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Chinese Grammar: Lesson: It will be done if only - 只有 … 才 / 只要 … 就

There are two patterns in Chinese that are often used to express one thing will be done or will happen on a certain condition. That is 只有…… and 只要……. It’s not difficult to tell when to use which, let’s take a look at it together.


The pattern is “only if/through ... can you ...” in English. It means only in this way or through this action you can achieve or can bring the result you want. Here 只有 means only if.


只有 + condition + + desired result]


只有 努力 才能 工作
Only through hard work is it possible to do a good job.

只有 经历 风雨才能 见到 彩虹
You'll never see a rainbow if there's no rain or wind. (You won't achieve anything without a hard work or great efforts.)

只有 才能
Only you can help me right now.


In English, you must know this pattern “as long as... then...”. To express the same idea in Chinese you use the pattern 只要…….


只要 + A (condition) + + B (desired result)

A is a necessary condition to achieve the desired result B. The B result will be done with the condition of A exist. A may not be the only way but it is one way to accomplish the result for sure.


只要 放心
As long as you are here, I won't worry.

只要 坚持 收获
As long as you persevere, you should yield results.

只要 明天 不下 我们 野餐
If only they weren't planning rain tomorrow, we could have gone picnicking.

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