinyin: yǐ jí
In Chinese: 以及

Usage in a sentence:
In English: When you go to a job fair, it’s necessary to wear formal clothing and bring your notebook and pens, as well as the most important thing which is your resume.

Pinyin: Nǐ qù cān jiā zhāo pìn huì shí wù bì yào shēn zhuó zhèng zhuāng, dài shàng bǐ jì běn hé bǐ, yǐ jí zuì zhòng yào de jiǎn lì.

In Chinese: 你去参加招聘会时务必要身着正装,带上笔记本和笔,以及最重要的简历。

Grammar Explanation:
Here, the word simply means “additionally.”

4- Also

Cupcake with Sparkler In It

Do you like making wishes at your birthday party?

In English: Also
Pinyin: bìng qiě
In Chinese: 并且

Usage in a sentence:
In English: I am very sick today, I am afraid I cannot make it to your birthday party, also the time doesn’t allow either.

Pinyin: Wǒ jīn tiān bìng de hěn lì hài, qù bù liǎo nǐ de shēng rì pài duì le, bìng qiě shí jiān yě lái bù jí le.

In Chinese: 我今天病得很厉害,去不了你的生日派对了,并且时间也来不及了。

Grammar Explanation:
This word means “in addition to.”

5- What’s more

Flights That Are Cancelled

The schedule can be tight when you need to catch a flight!

In English: What’s more
Pinyin: hái yǒu
In Chinese: 还有

Usage in a sentence:
In English: You have to remember to bring your passport before you head to the airport. What’s more, leave a little bit early just in case.

Pinyin: Zài qù jī chǎng zhī qián nǐ yī dìng yào jì dé dài shàng zì jǐ de hù zhào, hái yǒu jì dé zǎo diǎn chū fā, yǐ fáng wàn yī.

In Chinese: 在去机场之前你一定要记得带上自己的护照,还有记得早点出发,以防万一。

Grammar Explanation:
To add something that has a greater degree of importance.

Additional Notes:
Unlike how we use this conjunction in English, remember to avoid putting a comma after 还有.

6- Both

Person Sitting On the Edge of a Cliff

Do you plan to travel to somewhere as beautiful as this?

In English: Both
Pinyin: dōu
In Chinese: 都

Usage in a sentence:
In English: Both my friend and I are looking forward to our trip this year on summer break.

Pinyin: Wǒ péng yǒu hé wǒ dōu fēi cháng qī dài jīn nián shǔ jià de lǚ yóu.

In Chinese: 我朋友和我都非常期待今年暑假的旅游。

Grammar Explanation:
This conjunction in Chinese is used to describe two subjects or objects that are identified in the same way.

7- Not only … but also …

In English: Not only … but also…
Pinyin: bú dàn…ér qiě… / bù jǐn…hái …
In Chinese: 不但……而且…… / 不仅……还……

Usage in a sentence:
In English: I not only enjoy eating delicious food but also love how proud I feel while cooking.

Pinyin: Wǒ bú dàn / bù jǐn xiǎng shòu chī měi shí de kuài gǎn, ér qiě / hái rè ài xià chú shí de chéng jiù gǎn.

In Chinese: 我不但 / 不仅享受吃美食的快感,而且 / 还热爱下厨时的成就感。

Grammar Explanation:
This Chinese conjunction is used to express ideas in parallelism, although the second conjunction usually indicates a more important idea.

Additional Notes:
The two sets of conjunctions mean exactly the same thing and can be used the same way. However, in English, we usually don’t put a comma between the two conjunctions; remember to put a comma between the two clauses that the two Chinese conjunctions lead, to make it sound more smooth.


3. Chinese Conjunctions to Express Condition

Improve Listening

The next Chinese language conjunctions we’ll look at are those used to express condition. This is an essential skill to have for fluent speech and writing!

1- If

In English: If
Pinyin: rú guǒ / tǎng ruò / yào shì / jiǎ rú
In Chinese: 如果 / 倘若 / 要是 / 假如

Usage in a sentence:
In English: If it doesn’t rain tomorrow, let’s have a picnic at the park.

Pinyin: Rú guǒ / tǎng ruò / yào shì / jiǎ rú míng tiān bú xià yǔ, wǒ men jiù qù gōng yuán yě cān ba.

In Chinese: 如果 / 倘若 / 要是 / 假如明天不下雨,我们就去公园野餐吧。

Grammar Explanation:
This Chinese conjunction is used to express a hypothesis.

Additional Notes:
These four words all mean the same thing and they can substitute one another.

2- As long as

In English: As long as
Pinyin: zhǐ yào
In Chinese: 只要

Usage in a sentence:
In English: As long as you promise not to tell anyone, I will share this secret with you.

Pinyin: Zhǐ yào nǐ bǎo zhèng bù gēn bié rén shuō, wǒ jiù bǎ zhè gè mì mì gào sù nǐ.

In Chinese: 只要你保证不跟别人说,我就把这个秘密告诉你。

Grammar Explanation:
This conjunction is only used when a particular situation is provided.

3- If not / Otherwise

In English: If not / Otherwise
Pinyin: bù rán / fǒu zé
In Chinese: 不然 / 否则

Usage in a sentence:
In English: I think she must be sick; if not / otherwise, she would never skip a class according to her hardworking personality.

Pinyin: Wǒ jué de tā yī dìng shì shēng bìng le, bù rán / fǒu zé yǐ tā qín fèn de xìng gé shì bú huì quē kè de.

In Chinese: 我觉得她一定是生病了,不然 / 否则以她勤奋的性格是不会缺课的。

Grammar Explanation:
This conjunction is used if a different condition is brought up than what was mentioned.

Additional Note:
Just like in English, these words indicate almost the same meaning. However, 否则 (fǒu zé) sounds more serious.

4- Only…then…

In English: Only…then…
Pinyin: zhǐ yǒu… cái…
In Chinese: 只有……才……

Usage in a sentence:
In English: Only when you develop confidence in yourself, then other people will recognize how good you are.

Pinyin: Zhǐ yǒu nǐ zì jǐ duì zì jǐ xiān yǒu le xìn xīn, bié rén cái néng rèn kě nǐ de yōu xiù.

In Chinese: 只有你自己对自己先有了信心,别人才能认可你的优秀。

Grammar Explanation:
This conjunction is used in a unique situation, where only in one particular condition can a specified result occur.

5- No matter

In English: No matter
Pinyin: bù guǎn
In Chinese: 不管

Usage in a sentence:
In English: No matter what happens, my friends will always stand by me.

Pinyin: Bù guǎn fā shēng shén me, wǒ de péng yǒu zǒng shì jiān dìng de zhàn zài wǒ shēn biān.

In Chinese: 不管发生什么,我的朋友总是坚定地站在我身边。

Grammar Explanation:
This conjunction can also mean “in spite of” or “despite.”

6- Unless

In English: Unless
Pinyin: chú fēi
In Chinese: 除非

Usage in a sentence:
In English: You are not allowed to park here, unless you are disabled.

Pinyin: Nǐ bù kě yǐ zài zhè lǐ tíng chē, chú fēi nǐ shì cán jí rén.

In Chinese: 你不可以在这里停车,除非你是残疾人。

Grammar Explanation:
This can also mean “except for the fact that…”

7- However

In English: However
Pinyin: wú lùn rú hé
In Chinese: 无论如何

Usage in a sentence:
In English: However, I can’t let you risk this.

Pinyin: Wú lùn rú hé wǒ yě bù néng ràng nǐ mào zhè gè xiǎn.

In Chinese: 无论如何我也不能让你冒这个险。

Grammar Explanation:
This can also mean “no matter what happens.”


4. Chinese Conjunctions to Express Cause (Chinese Causal Conjunctions)

Improve Listening Part 2

1- Thus

In English: Thus
Pinyin: yīn cǐ
In Chinese: 因此

Usage in a sentence:
In English: Yesterday the rain was incredibly heavy, thus I could not visit my grandmother as promised.

Pinyin: Zuó wǎn yǔ xià de shí zài tài dà le, yīn cǐ wǒ bìng méi yǒu rú yuē qù bài fǎng wài pó.

In Chinese: 昨晚雨下得实在太大了,因此我并没有如约去拜访外婆。

Grammar Explanation:
This can also mean “as a result” or “because of which was mentioned.”

2- Because…so…

In English: Because…so…
Pinyin: yīn wèi…suǒ yǐ…
In Chinese: 因为……所以……

Usage in a sentence:
In English: Because my brother is sick today, I had to stay at home and take care of him.

Pinyin: Yīn wèi dì di jīn tiān shēng bìng le, suǒ yǐ wǒ bù dé bù liú zài jiā lǐ zhào gù tā.

In Chinese: 因为弟弟今天生病了,所以我不得不留在家里照顾他。

Grammar Explanation:
This can also mean “for the reason of … which leads to…”

Additional Notes:
Unlike English conjunctions, we usually need to use “because” and “so” at the same time to make a reasonable sentence and explain the relationship more clearly.

3- Because of

In English: Because of
Pinyin: yóu yú
In Chinese: 由于

Usage in a sentence:
In English: Because of my personal mistake, it made our whole team lose the opportunity to be in the first position.

Pinyin: Yóu yú wǒ yī gè rén de shī wù, dǎo zhì le wǒ men zhěng gè duì wǔ shī qù le qǔ dé dì yī de jī huì.

In Chinese: 由于我一个人的失误,导致了我们整个队伍失去了取得第一的机会。

Grammar Explanation:
This can also mean “it comes from the thing that…” or “the reason of something particular.”

4- The reason why…it’s because…

In English: The reason why…it’s because…
Pinyin: zhī suǒ yǐ…shì yīn wèi…
In Chinese: 之所以……是因为……

Usage in a sentence:
In English: The reason why I couldn’t make my sister’s wedding, it’s because I just had a surgery a little while ago and had to rest at the hospital for some days.

Pinyin: Wǒ zhī suǒ yǐ méi néng qù jiě jie de hūn lǐ, shì yīn wèi zài bù jiǔ zhī qián wǒ zuò le yī chǎng shǒu shù, bù dé bú zhù yuàn xiū xi yī duàn shí jiān.

In Chinese: 我之所以没能去姐姐的婚礼,是因为在不久之前我做了一场手术,不得不住院休息一段时间。

Grammar Explanation:
The conjunction itself is pretty straightforward. The set of conjunctions introduce the result first, and then introduce the reason that caused the former clause.


5. Chinese Conjunctions to Express Opposition

1- But

In English: But
Pinyin: dàn shì
In Chinese: 但是

Usage in a sentence:
In English: I planned to learn how to cook a western meal today, but I forgot to buy the necessary ingredients.

Pinyin: Wǒ jīn tiān běn lái jì huá xué xí zuò yī dùn xī cān, dàn shì wàng jì mǎi xū yào de shí cái le.

In Chinese: 我今天本来计划学习做一顿西餐,但是忘记买需要的食材了。

Grammar Explanation:
This conjunction is used to introduce something that contrasts with what was mentioned before.

2- Yet

In English: Yet
Pinyin: kě shì
In Chinese: 可是

Usage in a sentence:
In English: My dad really wants me to become a doctor just like him in the future, yet it’s not what I’m passionate about.

Pinyin: Bà ba fēi cháng xī wàng wǒ néng xiàng tā yī yàng jiāng lái chéng wéi yī míng yī shēng, kě shì zhè bìng bú shì wǒ rè ài de zhí yè.

In Chinese: 爸爸非常希望我能像他一样将来成为一名医生,可是这并不是我热爱的职业。

Grammar Explanation:
This can also mean “but at the same time.”

3- However

In English: However
Pinyin: rán ér
In Chinese: 然而

Usage in a sentence:
In English: I thought there would be a happy ending for this TV show, however, it was not like I imagined.

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ wéi zhè gè diàn shì jù zuì hòu yī dìng shì gè xǐ jù jié wěi, rán ér bìng bú shì wǒ xiǎng de nà yàng.

In Chinese: 我以为这个电视剧最后一定是个喜剧结尾,然而并不是我想的那样。

Grammar Explanation:
This conjunction is used to indicate a turning point or a different result from what was expected.

Additional Notes:
A comma can be used after this conjunction, if the sentence after it is long and there is a natural pause in speaking. If the sentence after it is short and there’s no pause needed in speaking, don’t use a comma after this conjunction.


6. Chinese Conjunctions to Express Purpose

1- So that

In English: So that
Pinyin: yǐ biàn
In Chinese: 以便

Usage in a sentence:
In English: I will put the backup key underneath the carpet by the door so that you can come in when I’m not home.

Pinyin: Wǒ huì bǎ bèi yòng yào shi fàng zài mén qián de tǎn zi xià miàn, yǐ biàn wǒ bú zài jiā shí nǐ kě yǐ jìn lái.

In Chinese: 我会把备用钥匙放在门前的毯子下面,以便我不在家时你可以进来。

Grammar Explanation:
This is used when describing how you’re going to make it convenient for something, or to serve a purpose for something.


7. Final Thoughts

If you’ve developed a great understanding of these Mandarin Chinese conjunctions, then congratulations! You’re officially an intermediate learner in Chinese now. If you’re still not content with what you’ve learned so far, and are desperate to enrich your Chinese skills, feel free to check out our website at ChineseClass101.com.

We offer a variety of fun Chinese lessons, both about interesting Chinese local culture and professional language teaching. You’ll find it extremely difficult to be disappointed with your Chinese learning when using our website.

We hope you enjoyed learning about conjunctions with us, and that you were able to take away something valuable. Which of these conjunctions do you plan on practicing soon? Were our Chinese conjunctions examples helpful, or are you still struggling to understand some of these Chinese conjunctions? Let us know in the comments!

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