Chinese Grammar: Giving alternatives
It’s nice to learn some patterns to give options. Sometimes there will be a series of choices that you can make but sometimes maybe only two possibilities. Do you want to know how to react in Chinese when facing these situations?
Using 要么 to express “either or”
When facing a series of alternatives you can use this pattern 要么...要么... As in English “either...or...”. You can add plenty of things behind 要么 such as time adverbs, manners, places, verbs, specific actions or events, etc. They can be an option or a suggestion to someone you talk with. It can be totally two different parts after the word 要么.
要么 你 去 ， 要么 我 去。
Either you go, or I go.
要么 周一 ， 要么 周二。
Either Monday or Tuesday.
你 要么 学 汉语 ， 要么 学 日语。
You can either study Chinese or Japanese.
When there is only exist two possibilities, use 不是...就是... to describe this situation. It can mean “either or”, you can also consider it as “if it is not A, then it is B” in English. In this way, it’ll be easier to understand, isn’t it?
他 每天 不是 吃 鸡肉 ， 就是 吃 牛肉。
Every day if he is not eating chicken, he’s eating beef.
她 每天 上学 不是 坐 地铁 ， 就是 坐 公共汽车。
If she is not taking the metro, then she’s taking a bus to go to school each day.
我 上网 买 的 这些 鞋 不是 太 大 就是 太 小 ， 都 不能 穿。
The shoes that I bought online are either too big or too small, I can't wear any of them.
他 一 回家 不是 看 电视 ， 就是 睡觉。
If he doesn’t watch TV, he goes straight to sleep when he gets home.
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Can you still remember how to use 还是/或者 to give alternatives? If not, just review it in the previous lessons in world 4. Always keep a habit of summarizing the common usages when it is in a similar situation. That’ ll be an excellent way to form better learning habits, 加油！