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100 Classic Chinese Verbs in Daily Life

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Verbs are an essential component of a sentence, and they’re at the core of our conversations as they provide key information. Everyone knows that a sentence isn’t complete without a verb! 
It’s not difficult to master the basic rules of common Chinese verbs as they don’t have any conjugation. However, there are additional phrases you can add to the sentence in order to indicate a certain time frame and make the sentence sound more natural. Now, let’s dive right into this simple introduction to common Chinese verbs!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Chinese Table of Contents
  1. Physical Verbs vs. Mental Verbs
  2. Linking Verbs
  3. Helping Verbs
  4. Chinese Verbs and Essentials of Grammar
  5. Conclusion

1. Physical Verbs vs. Mental Verbs

Top Verbs

Some of the most useful Chinese verbs are action verbs, and like in English, there are two kinds of action verbs: physical and mental. We have a list for each one! 

1- Physical verbs

  • To go – 去 (

In Chinese: 我明天去阿姨家给她过生日。

Pinyin: Wǒ míng tiān qù ā yí jiā gěi tā guò shēng rì. 

In English: “I am going to my aunt’s house to celebrate her birthday.”

  • To come – 来 (lái)

In Chinese: 我很期待你来我家做客。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn qī dài nǐ lái wǒ jiā zuò kè. 

In English: “I look forward to having you as a guest to come to my house.”

  • To look – 看 (kàn)

In Chinese: 快看!这里的景色多美啊。 

Pinyin: Kuài kàn! Zhè lǐ de jǐng sè duō měi a. 

In English: “Look! How beautiful the landscape is here.”

  • To tell – 告诉 (gào sù)

In Chinese: 老师告诉我们要学会培养自己独立思考的能力。

Pinyin: Lǎo shī gào sù wǒ men yào xué huì péi yǎng zì jǐ dú lì sī kǎo de néng lì. 

In English: “The teacher told us to learn to think independently.”

  • To ask – 问 (wèn)

In Chinese: 没有方向感的我经常向别人问路。 

Pinyin: Méi yǒu fāng xiàng gǎn de wǒ jīng cháng xiàng bié rén wèn lù. 

In English: “I have no sense of direction, so I always ask others for directions.”

  • To try – 尝试 (cháng shì)

In Chinese: 我想要尝试更多的亚洲美食。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng yào cháng shì gèng duō de yà zhōu měi shí.

In English: “I want to try more Asian food.”

  • To promise – 承诺 (chéng nuò)

In Chinese: 爸爸承诺我会在我明年的生日送我一部相机。

Pinyin: Bà ba chéng nuò wǒ huì zài wǒ míng nián de shēng rì sòng wǒ yī bù xiàng jī. 

In English: “Dad promised to give me a camera for my birthday next year.”

Group Planning Things Around a Table

In Chinese: 我希望将来可以找一份自己热爱的工作。

Pinyin: Wǒ xī wàng jiāng lái kě yǐ zhǎo yī fèn zì jǐ rè ài de gōng zuò. 

In English: “I hope to find a job that I am passionate about in the future.”

  • To eat – 吃 (chī)

In Chinese: 我很喜欢吃披萨。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn xǐ huan chī pī sa. 

In English: “I love eating pizza.”

  • To drink – 喝 ()

In Chinese: 在夏天喝橙汁是一件非常享受的事情。

Pinyin: Zài xià tiān hē chéng zhī shì yī jiàn fēi cháng xiǎng shòu de shì qing. 

In English: “It’s a very enjoyable thing to drink orange juice in summer.”

  • To take – 拿 ()

In Chinese: 请拿好您的随身物品。

Pinyin: Qǐng ná hǎo nín de suí shēn wù pǐn. 

In English: “Please take care of your belongings.”

  • To give – 给 (gěi)

In Chinese: 我给了他一封信。

Pinyin: Wǒ gěi le tā yī fēng xìn. 

In English: “I gave him a letter.”

  • To use – 用 (yòng)

In Chinese: 我不知道怎么用这款相机。

Pinyin: Wǒ bù zhī dào zěn me yòng zhè kuǎn xiàng jī. 

In English: “I have no idea how to use this camera.”

  • To find – 找 (zhǎo)

In Chinese: 她很擅长玩捉迷藏,我们每次都要找她很久。

Pinyin: Tā hěn shàn cháng wán zhuō mí cáng, wǒ men měi cì dōu yào zhǎo tā hěn jiǔ.

In English: “She is very good at hide-and-seek; we always take a long time to find her.”

  • To write – 写 (xiě)

In Chinese: 她很喜欢写诗。

Pinyin: Tā hěn xǐ huan xiě shī. 

In English: “She really enjoys writing poems.”

  • To run – 跑 (pǎo)

In Chinese: 我听说兔子跑得很快。

Pinyin: Wǒ tīng shuō tù zi pǎo de hěn kuài. 

In English: “I heard that rabbits run fast.”

  • To hear – 听 (tīng)

In Chinese: 狗可以听到很多人类耳朵听不到的声音。

Pinyin: Gǒu kě yǐ tīng dào hěn duō rén lèi ěr duǒ tīng bú dào de shēng yīn. 

In English: “Dogs can hear many sounds that the human ear can’t.”

  • To dance – 跳舞 (tiào wǔ)

In Chinese: 他跳舞很好。

Pinyin: Tā tiào wǔ hěn hǎo. 

In English: “He dances well.”

A Woman Smiling Brightly
  • To smile – 微笑 (wēi xiào)

In Chinese: 她总是微笑着向每一个人问好。

Pinyin: Tā zǒng shì wēi xiào zhe xiàng měi yī gè rén wèn hǎo. 

In English: “She always smiles and says hello to everyone.”

  • To explain – 解释 (jiě shì)

In Chinese: 请你把这件事的发生过程解释清楚。

Pinyin: Qǐng nǐ bǎ zhè jiàn shì de fā shēng guò chéng jiě shì qīng chǔ. 

In English: “Please clearly explain how this happened.”

  • To buy – 买 (mǎi)

In Chinese: 很多女生都喜欢买包和化妆品。

Pinyin: Hěn duō nǚ shēng dōu xǐ huān mǎi bāo hé huà zhuāng pǐn. 

In English: “Many girls like to buy purses and makeup supplies.”

  • To sell – 卖 (mài)

In Chinese: 这家店卖的很多东西都是二手的。

Pinyin: Zhè jiā diàn mài de hěn duō dōng xī dōu shì èr shǒu de. 

In English: “This shop sells many second-hand items.”

  • To arrive – 到达 (dào dá)

In Chinese: 每个人都准时到达了会议现场。

Pinyin: Měi gè rén dōu zhǔn shí dào dá le huì yì xiàn chǎng. 

In English: “Everyone arrived on time to the meeting.”

  • To pay – 付款 (fù kuǎn)

In Chinese: 请问我应该在哪里付款?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn wǒ yīng gāi zài nǎ lǐ fù kuǎn? 

In English: “Can you please tell me where I can pay?”

  • To drive – 开车 (kāi chē)

In Chinese: 妈妈总会开车接我放学。

Pinyin: Mā ma zǒng huì kāi chē jiē wǒ fàng xué. 

In English: “My mom always drives to pick me up after school.”

  • To sing – 唱歌 (chàng gē)

In Chinese: 妹妹总喜欢唱歌给我听。

Pinyin: Mèi mei zǒng xǐ huan chàng gē gěi wǒ tīng. 

In English: “My younger sister always likes to sing for me.”

  • To marry – 结婚 (jié hūn)

In Chinese: 他终于和自己心爱的女孩结婚了。

Pinyin: Tā zhōng yú hé zì jǐ xīn ài de nǚ hái jié hūn le. 

In English: “He finally marries the girl he loves.”

  • To wear – 穿 (chuān)

In Chinese: 不是所有女孩都喜欢穿裙子。

Pinyin: Bú shì suǒ yǒu nǚ hái dōu xǐ huan chuān qún zi. 

In English: “Not all girls like to wear dresses.”

  • To walk – 走 (zǒu)

In Chinese: 我很喜欢吃完饭之后在街上走走。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn xǐ huan chī wán fàn zhī hòu zài jiē shàng zǒu zǒu. 

In English: “I like to walk on the streets after finishing a meal.”

  • To travel – 旅行 (lǚ xíng)

In Chinese: 他喜欢去有田园气息的地方旅游。

Pinyin: Tā xǐ huan qù yǒu tián yuán qì xī de dì fang lǚ yóu. 

In English: “He likes to travel around rural places.”

  • To study – 研究 (yán jiū)

In Chinese: 这位科学家研究了很多学术性论文。

Pinyin: Zhè wèi kē xué jiā yán jiū le hěn duō xué shù xìng lùn wén. 

In English: “This scientist has studied many academic papers.”

A Woman Sitting Down and Playing a 
Guitar
  • To learn – 学习 (xué xí)

In Chinese: 我突然一时兴起想学习吉他了。

Pinyin: Wǒ tū rán yī shí xìng qǐ xiǎng xué xí jí tā le. 

In English: “On a whim, I suddenly wanted to learn guitar.”

  • To stop – 停 (tíng)

In Chinese: 一只小蝴蝶停在了花朵上。

Pinyin: Yī zhī xiǎo hú dié tíng zài le huā duǒ shàng. 

In English: “A butterfly stopped on a flower.”

  • To stay – 留下 (liú xià)

In Chinese: 吃完饭后,有几个朋友在我家留下打游戏。 

Pinyin: chī wán fàn hòu, yǒu jǐ gè péng yǒu zài wǒ jiā liú xià dǎ yóu xì. 

In English: “After we ate, a few friends stayed at my house to play games.”

  • To send – 发送 (fā sòng)

In Chinese: 我已经把简历发送出去了。 

Pinyin: Wǒ yǐ jīng bǎ jiǎn lì fā sòng chū qù le. 

In English: “I already sent my resume.”

  • To sleep – 睡觉 (shuì jiào)

In Chinese: 每次一吃完饭我就想睡觉。

Pinyin: Měi cì yī chī wán fàn wǒ jiù xiǎng shuì jiào. 

In English: “Every time I finish a meal, I want to go to sleep.”

  • To say – 说 (shuō)

In Chinese: 可以请你再说一遍吗?

Pinyin: Kě yǐ qǐng nǐ zài shuō yī biàn ma?

In English: “Can you please say that again?”

  • To get – 得到 (dé dào)

In Chinese: 我很想得到这款限量版的球鞋。 

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn xiǎng dé dào zhè kuǎn xiàn liàng bǎn de qiú xié. 

In English: “I really want to get this pair of limited edition shoes.”

  • To own – 拥有 (yōng yǒu)

In Chinese: 我真想拥有一只小狗。

Pinyin: Wǒ zhēn xiǎng yōng yǒu yī zhī xiǎo gǒu. 

In English: “I really want to own a puppy.”

  • To receive – 收到 (shōu dào)

In Chinese: 你收到我的邮件了吗? 

Pinyin: Nǐ shōu dào wǒ de yóu jiàn le ma? 

In English: “Did you receive my email?”

  • To protect – 保护 (bǎo hù)

In Chinese: 我们都要有保护小动物的意识。

Pinyin: Wǒ men dōu yào yǒu bǎo hù xiǎo dòng wù de yì shí.

In English: “We should all have the sense to protect animals.

  • To provide – 提供 (tí gòng)

In Chinese: 这家店提供免邮的服务。

Pinyin: Zhè jiā diàn tí gòng miǎn yóu de fú wù. 

In English: “This shop provides free shipping service.”

  • To read – 读 ()

In Chinese: 他很热爱阅读,经常随手带着一本书。

Pinyin: Tā hěn rè ài yuè dú, jīng cháng suí shǒu dài zhe yī běn shū. 

In English: “He loves to read and always takes a book with him wherever he goes.”

  • To put – 放 (fàng)

In Chinese: 请你在读完这本书之后把它放回图书馆。

Pinyin: Qǐng nǐ zài dú wán zhè běn shū zhī hòu bǎ tā fàng huí tú shū guǎn. 

In English: “Please put this book back in the library after you are done with reading.”

  • To play – 玩 (wán)

In Chinese: 很多小孩都喜欢在沙滩边玩沙子。

Pinyin: Hěn duō xiǎo hái dōu xǐ huan zài shā tān biān wán shā zi. 

In English: “Many kids like to play in sand at the beach.”

An Upset Man with His Hand in His Fist on the Wall
  • To lose – 失去 (shī qù)

In Chinese: 很多时候我们只有在失去了之后才会珍惜。

Pinyin: Hěn duō shí hou wǒ men zhī yǒu zài shī qù le zhī hòu cái huì zhēn xī.

In English: “Very often, we only start to cherish something after we lose it.”

  • To leave – 离开 (lí kāi)

In Chinese: 妈妈在上班离开家前叮嘱我要记得吃药。

Pinyin: Mā ma zài shàng bān lí kāi jiā qián dīng zhǔ wǒ yào jì de chī yào. 

In English: “Mom reminded me to take the medicine right before she left home to go to work.”

  • To invite – 邀请 (yāo qǐng)

In Chinese: 姐姐邀请了很多亲戚去参加她的婚礼。

Pinyin: Jiě jie yāo qǐng le hěn duō qīn qi qù cān jiā tā de hūn lǐ.

In English: “My older sister invited many families to go to her wedding.”

  • To help – 帮助 (bāng zhù)

In Chinese: 爸爸是个很善良的人,他很喜欢帮助别人。 

Pinyin: Bà ba shì gè hěn shàn liáng de rén, tā hěn xǐ huan bāng zhù bié rén. 

In English: “My dad is a very kind person, he really likes to help others.”

  • To cook – 做饭 (zuò fàn)

In Chinese: 现在很多人都忙得没有时间做饭,经常叫外卖。

Pinyin: Xiàn zài hěn duō rén dōu máng de méi yǒu shí jiān zuò fàn, jīng cháng jiào wài mài. 

In English: “Many people nowadays are too busy to have time to cook; they always get take-out.”

2- Mental verbs

  • To know – 知道 (zhī dào)

In Chinese: 很多人明知道抽烟是不健康的,还是忍不住经常抽烟。

Pinyin: Hěn duō rén míng zhī dào chōu yān shì bú jiàn kāng de, hái shì rěn bú zhù jīng cháng chōu yān. 

In English: “Many people know that smoking is unhealthy, but they still can’t help smoking.”

  • To think – 认为 (rèn wéi)

In Chinese: 我认为你这么做是不对的。

Pinyin: Wǒ rèn wéi nǐ zhè me zuò shì bú duì de. 

In English: “I think it is not right for you to do it.”

  • To want – 想要 (xiǎng yào)

In Chinese: 我想要环球旅游。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiǎng yào huán qiú lǚ yóu. 

In English: “I want to travel all over the world.”

  • To believe – 相信 (xiāng xìn)

In Chinese: 我相信总有一天我的梦想会实现的。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiàng xìn zǒng yǒu yī tiān wǒ de mèng xiǎng huì shí xiàn de.

In English: “I believe that my dream will come true one day.”

  • To expect – 期待 (qī dài)

In Chinese: 小孩子总是很期待自己的圣诞节礼物。

Pinyin: Xiǎo hái zi zǒng shì hěn qī dài zì jǐ de shèng dàn jié lǐ wù. 

In English: “Children always look forward to their Christmas gift.”

  • To understand – 明白 (míng bái)

In Chinese: 长大后,我逐渐明白了很多事。

Pinyin: Zhǎng dà hòu, wǒ zhú jiàn míng bái le hěn duō shì. 

In English: “I started to understand many things while growing up.”

  • To like – 喜欢 (xǐ huān)

In Chinese: 我非常喜欢读书。

Pinyin: Wǒ fēi cháng xǐ huan dú shū.

In English: “I like reading very much.”

  • To hate – 讨厌 (tǎo yàn)

In Chinese: 我曾经很讨厌吃西兰花。

Pinyin: Wǒ céng jīng hěn tǎo yàn chī xī lán huā. 

In English: “I used to hate eating broccoli.” 

  • To love – 爱 (ài)

In Chinese: 爱是一件于人类而言不可缺少的东西。 

Pinyin: Ài shì yī jiàn yú rén lèi ér yán bù kě quē shǎo de dōng xi. 

In English: “Love is something that is necessary for humans.”

  • To remember – 记得 (jì de)

In Chinese: 我仍然记得自己大学毕业的那天有多么兴奋。

Pinyin: Wǒ réng rán jì de zì jǐ dà xué bì yè de nà tiān yǒu duō me xìng fèn. 

In English: “I still remember how excited I was on the day I graduated from college.”

  • To wish – 祝愿 (zhù yuàn)

In Chinese: 今天是奶奶的生日,我祝愿她可以长命百岁。

Pinyin: Jīn tiān shì nǎi nǎi de shēng rì, wǒ zhù yuàn tā kě yǐ zhǎng mìng bǎi suì.

In English: “Today is my grandmother’s birthday; I wish her to have longevity.”

  • To respect – 尊重 (zūn zhòng)

In Chinese: 我们可以不认同别人的选择,但一定要学会尊重。

Pinyin: Wǒ men kě yǐ bú rèn tóng bié rén de xuǎn zé, dàn yī dìng yào xué huì zūn zhòng. 

In English: “It’s okay not to agree with other people’s choices, but we should at least learn to respect them.”

  • To trust – 信任 (xìn rèn)

In Chinese: 我的朋友们都非常信任我。

Pinyin: Wǒ de péng you men dōu fēi cháng xìn rèn wǒ. 

In English: “My friends trust me a lot.”

  • To agree – 同意 (tóng yì)

In Chinese: 爸爸终于同意让我一个人去旅行了。

Pinyin: Bà ba zhōng yú tóng yì ràng wǒ yī gè rén qù lǚ xíng le. 

In English: “My dad finally agreed to let me travel alone.”

  • To fear – 害怕 (hài pà)

In Chinese: 我弟弟很害怕坐过山车。

Pinyin: Wǒ dì di hěn hài pà zuò guò shān chē. 

In English: “My younger brother fears being on a roller coaster very much.”

Baby’s Hands on the Hands of Its Parents and Grandparents
  • To support – 支持 (zhī chí)

In Chinese: 我的父母很支持我去学跳舞。

Pinyin: Wǒ de fù mǔ hěn zhī chí wǒ qù xué tiào wǔ. 

In English: “My parents support me in learning to dance very much.”

  • To encourage – 鼓励 (gǔ lì)

In Chinese: 我经常鼓励我的朋友们去尝试新鲜事物。

Pinyin: Wǒ jīng cháng gǔ lì wǒ de péng you men qù cháng shì xīn xiān shì wù.

In English: “I always encourage my friends to try new things.”

  • To reflect – 反省 (fǎn xǐng)

In Chinese: 每个人犯了错之后应该好好反省。 

Pinyin: Měi gè rén fàn le cuò zhī hòu yīng gāi hǎo hǎo fǎn xǐng. 

In English: “Everyone should reflect upon his mistake after it’s made.”

  • To regret – 后悔 (hòu huǐ)

In Chinese: 我很后悔自己当初没有好好努力学习。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn hòu huǐ zì jǐ dāng chū méi yǒu hǎo hǎo nǔ lì xué xí. 

In English: “I really regret that I did not study hard before.”

  • To miss – 想念 (xiǎng niàn)

In Chinese: 我很想念曾经在学校的日子。

Pinyin: Wǒ hěn xiǎng niàn céng jīng zài xué xiào de rì zi. 

In English: “I miss the days when I went to school.”

  • To let – 让 (ràng)

In Chinese: 在我的帮助下,妈妈终于答应让妹妹出去玩了。

Pinyin: Zài wǒ de bāng zhù xià, mā ma zhōng yú dá yīng ràng mèi mei chū qù wán le. 

In English: “With my help, mom finally let my younger sister go out to have some fun.”

A Woman with Pleading, Hopeful Hands in Front of Chest
  • To hope – 希望 (xī wàng)

In Chinese: 我希望世界可以永远和平。 

Pinyin: Wǒ xī wàng shì jiè kě yǐ yǒng yuǎn hé píng. 

In English: “I hope this world will be forever peaceful.”

  • To guess – 猜测 (cāi cè)

In Chinese: 我猜测凶手可能是这个人。

Pinyin: Wǒ cāi cè xiōng shǒu kě néng shì zhè gè rén.

In English: “I guess that the criminal is this person.”

  • To express – 表达 (biǎo dá)

In Chinese: 我希望每个人都能勇于表达自我。

Pinyin: Wǒ xī wàng měi gè rén dōu néng yǒng yú biǎo dá zì wǒ. 

In English: “I hope everyone is free to express themselves.”

  • To decide – 决定 (jué dìng)

In Chinese: 我决定今天一个人去购物。

Pinyin: Wǒ jué dìng jīn tiān yī gè rén qù gòu wù.

In English: “I decided to go shopping by myself today.”

  • To accept – 接受 (jiē shòu)

In Chinese: 我接受你的选择。

Pinyin: Wǒ jiē shòu nǐ de xuǎn zé. 

In English: “I accept your choice.”

  • To change – 改变 (gǎi biàn)

In Chinese: 与其尝试去改变别人,倒不如学着去去理解和接受。

Pinyin: Yǔ qí cháng shì qù gǎi biàn bié rén, dào bù rú xué zhe qù qù lǐ jiě hé jiē shòu. 

In English: “Rather than changing people, we should learn to understand and accept.”

  • To admit – 承认 (chéng rèn)

In Chinese: 他终于承认了自己的错误。

Pinyin: Tā zhōng yú chéng rèn le zì jǐ de cuò wù. 

In English: “He finally admitted his own mistake.”

  • To allow – 允许 (yǔn xǔ)

In Chinese: 我不允许这种事情再发生。

Pinyin: Wǒ bù yǔn xǔ zhè zhǒng shì qing zài fā shēng. 

In English: “I won’t allow this kind of thing to happen again.”

2. Linking Verbs

More Essential Verbs

More Chinese language verbs you should know are the linking verbs. These are verbs that allow you to connect two ideas through a type of action. Read the Chinese verbs list below and the accompanying examples to get a better idea of how they work.

  • To see – 看 (kàn)

In Chinese: 我只相信我的双眼所看到的真相。

Pinyin: Wǒ zhǐ xiāng xìn wǒ de shuāng yǎn suǒ kàn dào de zhēn xiàng. 

In English: “I only believe in the truth that I see with my own eyes.”

  • To smell – 闻 (wén)

In Chinese: 我妈妈做的饭闻起来可香了。

Pinyin: wǒ mā mā zuò de fàn wén qǐ lái kě xiāng le.

In English: “My mom’s cooking smells really good.”

  • To taste – 尝 (cháng)

In Chinese: 快来尝尝我做的这道点心吧。

Pinyin: Kuài lái cháng chang wǒ zuò de zhè dào diǎn xīn ba. 

In English: “Come and try the pastry I just made.”

  • To sound – 听起来 (tīng qǐ lái)

In Chinese: 这首歌听起来节奏很欢乐。

Pinyin: Zhè shǒu gē tīng qǐ lái jiē zòu hěn huān lè. 

In English: “This song sounds very cheerful with these beats.”

  • To feel – 感觉 (gǎn jué)

In Chinese: 我感觉不太舒服。

Pinyin: wǒ gǎn jué bú tài shū fu. 

In English: “I don’t feel very well.”

  • To appear – 显得 (xiǎn de)

In Chinese: 她总是显得自己很有钱。

Pinyin: Tā zǒng shì xiǎn de zì jǐ hěn yǒu qián.

In English: “She always makes herself appear to be like a rich person.”

  • To turn/open – 打开 (dǎ kāi)

In Chinese: 能不能帮我把风扇打开?

Pinyin: Néng bu néng bāng wǒ bǎ fēng shàn dǎ kāi. 

In English: “Can you turn on the fan for me?”

Additional notes: In Chinese, we use the same word for “turn” and “open.”

  • To become – 成为 (chéng wéi)

In Chinese: 我希望长大之后成为一个对社会有用的人。

Pinyin: Wǒ xī wàng zhǎng dà zhī hòu chéng wéi yī gè duì shè huì yǒu yòng de rén. 

In English: “I hope I will become someone who is helpful to our society after I grow up.”

  • To seem – 似乎 (sì hū)

In Chinese: 他似乎不想和我们一起出去吃饭。

Pinyin: Tā sì hū bù xiǎng hé wǒ men yī qǐ chū qù chī fàn.

In English: “He doesn’t seem like he wants to eat out with us.”

3. Helping Verbs

Now we’ll talk about Chinese helping verbs because these are words you’ll need to use all the time. There are two types of helping verbs: modal and auxiliary.

Woman Talking with Her Coworkers

1- Chinese Modal Verbs

  • Can – 能 (néng)

In Chinese: 请问我能借用一下你的手机打电话吗?

Pinyin: Qǐng wèn wǒ néng jiè yòng yī xià nǐ de shǒu jī dǎ diàn huà ma?

In English: “Can I borrow your phone to make a call, please?”

  • May – 可以 (kě yǐ)

In Chinese: 你可以先吃完饭再给我回电话。

Pinyin: Nǐ kě yǐ xiān chī wán fàn zài gěi wǒ huí diàn huà. 

In English: “You may finish your meal first and then call me back.”

  • Must – 必须 (bì xū)

In Chinese: 你必须在凌晨十二点之前回家。

Pinyin: Nǐ bì xū zài líng chén shí èr diǎn zhī qián huí jiā.

In English: “You must come back home before 12 A.M.”

  • Will – 将 (jiāng)

In Chinese: 我相信你将会是最棒的。

Pinyin: Wǒ xiàng xìn nǐ jiāng huì shì zuì bàng de.

In English: “I believe that you will be the best.”

  • Shall – 应当 (yīng dāng)

In Chinese: 我们应当去别的地方谈谈这件事吗?

Pinyin: Wǒ men yīng dāng qù bié de dì fang tán tan zhè jiàn shì ma? 

In English: “Shall we go somewhere else to talk about it?”

  • Should – 应该 (yīng gāi)

In Chinese: 你应该把捡到的钱包送到警察局。

Pinyin: Nǐ yīng gāi bǎ jiǎn dào de qián bāo sòng dào jǐng chá jú.

In English: “You should take the purse you found to the police station.”

  • Would – 将会 (jiāng huì)

In Chinese: 我经常在想,如果当初没有遇见你,现在的我将会是怎样的呢?

Pinyin: Wǒ jīng cháng zài xiǎng, rú guǒ dāng chū méi yǒu yù jiàn nǐ, xiàn zài de wǒ jiāng huì shì zěn yàng de ne? 

In English: “I always wonder if I hadn’t met you, what would happen to me?” 

  • Might – 也许 (yě xǔ)

In Chinese: 我也许不会选择出国留学。

Pinyin: Wǒ yě xǔ bú huì xuǎn zé chū guó liú xué.

In English: “I might not choose to go study abroad.”

2- Chinese Auxiliary Verbs

  • To be – 是 (shì)

In Chinese: 他是一个善良的人。

Pinyin: Tā shì yī gè shàn liáng de rén.

In English: “He is a kind person.”

  • To do – 做 (zuò)

In Chinese: 我喜欢做家务。

Pinyin: Wǒ xǐ huan zuò jiā wù.

In English: “I like doing housework.”

  • To have – 有 (yǒu)

In Chinese: 你有订书器可以借我一下吗?

Pinyin: Nǐ yǒu dìng shū qì kě yǐ jiè wǒ yī xià ma? 

In English: “Do you have a stapler that I can borrow?”

  • To need – 需要 (xū yào)

In Chinese: 我需要你的帮助。 

Pinyin: Wǒ xū yào nǐ de bāng zhù.

In English: “I need your help.”

4. Chinese Verbs and Essentials of Grammar

Negative Verbs

So, how do Chinese verbs work?

As we mentioned before, there’s no conjugation in Chinese verbs, and common Chinese verbs placement is just as simple as it is in most other languages: Subject + Verb Phrase + Object. 

However, since no conjugation is required for common verbs in Chinese, we usually use aspect particles to modify verbs so that they specify the time and make a sentence sound more natural. For example, 了 (le), 着 (zhe), and 过 (guò) are the most common ones that can be added after a verb. 了 (le) and 过 (guò) are used to indicate past tense, while 着 (zhe) is used to indicate the current time.

Here are some examples to help you better understand this Chinese verbs grammar point:

  • In Chinese: 我在看着你的孩子呢。 

  Pinyin: Wǒ zài kān zhe nǐ de hái zi ne. 

  In English: “I am babysitting your child right now.”

  • In Chinese: 你吃过药了吗?

  Pinyin: Nǐ chī guò yào le ma? 

  In English: “Did you take your medicine?”

  • In Chinese: 昨天我看见了一只流浪狗。

  Pinyin: Zuó tiān wǒ kàn jiàn le yī zhī liú làng gǒu. 

  In English: “I saw a street dog yesterday.”

When you want to use an adverb to modify a verb, you can use this formula: Verb + 得 (de) + Adverb. 

  • In Chinese: 他跑得快。

Pinyin: Tā pǎo de kuài. 

In English: “He runs fast.”

Lastly, if you ever want to negate verbs in your sentence, the adverbs 不 () and 没 (méi) are commonly used to negate a verb. In general, the difference between these two words is that 不 () is used more for the future tense or a habitual action, while 没 (méi) is used to refer to the past tense.

  • In Chinese: 我昨天忙得都没来得及吃午饭。

Pinyin: Wǒ zuó tiān máng de dōu méi lái de jí chī wǔ fàn. 

In English: “I was too busy to eat lunch yesterday.”

  • In Chinese: 我不想今天去购物。

Pinyin: Wǒ bù xiǎng jīn tiān qù gòu wù. 

In English: “I don’t want to go shopping today.”

5. Conclusion

Don’t get overwhelmed by these Chinese verbs and essentials of grammar just yet. As long as you keep practicing, they’ll become a piece of cake before you know it. Chinese language is an art that you can never learn enough of because there’s so much diversity. Go to ChineseClass101.com, and as you continue learning there, you’ll master these common verbs in Chinese and many more beautiful words to enrich your sentences. 

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about Chinese verbs now. Are there any essential Chinese verbs that you still want to know? We look forward to hearing from you! 

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