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How to use Chinese Verbs 动词

How to use Chinese Verbs 动词

Verbs are used to help us express ourselves clearly in any language. Unlike English or Japanese, the form of a Chinese verb never changes, meaning the Chinese verb stays the same whether it is in the past, present or future tense.

For example, the English verb ‘see’ will become ‘saw’ for past tense, however, the chinese verb 看 [kàn] stays the same.

This is great news as you do not need to worry about learning different forms of tenses. Chinese verbs will never change their state, instead all we need is to add a time adverb to the sentence to indicate past, present or future. We will look into this topic in another post.

For this article, let's look at the many verbs from basic to intermediate, along with their example sentences, to give you a head start in your Chinese language learning or studies. We will be focusing more on the verb itself and their different meaning when combined with different Chinese characters.

Below is an ever-growing list of verbs ranging from those used in daily Chinese conversation to those found in any common Chinese reading materials.

Chinese Verbs List

  1. 吃 eat [chī]
  2. 喝 drink [hē]
  3. 咬 bite [yǎo]
  4. 坐 sit [zuò]
  5. 站 stand [zhàn]
  6. 看 see, look, watch [kàn]
  7. 听 hear, listen [tīng]
  8. 讲 speak, talk [jiǎng]
  9. 问 ask [wèn]
  10. 叫 shout, call [jiào]
  11. 读 read [dú]
  12. 写 write [xiě]
  13. 拿 take [ná]
  14. 走 go, walk [zǒu]
  15. 跑 run [pǎo]
  16. 跳 jump [tiào]
  17. 爬 climb, crawl [pá]
  18. 梳 comb, brush [shū]
  19. 洗 wash [xǐ]

Learn to Write Chinese Verbs

How to use Chinese Verbs in a sentence

  1. 吃 [chī] eat

    Learn Chinese verbs - eat

    I want to eat ice cream.
    我想冰淇淋。
    [wǒ xiǎng chī bīng qí lín]

    吃饭 [chī fàn] to have a meal

    "Let's have a meal together."
    “一起吃饭吧!”
    [yī qǐ chī fàn ba]

    吃醋 [chī cù] to be jealous

    Women in love are more likely to be jealous.
    戀愛中的女生比較容易吃醋
    [liàn'ài zhōng de nǚ shēng bǐ jiào róng yì chī cù]

    吃香 [chī xiāng] very popular / sought after

    In this country, being a teacher is more sought after than being a policeman.
    在这个国家当教师比当警察更吃香
    [zài zhè ge guó jiā dàng jiào shī bǐ dāng jǐng chá gèng chī xiāng]

    吃惊 [chī jīng] to be startled, shocked

    We were shocked to hear that he is divorced.
    听说他离婚了,我们都很吃惊
    [tīng shuō tā lí hūn le, wǒ men dōu hěn chī jīng]

    吃苦 [chī kǔ] endure hardships

    As long as you endure hardships, you will definitely be successful one day.
    只要你能吃苦,一定会有成功的一天。
    [zhǐ yào nǐ néng chī kǔ, yī dìng huì yǒu chéng gōng de yī tiān]

    好吃 [hǎo chī] delicious, tasty

    The dishes you made are delicious.
    你做的菜真好吃
    [nǐ zuò de cài zhēn hào chī]

    难吃 [nán chī] digusting, taste terrible

    This chocolate cake tastes extremely terrible.
    这巧克力蛋糕难吃极了。
    [zhè qiǎo kè lì dàn gāo nán chī jí le.]

    小吃 [xiǎo chī] snacks, refreshments

    We only had some snacks for lunch.
    我们午饭只吃了一点小吃
    [wǒ men wǔ fàn zhǐ chī le yī diǎn xiǎo chī]

    贪吃 [tān chī] greedy

    That greedy little boy ate all the candy on the table.
    那个贪吃的小男孩把桌上所有的糖果都吃光了。
    [nà gè tān chī de xiǎo nán hái bǎ zhuō shàng suǒ yǒu de táng guǒ dōu chī guāng le]

  2. 喝 drink [hē]

    Learn Chinese verbs - drink

    My little sister likes to drink apple juice.
    妹妹喜欢苹果汁。
    [mèi mei xǐ huān píng guǒ zhī]

    喝光 [hē guāng] to finish (a drink)

    My little brother finished a bottle of soda.
    弟弟把一整瓶汽水喝光了。
    [dì dì bǎ yī zhěng píng qì shuǐ hē guāng le]

    喝酒 [hē jiǔ] to drink (alcohol)

    We went out for drinks at a bar last night.
    昨晚我们去酒吧喝酒
    [zuó wǎn wǒ men qù jiǔ bā hē jiǔ]

    喝醉 [hē zuì] to get drunk

    He was really drunk last night.
    昨晚他真的喝醉了。
    [zuó wǎn tā zhēn de hē zuì le]

    好喝 [hǎo hē] tasty, delicious (for drinks & soups)

    The chicken soup mother made was so delicious.
    Literal translation: Mother boiled chicken soup so tasty
    妈妈熬的鸡汤很好喝
    [mā mā áo de jī tāng hěn hǎo hē]

    难喝 [nán hē] tastes bad (for drinks & soups), unpleasant to drink

    She finds cherry-flavored cola very unpleasant to drink.
    她觉得樱桃味可乐很难喝
    [tā jué dé yīng táo wèi kě lè hěn nán hē]

    喝彩 [hè cǎi] to cheer

    The audience cheered as soon as the main actor appeared.
    主角一出场,观众都为他喝彩
    [zhǔ jiǎo yī chū chǎng, guān zhòng dōu wèi tā hè cǎi]

    呼喝 [hū hè] to shout

    The shouting cries of soldiers came from outside the city.
    城外传来了士兵的呼喝声。
    [chéng wài zhuàn lái le shì bīng de hū hè shēng]

  3. 咬 bite [yǎo]

    Learn Chinese verb - bite

    Do not play with that dog, it will bite you.
    不要和那只狗玩,它会你的。
    [bù yào hé nà zhǐ gǒu wán, tā huì yǎo nǐ de]

  4. 坐 sit [zuò]

    It is so comfortable sitting on this sofa.
    在这沙发上真舒服。
    [zuò zài zhè shā fā shàng zhēn shū fú]

  5. 站 stand [zhàn]

    Learn Chinese verb - stand

    He was standing next to me.
    他就在我的旁边。
    [tā jiù zhàn zài wǒ de páng biān]

  6. 看 see, look, watch [kàn]

    Learn Chinese verb - see

    I want to see him again before I leave.
    在我走之前我想再看他一次。
    [zài wǒ zǒu zhī qián wǒ xiǎng zài kàn tā yī cì]

    What are you looking at?
    你在什么?
    [nǐ zài kàn shén me]

    I watch TV after I get home from work.
    下班回家后我就电视。
    [xià bān huí jiā hòu wǒ jiù kàn diàn shì]

  7. 听 hear, listen [tīng]

    Do not listen to him.
    千万不要他的。
    [qiān wàn bù yào tīng tā de]

  8. 讲 speak, talk [jiǎng]

    Do you speak French?
    你会法语吗?
    [nǐ huì jiǎng fǎ yǔ ma]

  9. 问 ask [wèn]

    Don't ask how much I earn in a month.
    我一个月赚多少钱。
    [bié wèn wǒ yī gè yuè zhuàn duō shǎo qián]

  10. 叫 shout, call [jiào]

    Learn Chinese verb - shout

    Excuse me, what is your name?
    请问你什么名字?
    [qǐng wèn nǐ jiào shén me míng zì]

    I will call for you when he comes in.
    他进来后, 我会你一声。
    [tā jìn lái hòu, wǒ huì jiào nǐ yī shēng]

  11. 读 read [dú]

    Can you read it again?
    你能再一次吗?
    [nǐ néng zài yī cì ma]

    读书 [dú shū] to read a book / to study

    He likes reading books since he was a child.
    他从小就喜欢读书
    [tā cóng xiǎo jiù xǐ huān dú shū]

    They are quietly studying in the classroom.
    他们正在教室里安静地读书
    [tā men zhèng zài jiào shì lǐ ān jìng de dú shū]

    读音 [dú yīn] pronunciation

    This word has a few different pronunciations.
    这个字有几个不同的读音
    [zhè ge zì yǒu jǐ gè bù tóng de dú yīn]

    读者 [dú zhě] reader

    His work was praised by readers.
    他的作品受到读者的赞许。
    [tā de zuò pǐn shòu dào dú zhě de zàn xǔ>]

    朗读 [lǎng dú] read aloud

    He read poetry aloud with a deep voice.
    Literal translation: He used deep sound to read aloud poetry
    他用低沉的声音朗读诗。
    [tā yòng dī chén de shēng yīn lǎng dú shī.]

    就读 [jiù dú] to study (in an institute)

    My sister studies university overseas.
    姐姐在国外大学就读
    [jiě jiě zài guó wài dà xué jiù dú]

  12. 写 write [xiě]

    This letter was written in Chinese
    这封信是用中文的。
    [zhè fēng xìn shì yòng zhōng wén xiě de]

  13. 拿 take [ná]

    Learn Chinese verb - take

    I took an egg from the fridge.
    我从冰箱里了一个鸡蛋。
    [wǒ cóng bīng xiāng lǐ le yī gè jī dàn]

    拿出 [ná chū] to take out

    She pulled out a drawer and took out a pair of socks.
    她拉开抽屉,拿出一双短袜。
    [tā lā kāi chōu tì, ná chū yī shuāng duǎn wà]

    拿来 [ná lái] to bring, to fetch, to get

    Please fetch me my coat.
    请把我的大衣拿来
    [qǐng bǎ wǒ de dà yī ná lái]

    拿去 [ná qù] to take (away)

    You can take the key.
    你可以把钥匙拿去
    [nǐ kě yǐ bǎ yào shi ná qù]

    拿走 [ná zǒu] to take away, to remove

    Remove that book from the table.
    把桌子上的那本书拿走
    [bǎ zhuō zi shàng dì nà běn shū ná zǒu]

    拿手 [ná shǒu] expert in, good at

    I'm good at painting.
    画画是我最拿手的项目。
    [huà huà shì wǒ zuì ná shǒu de xiàng mù]

  14. 走 go, walk [zǒu]

    Learn Chinese verb - walk

    When are you leaving?
    你什么时候
    [nǐ shén me shí hòu zǒu]

    走廊 [zǒu láng] corridor, hallway

    The toilet is at the end of the corridor.
    厕所在走廊尽头。
    [cè suǒ zài zǒu láng jìn tóu]

    走走 [zǒu zǒu] take a stroll, walk around

    He had nothing to do, so he walked around.
    他一个人没事做,就到处走走
    [tā yī gè rén méi shì zuò, jiù dào chù zǒu zǒu]

    走开 [zǒu kāi] to go somewhere else, go away

    Please go away and leave me alone.
    请你走开,让我一个人好好静一静。
    [qǐng nǐ zǒu kāi, ràng wǒ yī gè rén hǎo hǎo jìng yī jìng]

    走过 [zǒu guò] to walk past, to pass by

    He walked past me.
    他从我身边走过
    [tā cóng wǒ shēn biān zǒu guò]

    抢走 [qiǎng zǒu] to snatch

    Someone snatched his money.
    他的钱被人抢走了。
    [tā de qián bèi rén qiǎng zǒu le]

    拿走 [ná zǒu] to take away

    Take the book off the table.
    把桌子上的书拿走
    [bǎ zhuō zi shàng de shū ná zǒu]

    逃走 [táo zǒu] escape, flee

    I escaped when he was busy.
    我趁他忙乱的时候逃走了。
    [wǒ chèn tā máng luàn de shí hòu táo zǒu le]

    放走 [fàng zǒu] to release, to set free, to allow (a person or an animal) to go

    He set the wild hare free.
    他把野兔放走了。
    [tā bǎ yě tù fàng zǒu le]

  15. 跑 run [pǎo]

    Learn Chinese verb - run

    Dogs run slower than cats.
    狗比猫得慢。
    [gǒu bǐ māo pǎo dé màn]

    跑步 [pǎo bù] to run

    I run every day.
    我每天都跑步
    [wǒ měi tiān dū pǎo bù]

    慢跑 [màn pǎo] to jog, jogging (noun)

    Mother jogs every morning.
    妈妈每天早上慢跑
    [mā mā měi tiān zǎo shang màn pǎo]

    跑车 [pǎo chē] sports car

    This sports car is made in Germany.
    这款跑车是德国制造的。
    [zhè kuǎn pǎo chē shì dé guó zhì zào de]

    跑掉 [pǎo diào] to run away

    That horse ran away.
    那匹马呀,跑掉了。
    [nà pǐ mǎ ya, pǎo diào le]

    跑鞋 [pǎo xié] running shoes

    That horse ran away.
    姐姐买了一双跑鞋
    [jiě jiě mǎi le yī shuāng pǎo xié]

    奔跑 [bēn pǎo] to run

    He desperately ran after the bus.
    他拚命奔跑去追赶公共汽车。
    [tā pīn mìng bēn pǎo qù zhuī gǎn gōng gòng qì chē]

    赶跑 [gǎn páo] to drive away, to force out

    The farmer grabbed a big stick and drove the stray dog away.
    农夫拿着大棍子把流浪狗赶跑了。
    [nóng fū ná zhe dà gùn zi bǎ liú làng gǒu gǎn pǎo le]

    乱跑 [luàn pǎo] to run wildly all over the place

    The mice were running wild on the roof top.
    老鼠在屋顶上乱跑
    [lǎo shǔ zài wū dǐng shàng luàn pǎo]

    赛跑 [sài pǎo] a race, to race

    Despite the injury, she still took part in the race.
    尽管有伤, 她还是参加了赛跑
    [jǐn guǎn yǒu shāng, tā hái shì cān jiā le sài pǎo]

  16. 跳 jump [tiào]

    Learn Chinese verb - jump

    The children are jumping on the bed.
    孩子们在床上
    [hái zi men zài chuáng shàng tiào]

    跳槽 [tiào cáo] to change jobs, job-hopping

    He hopped from one company to another.
    他从一家公司跳槽到另一家公司。
    [tā cóng yī jiā gōng sī tiào cáo dào lìng yī jiā gōng sī]

    跳级 [tiào jí] to jump a year (at school)

    His parents hoped that he could skip to second grade.
    他的父母希望他能跳级到二年级。
    [tā de fù mǔ xī wàng tā néng tiào jí dào èr nián jí]

    跳楼 [tiào lóu] to jump from a building (to kill oneself)

    Initial police investigation suspected that the deceased man jumped off the building.
    警方初步调查,怀疑男死者跳楼自杀。
    [jǐng fāng chū bù diào chá, huái yí nán sǐ zhě tiào lóu zì shā]

    跳伞 [tiào sǎn] to parachute, parachute jumping

    Skydiving is an extreme sport.
    高空跳伞是一项冒险的运动。
    [gāo kōng tiào sǎn shì yī xiàng mào xiǎn de yùn dòng]

    跳绳 [tiào shéng] to jump rope, a jump/skipping rope

    Why are you bringing your skipping rope to school?
    为什么你带着跳绳去学校?
    [wèi shé me nǐ dài zhe tiào shéng qù xué xiào]

    跳舞 [tiào wǔ] to dance

    She knows how to sing and dance.
    她又会唱歌又会跳舞
    [tā yòu huì chàng gē yòu huì tiào wǔ]

    心跳 [xīn tiào] heartbeat, pulse

    His heart can't help but beat faster the moment he saw her.
    他一见到她,不由得心跳就加快。
    [tā yī jiàn dào tā, bù yóu dé xīn tiào jiù jiā kuài]

    吓一跳 [xià yī tiào] startled, scared out of one's skin

    I was startled when a big cockroach suddenly appeared in the room.
    房间里突然冒出一只大蟑螂,一跳
    [fáng jiān lǐ tú rán mào chū yī zhǐ dà zhāng láng, xiàyī tiào]

  17. 爬 climb, crawl [pá]

    The kitten crawled under the car.
    小猫到车底下去了。
    [xiǎo māo dào chē dǐ xia qù le]

  18. 梳 comb, brush [shū]

    Don't forget to comb your hair before going out.
    不要忘记临出门梳梳头
    [bù yào wàng jì lín chū mén shū shū tóu]

    梳子 [shū zi] a comb

    Can you not use my comb?
    你可以不要用我的梳子吗?
    [nǐ kě yǐ bù yào yòng wǒ de shū zi ma?]

    梳洗 [shū xǐ] to comb and wash / to groom

    Breakfast is ready. Come and eat once you have finished washing up.
    早餐已经做好了,等你梳洗完就出来吃吧。
    [zǎo cān yǐ jīng zuò hǎo le, děng nǐ shū xǐ wán jiù chū lái chī ba]

    梳妆台 [shū zhuāng tái] dressing table

    There must be a dressing table in my bedroom.
    我的卧室里必须放一个梳妆台
    [wǒ de wò shì lǐ bì xū fàng yī gè shū zhuāng tái]

  19. 洗 wash [xǐ]

    Learn Chinese verb - wash

    洗手 [xǐ shǒu] to wash hands

    It is unhygienic to not wash hands before eating.
    饭前不洗手,不卫生。
    [fàn qián bù xǐ shǒu, bù wèi shēng.]

    洗脑 [xǐ nǎo] to brainwash

    She is brainwashing you into thinking that it was your fault.
    她正在给你洗脑,让你认为是你的错。
    [tā zhèng zài gěi nǐ xǐ nǎo, ràng nǐ rèn wéi shì nǐ de cuò.]

    洗碗 [xǐ wǎn] to do the dishes

    Whose turn is it to do the dishes?
    Literal translation: Whose turn is it to scrub the pots and wash the dishes?
    轮到谁刷锅洗碗了?
    [lún dào shéi shuā guō xǐ wǎn le?]

    洗澡 [xǐ zǎo] to take a bath

    My grandmother always bathes in cold water.
    奶奶总是用冷水洗澡
    [nǎi nai zǒng shì yòng lěng shuǐ xǐ zǎo.]

    洗牌 [xǐ pái] to shuffle playing cards

    You should first shuffle the cards before dealing.
    你得先洗牌,然后再发牌。
    [nǐ děi xiān xǐ pái, rán hòu zài fā pái.]

    干洗 [gān xǐ] to dry clean

    If your clothes are not washable, then you will have to dry clean them.
    如果衣服不能用水洗,就得干洗
    [rú guǒ yī fú bù néng yòng shuǐ xǐ, jiù děi gān xǐ.]

    洗衣服 [xǐ yī fú] to wash clothes, to do the laundry

    The children are helping their mother do the laundry.
    孩子们正在帮他们的妈妈洗衣服
    [hái zi men zhèng zài bāng tā men de mā mā xǐ yī fú.]

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