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Chinese Grammar: Expressing warning with 以免

"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” The (in)famous Forrest Gump’s lines. And, indeed, there are always unexpected events happening. What we can do is try to prevent bad things from happening. Let’s look at how to express warnings and alerts in Chinese.


One of the words you could use to say “to avoid” is 以免. The word is interesting because both of the two characters composing 以免 are a shortened form of other words. is short for 以便 which means “in order to”; is short for 避免, which means “to avoid”. And so, together 以免 means “in order to avoid” or “for fear that”. As such it's easy to see why it's used to warn or to remind somebody of something.

Using 以免 to give advice

When you want to help someone and remind them that doing "something" will lead to a bad consequence, 以免 is your guy. You usually start by giving a suggestion or describing a context before 以免 and then indicate results or warnings just after.


Clause, + 以免 + Result


穿 以免 生病
Wear more clothes in order to avoid getting sick.

以免 发生 事故
Drive slowly (in order) to avoid the accident.

快点以免 迟到
Walk quickly, for fear that you’ll be late.

以免 发胖
Eat less in order to avoid becoming fat.

Using 以免 to give a warning

You can use 以免 followed by a subject and a predicate to warn people about things.


以免 + Subject + Predicate


告诉 以免 生气
Don’t tell him that in order to avoid him gettting angry.

一些 面包以免 路上 挨饿
Bring some bread in order to avoid hunger on the road.

好好 努力以免 考试 失败
Work hard in order not to fail in your exam.

声音 以免 听不见
Speak loudly for fear that he can’t hear you.

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