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Chinese Grammar: Expressing “If... then” with 如果

Yocha’s always trying to instill some manners into Nincha and warning Lupishu not to do the same silly things. A sentence structure he particularly loves to use is 如果... -- "If...then".
No wonder! It’s perfect to talk about actions and potential consequences. So let’s study this very common pattern in Chinese!


The two-part structure 如果... works like this:

如果 A [supposition] B (consequence)

如果 means "if". It is always placed at the beginning of a sentence or phrase.
As you know, when there's an if, there's usually a potential consequence that goes with it.

This pattern is a simple way to form a conditional statement. It works the same way as the pattern “if”... then” in English.

You use 如果 to set up your “if” supposition, in other words, your condition. Then, the expected outcome, i.e., what comes after "then", is placed after .


如果 上海 找到 工作
If you come to Shanghai, you will find a good job.

如果 states the condition: you coming to Shanghai
says what can happen if you do: you finding a good job.

Let's look at other example sentences with 如果

如果 今天 星期 可以 休息
If today is Saturday, then I can rest.

如果 着火 警铃
If there's a fire, ring the alarm.

, , 那么 or nothing at all

In this "If"... "then" structure, 如果 doesn't only hang out with . So you'll find other words are used instead of .
is a frequent flyer, especially to sound more polite.
那么 is also a popular choice to express what will happen if that condition is met. It'll make your sentence sound more relaxed and gives it an informal feel. The shortened is also sometimes used instead of 那么.

Another good thing to know is that in this pattern, (or any other word instead) is often omitted, the same way in English, you often drop the “then”.


如果 一起 太好了
If you can come with me, that'll be great.

如果 伤心 那么 伤心
If you are sad, so am I.

如果 , 事先 告诉
If you want to come, please tell me first.

如果 薪水 高兴
If my salary gets deducted, I will not be happy.

如果 蝙蝠侠 超人 打架肯定 超人
If Batman and Superman were in a fight, Superman would definitely win.

如果 有人 打电话 告诉 忙着
If someone calls, please tell them I'm busy.

There you have it! How to express "If...then" in Chinese with 如果.... Ready to experiment using "if" in Mandarin sentences? Let's go!

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