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Level 2 Lesson 1.1 – I Plan To Go To The Office To Do Something

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The 到……去…… Structure in Chinese
Modal Verb 要 in Mandarin

In this HSK 2 video lesson we'll learn how to use the 到……去……structure in Chinese and how to use the Modal Verb 要 in Chinese.


2 1 yào m.v. to intend to; to want to; to plan to
2 dào v. to arrive; to go to; to get to
2 公司 gōngsī n. company; corporation
3 办公室 bàngōngshì n.  office
3 经理 jīnglǐ n. manager
3 开会 kāihuì v. (ph.) to have a meeting; to hold a meeting
4 加班 jiābān v. (ph.) to work overtime


Grammar 1: The 到……去……Structure in Chinese · HSK 2

We can use the 到……去……structure in Chinese to say, to go to some place to do something, following this structure:

Subject + 到 place  do something

For example,

  • jīnglǐ dào bàngōngshì qù kāihuì
    (the) manager goes to the office to have (a) meeting
  • wǒmen dào gōngsī qù jiābān
    we go to the company to work overtime


  • nǐ dào nàr qù zuòchē ma
    (do) you go there to take vehicle 
  • wǒmen dào nǎr qù mǎi fēijī piào
    where (do) we go buy plane ticket


For giving answers to  a yes-or-no questions with the 到……去……structure, we use "去/不去" for "yes/no", instead of "到/不到".

Q: Subject + …………

Y: , Subject + …………

N: 不去, Subject + …………

For example,

  • Q: nǐ jīntiān dào gōngsī qù ma
          (do) you go to the company today
    Y: qù, wǒ jīntiān dào gōngsī qù
          yes, I go to the company today
    búqù, wǒ jīntiān bú dào gōngsī qù
          no, I (do) not go to the company today


Grammar 2: 到……去 vs 去...... · HSK 2

Sometimes the "do something" part in the 到……去……structure can be omitted, like this:

Subject + 到 place  

Here the structure "到……去" means "to go to some place". For example,

  • Zhāng jīnglǐ dào gōngsī qù
    Manager Zhang goes to the company
  • tā nǚpéngyou dào huǒchēzhàn qù
    his girlfriend goes to the train station

In this case, "到……去……" has exactly the same meaning as "去……".

A: Subject + 到 place 去 =B: Subject +  place

For example, in the following pairs, sentence A and sentence B has the same meaning.

  • A:  Gāo Lǎoshī dào yīyuàn qù
          Teacher Gao goes to the hospital
    B: Gāo Lǎoshī qù yīyuàn
          Teacher Gao goes to the hospital
  • A: nín dào nǎr qù
          where are you going
    B: nín qù nǎr
          where are you going


Grammar 3: Modal Verb 要 in Chinese (I) · HSK 2

The Modal Verb 要 can suggest "having the plan, intention, or determination to do something", and can usually be translated as “to want to”, "to intend to" or “to plan to” in English. We can use this structure:

Subject + 要 + Verb Predicate (+ Object)

For example,

  • jīnglǐ yào dào gōngsī qù kāihuì
    (the) manager "intends to" goes to the company to have (a) meeting
  • Zhāng Lǎoshī jīntiān yào zài bàngōngshì jiābān
    Teacher Zhang "plans to" work overtime in the office today


  • nǐ xiàwǔ yào lái chīfàn ma
    (do) you "want to" come to eat meal (in the) afternoon
  • nín dào nǎlǐ qù kànbìng
    where (do) you go to diagnose sickness


For giving answers to  a yes-or-no questions with Modal Verb 要, we use "要" for "yes". We use "不/不想" for no, instead of "不要" (HSK 2 Video Lesson 2).

不 emphasizes "not having the plan, intention, determination to...", while 不想 emphasizes "not having the desire, wish to...".

Q: Subject + …… ?

Y: , Subject + ……。

N: , Subject + 不……不想, Subject + 不想……。

For example,

  • Q: Zhōu Jīnglǐ yào gěi wǒmen kāihuì ma
          (does) Manager Zhou "yao" hold the meeting for us
    Y: yào, tā yào gěi wǒmen kāihuì
          yes, he "yao"  hold the meeting for us
    bù, tā bù gěi wǒmen kāihuì
          no, he (does) not "plan to" hold the meeting for us
  • Q: nǐ yào gěi chūzūchē gōngsī dǎ diànhuà ma
          (do) you "yao" call (the) taxi company
    Y: yào, wǒ yào gěi chūzūchē gōngsī dǎ diànhuà
          yes, I "yao" call (the) taxi company 
    bùxiǎng, wǒ bùxiǎng gěi zhūcūchē gōngsī dǎdiànhuà
          no, I (do) not "want to" call the taxi company


Grammar 4: 要 vs 想 in Chinese · HSK 2

In our Level 1 Chinese Course (HSK 1+) we learn the verb 想, meaning "to want to", the differences between 要 vs. 想 are:

(1) Part of Speech 词性 Cíxìng

They are different types of Verbs in Chinese.

要 is a Modal Verb, while 想 is a Stative Verb.

(2) Meaning

要 suggests "having the intention and is kind of determined to do something".

想 suggests "to be thinking of doing something", but not necessarily exactly going to or to be able to do that.

For example,

  • tā nánpéngyou yào mǎi zhètái diànnǎo
    her boyfriend "intends to" buy this "tai" (of) computer
  • tā nánpéngyou xiǎng mǎi zhètái diànnǎo
    her boyfriend "is thinking about" buying this "tai" (of) computer


Lesson Content
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Collapse Comments

Hi! Thanks for the great quiz! This helped me wind e I am still in grade 5

Prang ChanthyPremium Student May 13, 2022 at 1:40 am

Dear,LiLi 老师,

ChineseFor.UsAcademic Team May 17, 2022 at 9:09 am

You can say 我今天不想买. However 我想明天买 is more appropriate. Because in Chinese, usually the information that “happens first” comes before other information in a sentence.

In this situation, when the speaker is “thinking= 想”, the action of “thinking=想” already happened, while “tomorrow=明天” hasn’t “happened” yet.

Prang ChanthyPremium Student May 20, 2022 at 6:11 pm

Dear,many thanks for your prompt reply!

Rachel PagePremium Student July 7, 2021 at 2:28 pm


F.G.C. UrsinoPremium Student March 14, 2021 at 5:10 am

please check below. This was taken out the grammar points hsk2 lesson 1
According to the grammar points we never have to use 不到, instead should be used 不去。 thanks for clarifying and eventually correct it.

Joe_seph92Premium Student April 15, 2020 at 8:23 am

Hi Lili, I was wondering why we can’t use “不要” in this class? I often hear friends or people in general use this here in China, so can it be used in different contexts? Thanks very much as usual!

不要 is used commonly to say (1) “don’t (do something)” in Chinese and (2) “do not want to have (something)” in Chinese.

For Grammar 3 [Subject + 要 + Verb Predicate (+ Object)], when giving answers to a yes-or-no questions with Modal Verb 要, 不要 are sometimes used in spoken language, but it is not the standard way.

vcirilliPremium Student April 19, 2019 at 2:27 pm

What the difference?

omareduardoPremium Student August 10, 2019 at 11:46 am

Per the lesson, and my experience, “他想学游泳” is more appropriate if there’s no plan to actually do it. You’re just expressing that he’s thinking about it/considering it. If actually intend to, are planning to, do it, then “他要学游泳” would be more appropriate.

igorgogaPremium Student March 29, 2019 at 7:27 pm

Your lessons are very very strong, thank you!

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