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
- 吃 eat [chī]
- 喝 drink [hē]
- 咬 bite [yǎo]
- 坐 sit [zuò]
- 站 stand [zhàn]
- 看 see, look, watch [kàn]
- 听 hear, listen [tīng]
- 讲 speak, talk [jiǎng]
- 问 ask [wèn]
- 叫 shout, call [jiào]
- 读 read [dú]
- 写 write [xiě]
- 拿 take [ná]
- 走 go, walk [zǒu]
- 跑 run [pǎo]
- 跳 jump [tiào]
- 爬 climb, crawl [pá]
- 梳 comb, brush [shū]
- 洗 wash [xǐ]
Learn to Write Chinese Verbs
How to use Chinese Verbs in a sentence
吃 [chī] eat
I want to eat ice cream.
[wǒ xiǎng chī bīng qí lín]
吃饭 [chī fàn] to have a meal
"Let's have a meal together."
[yī qǐ chī fàn ba]
吃醋 [chī cù] to be jealous
Women in love are more likely to be jealous.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[nǐ zuò de cài zhēn hào chī]
难吃 [nán chī] digusting, taste terrible
This chocolate cake tastes extremely terrible.
[zhè qiǎo kè lì dàn gāo nán chī jí le.]
小吃 [xiǎo chī] snacks, refreshments
We only had some snacks for lunch.
[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.
[nà gè tān chī de xiǎo nán hái bǎ zhuō shàng suǒ yǒu de táng guǒ dōu chī guāng le]
喝 drink [hē]
My little sister likes to drink apple juice.
[mèi mei xǐ huān hē píng guǒ zhī]
喝光 [hē guāng] to finish (a drink)
My little brother finished a bottle of soda.
[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.
[zuó wǎn wǒ men qù jiǔ bā hē jiǔ]
喝醉 [hē zuì] to get drunk
He was really drunk last night.
[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
[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.
[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.
[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.
[chéng wài zhuàn lái le shì bīng de hū hè shēng]
咬 bite [yǎo]
Do not play with that dog, it will bite you.
[bù yào hé nà zhǐ gǒu wán, tā huì yǎo nǐ de]
坐 sit [zuò]
It is so comfortable sitting on this sofa.
[zuò zài zhè shā fā shàng zhēn shū fú]
站 stand [zhàn]
He was standing next to me.
[tā jiù zhàn zài wǒ de páng biān]
看 see, look, watch [kàn]
I want to see him again before I leave.
[zài wǒ zǒu zhī qián wǒ xiǎng zài kàn tā yī cì]
What are you looking at?
[nǐ zài kàn shén me]
I watch TV after I get home from work.
[xià bān huí jiā hòu wǒ jiù kàn diàn shì]
听 hear, listen [tīng]
Do not listen to him.
[qiān wàn bù yào tīng tā de]
讲 speak, talk [jiǎng]
Do you speak French?
[nǐ huì jiǎng fǎ yǔ ma]
问 ask [wèn]
Don't ask how much I earn in a month.
[bié wèn wǒ yī gè yuè zhuàn duō shǎo qián]
叫 shout, call [jiào]
Excuse me, what is your name?
[qǐng wèn nǐ jiào shén me míng zì]
I will call for you when he comes in.
[tā jìn lái hòu, wǒ huì jiào nǐ yī shēng]
读 read [dú]
Can you read it again?
[nǐ néng zài dú yī cì ma]
读书 [dú shū] to read a book / to study
He likes reading books since he was a child.
[tā cóng xiǎo jiù xǐ huān dú shū]
They are quietly studying in the classroom.
[tā men zhèng zài jiào shì lǐ ān jìng de dú shū]
读音 [dú yīn] pronunciation
This word has a few different pronunciations.
[zhè ge zì yǒu jǐ gè bù tóng de dú yīn]
读者 [dú zhě] reader
His work was praised by readers.
[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
[tā yòng dī chén de shēng yīn lǎng dú shī.]
就读 [jiù dú] to study (in an institute)
My sister studies university overseas.
[jiě jiě zài guó wài dà xué jiù dú]
写 write [xiě]
This letter was written in Chinese
[zhè fēng xìn shì yòng zhōng wén xiě de]
拿 take [ná]
I took an egg from the fridge.
[wǒ cóng bīng xiāng lǐ ná le yī gè jī dàn]
拿出 [ná chū] to take out
She pulled out a drawer and took out a pair of socks.
[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.
[qǐng bǎ wǒ de dà yī ná lái]
拿去 [ná qù] to take (away)
You can take the key.
[nǐ kě yǐ bǎ yào shi ná qù]
拿走 [ná zǒu] to take away, to remove
Remove that book from the table.
[bǎ zhuō zi shàng dì nà běn shū ná zǒu]
拿手 [ná shǒu] expert in, good at
I'm good at painting.
[huà huà shì wǒ zuì ná shǒu de xiàng mù]
走 go, walk [zǒu]
When are you leaving?
[nǐ shén me shí hòu zǒu]
走廊 [zǒu láng] corridor, hallway
The toilet is at the end of the corridor.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[tā cóng wǒ shēn biān zǒu guò]
抢走 [qiǎng zǒu] to snatch
Someone snatched his money.
[tā de qián bèi rén qiǎng zǒu le]
拿走 [ná zǒu] to take away
Take the book off the table.
[bǎ zhuō zi shàng de shū ná zǒu]
逃走 [táo zǒu] escape, flee
I escaped when he was busy.
[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.
[tā bǎ yě tù fàng zǒu le]
跑 run [pǎo]
Dogs run slower than cats.
[gǒu bǐ māo pǎo dé màn]
跑步 [pǎo bù] to run
I run every day.
[wǒ měi tiān dū pǎo bù]
慢跑 [màn pǎo] to jog, jogging (noun)
Mother jogs every morning.
[mā mā měi tiān zǎo shang màn pǎo]
跑车 [pǎo chē] sports car
This sports car is made in Germany.
[zhè kuǎn pǎo chē shì dé guó zhì zào de]
跑掉 [pǎo diào] to run away
That horse ran away.
[nà pǐ mǎ ya, pǎo diào le]
跑鞋 [pǎo xié] running shoes
That horse ran away.
[jiě jiě mǎi le yī shuāng pǎo xié]
奔跑 [bēn pǎo] to run
He desperately ran after the bus.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[jǐn guǎn yǒu shāng, tā hái shì cān jiā le sài pǎo]
跳 jump [tiào]
The children are jumping on the bed.
[hái zi men zài chuáng shàng tiào]
跳槽 [tiào cáo] to change jobs, job-hopping
He hopped from one company to another.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[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?
[wèi shé me nǐ dài zhe tiào shéng qù xué xiào]
跳舞 [tiào wǔ] to dance
She knows how to sing and dance.
[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.
[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.
[fáng jiān lǐ tú rán mào chū yī zhǐ dà zhāng láng, xià wǒ yī tiào]
爬 climb, crawl [pá]
The kitten crawled under the car.
[xiǎo māo pá dào chē dǐ xia qù le]
梳 comb, brush [shū]
Don't forget to comb your hair before going out.
[bù yào wàng jì lín chū mén shū shū tóu]
梳子 [shū zi] a comb
Can you not use my comb?
[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.
[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.
[wǒ de wò shì lǐ bì xū fàng yī gè shū zhuāng tái]
洗 wash [xǐ]
洗手 [xǐ shǒu] to wash hands
It is unhygienic to not wash hands before eating.
[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.
[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?
[lún dào shéi shuā guō xǐ wǎn le?]
洗澡 [xǐ zǎo] to take a bath
My grandmother always bathes in cold water.
[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.
[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.
[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.
[hái zi men zhèng zài bāng tā men de mā mā xǐ yī fú.]