Ninchanese

Login Sign up

Chinese Grammar: Lesson: Expressing distance with 离

When you're travelling as extensively as Nincha and Lupishu are, knowing how to talk about distance is important! Especially, when one's not a big fan of walking and keeps asking "are we there yet?" all the time.

Are we there yet?

One of the words to know is , (from). It is used to measure the distance between two places. The sentence structure takes a little getting used to, but once you know, it always works the same!

Structure

Whether you’re just saying if a place is close, or far from another place, or want to be more specific, the pattern stays the same. Let’s see:

Place 1 + + Place 2 + distance ( /)

公共汽车站 + +火车站 +

Example

公共 车站 车站
The bus station is very close to the railway station.

Negation

This structure always stays the same, whether you’re saying it in the negative form ...

Place 1 + + Place 2 + + distance ( /)

Examples

学校
My school is not far from my home.

火车站 我们
We are not far from the train station.

Question form

... or asking a question.

Place 1 + + Place 2 + distance + question word

Example

上海 北京
Is Shanghai far from Beijing?

Distances, what distances?

If you want to be more precise than just “close”, “not close”, far, not far, you can also choose to talk about a specific distance using miles; kilometers or any other unit to measure a distance.

Structure

Place 1 + + Place 2 + Verb + distance (miles, kilometers, stops…)

Example

这儿 飞机场 公里
The airport is thirty-five kilometers from here.

Measuring time

You can also use to measure duration; i.e. to talk about how far something is in time, like this:

structure

Moment 1 + + Moment 2 + Verb + duration

Notice that as usually one measures a duration from the current moment, the starting point is often implied. You could say “from now to my mother’s birthday” but that sounds strange in English, doesn't it? It also does in Chinese.

Examples

妈妈 生日 星期
My mother’s birthday is in two weeks.

考试 还有
There’s still a month before the exam.

下班 还有 二十 分钟
There’s still 20 minutes before we finish work.

Implied place

As with measuring a duration, the starting point can also be implied when you’re talking about a distance, as long as, in the context, it is clear what the speaker is talking about.

Examples

公共汽车站 走路 分钟
There’s a ten-minute walk [from here] to the bus station.

机场
There are seven stops to the airport.

Oh noes!

An error occured, please reload the page.
Don't hesitate to report a feedback if you have internet!

You are disconnected!

We have not been able to load the page.
Please check your internet connection and retry.
Retry