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Level 2 Lesson 2.1 – Don’t Work Overtime By Yourself Anymore

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Should Do Something in Chinese with 要
Don't Do Something in Chinese with 不要 and 别

In this HSK 2 lesson we'll learn how to say other people, oneself and by oneself in Chinese and how to use the Modal Verb 要 in Chinese to say should and don't in Chinese.

  • other people, oneself and by oneself in Chinese
  • Modal Verb 要 (II). See also Modal Verb 要 (I), Modal Verb 要 (III), and Verb 要.
  • should do something in Chinese with 要
  • don’t do something in Chinese with 不要 and 别
  • together with in Chinese 和...一起/和...在一起

VOCABULARY


HSK CHINESE
PINYIN P.O.S ENGLISH AUDIO
2 2 yào m.v. should; need to
2 不要 búyào v. (ph.) don't
2 bié v. don't
3 别人 biéren n. other people
3 自己 zìjǐ n. self; oneself
2 休息 xiūxi n. to rest; to take a break
2 一起 yìqǐ v. (ph.) together

GRAMMAR


Grammar 1: Other People, Oneself and By Oneself in Chinese · HSK 3

In Chinese, other people is 别人, while self, oneself is 自己. We can say phrases like:

  • wǒ zìjǐ 我自己 myself
  • tā zìjǐ 他自己 himself
  • nǐmen zìjǐ 你们自己 yourselves (plural)

 

To say someone does something by oneself in Chinese, we can use this structure:

Subject + 自己 + Verb Predicate (+ Object)

For example,

  • wǒ zìjǐ zuòfàn, zìjǐ chī
    我自己做饭,自己吃。
    I cook by myself, eat by myself
  • tā zìjǐ zài jiā xiūxi
    她自己在家休息。
    she is resting at home by herself

 

  • nín néng zìjǐ kāichē dào gōngsī qù ma
    您能自己开车到公司去吗?
    can you drive by yourself to go to the company
  • shéi zìjǐ zǒu le
    谁自己走了?
    who left by themselves

 

Grammar 2: Modal Verb 要 (II) · HSK 2

We learned about the Modal Verb 要 in HSK 2 Lesson 1 already, but in today's lesson, it suggests a different meaning. The Modal Verb 要:

in Lesson 1: suggests "having the plan, intention, or determination to do something"; meaning “to want to”, “to intend to” or "to plan to"

in Lesson 2: suggests "having the need or demand to do something"; meaning "should" or "need to"

Sometimes it might be difficult to tell whether 要 suggests intention or demand, so we need the help of the context to decide. For example following sentence could have two different meanings.

  • wǒ xiàzhōu yào dào Shànghǎi qù kāihuì
    我下周要到上海开会。
    A: I "intend to" go to Shanghai to attend a meeting next week
    B: I "need to" go to Shanghai to attend a meeting next week
  • tā yào xué Fǎyǔ
    他要学法语。
    A: he "wants to" learn French
    B: he "should" learn French

 

Grammar 3: Should Do Something in Chinese with 要 · HSK 2

Since the Modal Verb 要 can suggest "having the need or demand to do something", we can say someone (1) needs to do something or (2) should do something in Chinese with 要, using this structure:

Subject + + Predicate

For example,

  • wǒ shēngbìng le, yào shuìjiào
    我生病了,要睡觉。
    I am sick, (I) "need to" sleep
  • tā shì nǐde péngyou, nǐ yào gàosu tā
    他是你的朋友,你要告诉他。
    he is your friend, you "should" tell him
  • diànnǎo yào kuài
    电脑要快。
    computers "should" (be) fast

 

  • yīshēng, qǐngwèn nàge bìngrén yào chī zhèxiē yào ma
    医生,请问那个病人要吃这些药吗?
    doctor, excuse me, "should" that patient take these medicine
  • jīnglǐ, jīntiān nǎge bàngōngshì yào jiābān
    经理,今天哪个办公室要加班?
    manager, which office "needs to" work overtime today

 

要 (should;need) can also be used in an Imperative Sentence to make a request and demand. But we need to be careful with the tone because it may sound pressing and impolite. Here are some example sentences:

  • nǐ jīntiān yào xǐ yīfu
    你今天要洗衣服。
    you "need to" wash clothes today
  • nǐ yào gěiwǒ dǎ diànhuà
    你要给我打电话。
    you "need to" call me
  • nǐ yào gāoxìng, jīntiān shì nǐde shēngrì
    你要高兴,今天是你的生日。
    you "should" (be) happy, today is your birthday

 

When saying an Imperative Sentence where the Subject is implied, we can usually use a Zero-Subject Sentence 无主句 Wúzhǔjù,

Subject + Predicate

For example,

  • yào gōngzuò, yě yào xiūxi
    要工作,也要休息。
    (one) should/needs to work, also should/needs to rest
  • zhù zài nàlǐ, yào xuéhuì kāichē
    住在那里,要学会开车。
    living there, (one) should/needs to learn how to drive

 

Grammar 4: Don’t Do Something in Chinese with 不要 or 别 · HSK 2

Since 要 suggests "demand", 不要 suggests the opposite, "no demand", therefore, to say don't do something in Chinese, we can use 不要.

There is another word, 别, which can also be used to say don't do something in Chinese. So we can use this structure:

Subject + 不要/ + Predicate

For example,

  • nǐ búyà zǒu, wǒman dōu zài zhèr ne
    你不要走,我们都在这儿呢!
    you don't go, we are all here
  • nín bié bù gāoxìng
    您别不高兴。
    you don't be unhappy

Zero-subject Sentences are also very common when saying Imperative Sentences with 不要 and 别. For example,

  • xiànzài shì xiàwǔ, bú yào shuìjiào
    现在是下午,不要睡觉。
    now is afternoon, don't sleep
  • wǒmen zài shàng Zhōngwén kè, qǐng bié shuō Yīngyǔ
    我们在上中文课,请别说英语。
    we are having Chinese class, please don't speak English

 

Grammar 5: Together With in Chinese 和...一起/和...在一起 · HSK 2

一起 means together in Chinese. We can use it by following this structure:

Subject(more than one person) + 一起 + Predicate

For example,

  • wǒmen yìqǐ dào huǒchēzhàn qù
    我们一起到火车站去。
    we go to the train station together
  • lǎoshī men yìqǐ zài bàngōngshì kāihuì
    老师们一起在办公室开会。
    (the) teachers are having a meeting together in (the) office

 

We can use 和...一起 to say together with someone in Chinese.

Subject+[ + someone + 一起 ] + Predicate

  • wǒ hé jīnglǐ yìqǐ dào bàngōngshì qù
    我和经理一起到办公室去。
    me and (the) manager together to go to the office
  • jiějie shì hé wǒ yìqǐ gàosu bàba de
    姐姐是和我一起告诉爸爸的。
    my big sister (it was) with me together (that) told dad

 

We also have another phrase, 和...在一起, we can use it like this:

Subject+[ + someone + 在一起 ]。

It has two meanings (1) literally to be in the same place together, or (2) to be in a relationship together.

(1) literally to be in the same place together

  • Zhōng Jīnglǐ hé Zhōu Jīnglǐ zài yìqǐ
    钟经理和周经理在一起。
    Manager Zhong is with Manager Zhou
  • wǒde māo hé tāde gǒu zài yì qǐ
    我的猫和他的狗在一起。
    my cat is with his dog

(2) to be in a relationship together

  • yījiǔjiǔbā nián sì yuè, wǒ bàba hé wǒ māma zài yìqǐ le
    一九九八年四月,我爸爸和我妈妈在一起了。
    April 1998, my dad and my mom (became) together
  • wǒhé wǒ nánpéngyou shì shànggeyuè zài yìqǐ de
    我和我男朋友是上个月在一起的。
    me and my boyfriend (it was) last month (that) (were) together
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