The word “and” in English seems very simple, but is often quite tricky to translate into Chinese. This is because “and” is very versatile in English, and manages to cover the functions of quite a few different Chinese words and structures.
A lot of learners then over-use one or two “and” words and end up sounding quite awkward. Learning to correctly express “and” in Chinese is an effective way to sound a lot more natural.
“And” for linking adjectives or nouns
Speakers of English shouldn’t have too much trouble linking nouns or adjectives together in Chinese. You generally use the word 和, which in these cases is equivalent to “and”.
Linking nouns with 和 (hé)
和 works exactly like “and” in English, sitting between the two nouns. Some examples of linking nouns with 和:
我和我的丈夫都是老师。 Wǒ hé wǒ de zhàngfū dōu shì lǎoshī. My husband and I are both teachers.
啤酒和葡萄酒我都喜欢喝。 Píjiǔ hé pútáojiǔ wǒ dōu xǐhuan hē. I like drinking beer and wine.
这些书和衣服都是你的。 Zhèxiē shū hé yīfú dōu shì nǐ de. These books and clothes are all yours.
There are some other words for connecting nouns that are also covered by “and” in English.
Linking nouns with 跟 (gēn)
跟 is often translated as “with”, but actually it’s interchangeable with 和 in most cases. It works in the same way, sitting between the two nouns it links:
我跟我朋友常常去酒吧。 Wǒ gēn wǒ péngyǒu chángcháng qù jiǔbā. My friends and I often go to the bar.
你跟我一样大。 Nǐ gēn wǒ yīyàng dà. You and me are the same age.
她跟她男朋友一起住。 Tā gēn tā nán péngyǒu yīqǐ zhù. She and her boyfriend live together.
Notice how all of the above sentences could just as well be expressed using “with” in English. I used the slightly awkward versions using “and” just to illustrate that 跟 is actually very similar to 和.
Linking nouns with 与 (yǔ)
与 is another conjunction for linking nouns that’s common in Classical Chinese but less so in the modern language. It’s most often used in writing, as a more formal way to express “and”, covering the function of both 和 and 跟. Some examples:
这件事与你无关。 Zhè jiàn shì yǔ nǐ wúguān. This issue has nothing to do with you.
友谊与快乐不可分。 Yǒuyì yǔ kuàilè bùkěfēn. Friendship and happiness cannot be separated.
英格兰与苏格兰相邻。 Yīnggélán yǔ Sūgélán xiānglín. England and Scotland are neighbours.
Notice how the style of these examples is quite formal and literary, as that’s appropriate for 与.
“And” for linking verbs or phrases
This is where things get tricky. First off, you can not link verbs with 和. This is a classic English-speaker mistake, and you hear it everywhere. It sounds very obvious and totally incorrect to native Chinese speakers.
There are a number of different words for connecting verbs and phrases in Mandarin Chinese, all of which can be translated as “and”.
Without a conjunction
Quite often, it’s possible to just not use any explicit word for “and” when linking phrases. This is usually quite a safe bet when speaking - just say the two phrases without any connector. Some examples:
我每天去咖啡店喝咖啡。 Wǒ měi tiān qù kāfēi diàn hē kāfēi. Everyday I go to the café and have coffee.
一个男人过来问我怎么了。 Yīgè nánrén guòlái wèn wǒ zěnmele. A man came over and asked if I was OK.
我开车去了城市买东西。 Wǒ kāichē qù le chéngshì mǎi dōngxi. I drove to town and went shopping.
If a sentence in English can be expressed using “to”, you can usually omit any kind of connector in Mandarin. Look at the examples above and notice how they all have some sense of purpose in the second phrase - “I go to the café to drink coffee”, etc.
“And” in English often implies a sequence of actions (compare “they got married and had a child” to “they had a child and got married”). In Chinese, you can get the same effect by not using a conjunction at all and just following one phrase with another, as above.
If you really want to use a conjunction, you can use 然后. This means “and then”, and makes the sequence clear. Some examples:
然后呢？ Ránhòu ne? And then?
我想先休息一下然后去学校。 Wǒ xiǎng xiān xiūxí yīxià ránhòu qù xuéxiào. I'd like to rest a bit first and then go to school.
咱们等一下然后出去。 Zánmen děng yíxià ránhòu chūqù. Let's wait a while and then go out.
也 is a common connector for verbs and phrases in Mandarin, and is often used to link two phrases that share the same subject. If you’re talking about one person doing two things, 也 is a safe bet to link the two phrases together.
也 is literally “also” or “too”, but a more convenient way to think of it might be “and also”. This makes it easy to use to express “and”. Some examples:
我吃了炒饭，也喝了啤酒。 Wǒ chīle chǎofàn, yě hēle píjiǔ. I ate fried rice and drank some beer.
我们很想你，也非常期待你在这里。 Wǒmen hěn xiǎng nǐ, yě fēicháng qídài nǐ zài zhèlǐ. We miss you and are really looking forward to you being here.
他喜欢唱歌，也喜欢跳舞。 Tā xǐhuan chànggē, yě xǐhuan tiàowǔ. He likes singing and dancing.
我们要去北京，也要去上海。 Wǒmen yào qù Běijīng, yě yào qù Shànghǎi. We want to go to Beijing and Shanghai.
Notice how 也 introduces a new phrase, but keeps the same subject. The verb is often the same as well, in which case it must be repeated. 也 can link phrases with different verbs though, as in the first two examples.
When the verb is the same, you could actually use one of the noun connectors above to just link the objects together. The underlying structure of the sentence would then be different, although the meanings are practically identical.
还有 is a very versatile word and has a lot uses besides expressing “and” in Mandarin. It can be used to tack on extra information to the end of a sentence. Some examples:
他买了蔬菜，还有一些水果。 Tā mǎile shūcài, hái yǒu yīxiē shuǐguǒ. He bought vegetables and some fruit.
我很累，还有点心烦。 Wǒ hěn lèi, hái yǒudiǎn xīnfán. I'm tired and a bit grumpy.
我要麻婆豆腐，还有两碗米饭。 Wǒ yào mápódòufu, hái yǒu liǎng wǎn mǐfàn. I'd like mapo tofu and two bowls of rice.
The “furthermore” conjunctions
The following words can also express what would be “and” in English. They’re all used to link verbs or phrases, and have the sense of “furthermore” or “as well as”.
并 is a fairly formal way to link verbs and phrases in Mandarin. 并 usually draws attention to the actual combination itself, as in “a and b” with emphasis on the “and”. Some examples:
我参加过汉语水平考试并考得最高的水平。 Wǒ cānjiā guo hànyǔ shuǐpíng kǎoshì bìng kǎo de zuìgāo de shuǐpíng. I've taken the HSK and achieved the highest level.
__ 他特别爱啤酒并每天都喝醉。 Tā tèbié ài píjiǔ bìng měi tiān dōu hē zuì. He really loves beer and gets drunk every day.
我去年离开了上海并从来没有回去过。 Wǒ qùnián líkāile shànghǎi bìng cónglái méiyǒu huíqùguò. I left Shanghai last year and I've never been back.
Note that a common use of 并 is in 并不, to express “not at all”.
并且 (bìngqiě) is a variation of 并 that functions in the same way, but adds a lot more force to the “furthermore” or “moreover” feel of the word.
而且 is similar to 并且 - it expresses “and” as in “and what’s more”. Remember though that it can often just be translated as “and”. It’s not as strong as “furthermore” in English, it just has that feel to it. Some examples:
他结婚了，而且有三个孩子。 Tā jiéhūnle, érqiě yǒu sān gè háizi. He's married and has three children.
她很烦人，而且很自私。 Tā hěn fánrén, érqiě hěn zìsī. She's annoying and selfish.
我们的东西被偷走了，而且我们错过了火车。 Wǒmen de dōngxi bèi tōu zǒu le, érqiě wǒmen cuòguòle huǒchē. Our stuff got stolen, and we missed our train.
Notice that 而且 can link phrases with different subjects, as in the last example.
Got questions about expressing “and” in Mandarin Chinese? Have you noticed a mistake in this article? Got more examples? Please comment below!
- Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar (Modern Grammars) - Amazon
- A Guide to Proper Usage of Spoken Chinese - Amazon
- Translations of “and” from English to Chinese on Tatoeba
- Saying “And” In Mandarin Chinese - About.com
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