Chinese Grammar: 和 Grammar: a simple way to say “and” in Chinese
Ever find yourself in a situation where you’re super hungry, and when ordering you’re tempted to say “I want fried rice (炒饭) AND a sizzling plate of braised eggplant (鱼香 茄子)? But then, you realize you don’t quite know how to say “and” in Chinese yet? Fear not, after this lesson, you’ll know all about a very simple way to say “and “in Chinese. Ready to learn all about the grammar behind 和？
The most commonly used way to say “and”: 和
The word “and” in English can seem simple, and it is used all the time in daily speech. In Chinese, things aren’t so simple. There are several words and ways to express “and” in Mandarin. That’s the reason why it can be quite tricky to translate ‘’and’’ into Chinese. No worries, there’s an easy word to know: 和.
和 is the most common way to say “and” in Chinese. You’ll often hear 和 in Chinese people’s daily conversation. The way it works is quite simple: it’s like “and” in English - just place it between two nouns.
Noun + 和 + Noun
If you only remember one thing, remember that: 和 only links nouns. Not verbs, not phrases, not adjectives. Just straight-up nouns.
It’s a common mistake when learning Chinese to try to link verbs or actions with 和. You can’t say “I eat and drink” using 和 for instance. 和 doesn’t work that way in Chinese. It only links things and not actions.
Use 和 to list and link several nouns together
You can also use 和 as a link when there are more than two nouns. In fact, 和 works great when you want to list 3 items or more! Just place 和 between the last two items in your list. See, just like in English:
Well, 都 and 和 are good pals. Together, they mean “...and... both...”. For instance, if you wanted to say “Lupishu and Nincha are both good-looking” or “I like both Lupishu and Nincha” in Chinese, these two words are the magic keys to help you. All you have to do is remember the two patterns below and use them as much as possible!
There are two patterns to know about, and both are very close to each other.
Two things to note: Here, 和 has a meaning closer to "with" in English than “and”. In this pattern, only a verb can be used after 一起. That’s important to remember to avoid making another common Chinese learner’s mistake.
What if you want to link something other than nouns together?
As you just saw, 和 only works with nouns. So, in Chinese, 和 won’t work to link something else together, such as verbs, or phrases, or a series of actions. Here’s an example: In English, we’d say I went to the café AND had a cup of coffee. 和 doesn’t cut it here.
So what can you use instead? Now, that’s a topic we’ll have plenty of time to explore because there are many words you can use instead. You'll learn of words that are happier being used with verbs or phrases and you’ll love knowing them.
But here’s a simple trick that’s good to know straight away: When talking about simple actions, you can just make really long sentences in Chinese! That's right; without any specific words to say “and”. In other words, you can just link several actions together without any specific connector aside from a simple comma! Neat, no? So if you want to say "I went to the café ANd had a cup of coffee" you can say:
The only caveat? This only works with simple actions. For more complicated actions, other words exist to express the idea of “and” in Chinese such as 而且 and more. You’ll learn about them later, not to worry!
So there you have it: How to use express “and” in Chinese with 和! What do you say we go practice now?
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