Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hēi , dàjiā hǎo , wǒ jiào Mǎ Yànrú. Hi everybody! I’m YanruMa.
Welcome to ChineseClass101.com’s “Sān fēnzhōng Hànyǔ”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Chinese.
In the last lesson, we learned how to use the verb qù which means "to go" in Chinese.
In this lesson, we will continue our lesson series dedicated to common Chinese verbs.
The second verb in our series is zuò, which means "to do." But like in English, you’ll see that the meaning of this verb is quite broad and it can be found in many different situations.
So imagine someone asks you Nǐ xiànzài zài zuò shénme?
That means "What are you doing?"
So if you are doing your homework, for example, you will say in Chinese Wǒ zài zuò zuòyè.
[slowly] Wǒ zài zuò zuòyè.
So let’s break down this answer-
First we had-
Wǒ zài zuò which is "I am doing"
We can see that there is a word zài. What does this word mean? Well, as we learned, zuò means “to do”, but here the question is in present progressive form, so we need to answer accordingly. Yes, that’s why we use the word zài here. It is an adverb, meaning that some action is in progress. Finally we had zuòyè which is a noun and means "homework."
Note that in Chinese, you can use the present indicative form to mean that you are doing something right now.
Take the example sentence above for example. You can also answer Zuò zuòyè. But here you say it without Wǒ. If you say Wǒ zuò zuòyè, it is just the present indicative form which means “I do homework”. Zuò zuòyè is a very easy way to answer, but remember it’s informal. So pay attention to the people who you are talking to.
So now, let’s have a broader look at what you can say with the verb zuò in Chinese,
Basically it is maybe the most useful verb in China since you say almost everything with it!
It can mean "to make", but it can also stand for "to play" or "to cook," as in Wǒ zài zuò yóuxì or Wǒ zài zuò fàn which are "I’m playing a game" and "I’m cooking a meal."
Sometimes, it can also stand for "to work" as in Wǒ zài zuò yánjiū which is "I’m working on some research."
It can also replace a lot of other verbs, for example "to act as" as in Wǒ zuò dōng which means "I will act as a host." Or Wǒ zài zuò yǎnjiǎng which is "I am giving a speech.’’
This verb can also express the meaning "to make" or "to create" in English, as in Wǒ zuò yīfú which is "I make my clothes." Also you can use it in Wǒ zuò diāoxiàng for "I make a sculpture."
Now it’s time for Yanru’s Tips.
In Chinese, we often say Nǐ zài gàn má? which means, “what are you doing?” instead in a very informal way. It means the same but is always used in a very relaxed situation between friends or families. And it is closer to “What’s up?” than “What are you doing?”
For example,
If your friend asks Nǐ zài gàn má? , you can answer Wǒ zài kàn diànshì ”I am watching TV”, or Kàn diànshì in a very informal way too.
In this lesson, we learned how to use the verb
zuò in many different contexts and I’m sure it will help you a lot!
Next time we’ll learn another very useful and romantic verb, xǐhuān.
Do you know what this Chinese verb means? I’m sure you have an idea!
I’ll be waiting for you in the next Sān fēnzhōng Hànyǔ lesson.
Zài jiàn !


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
Pinned Comment
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 01:34 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

你好 robert groulx,

谢谢 for posting and studying with us. If you have any questions, please let us know.😄

Kind regards,

雷文特 (Levente)

Team ChineseClass101.com

robert groulx
Wednesday at 05:35 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

thank you for the lesson transcript

favorite phrases is Nǐ zài gàn má? which means, “what are you doing?


ChineseClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 10:40 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi 小莫,

You're right, Xiaomo.

In everyday Chinese, when asking "What are you doing?",你在做什么? and 你在干什么? are the same. Both of them are common and colloquial.


Team ChineseClass101.com

Sunday at 04:28 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

With reference to 做 and 干, is 做 the formal version of 干 then?

I have seen 你在干什么 before,is it just another way of saying 你在做什么?

Thanks xiaomo

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 04:16 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Richard,

No need. As in 我做老师,你做学生 (I act as the teacher, and you act as the student). It's a long time status, not an on going action.


Team ChineseClass101.com

Sunday at 12:31 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

what happen to Má Yánrú ?

meanning ' acting as ..' - you still need the zài before the verb ?