When to use hé (和)

The Chinese word “hé(和)” is another basic, but important word which is often misused by Chinese learners. Although its equivalent meaning in English is indeed “and”, when it comes to the usage of this word, we need to get rid of our “English way of thinking”.

In English, the word “and” can connect nouns, adjectives, phrases and sentences. For example, “I like apples and bananas. (noun + and + noun)”; “I am happy and excited. (adjective + and + adjective)”; “I am interested in reading novels and playing chess. (phrase + and + phrase)”; “I am Mike and this is my friend Tom. (sentence + and + sentence)”.

when to use and apple and banana

However, in the Chinese language, the word “hé(和)” can only connect two nouns or two phrases. The structure for “adjective + and + adjective” in Chinese is “yòu(又) + adjective + yòu(又) + adjective”, whereas for “sentence + and + sentence”, you just need to put a comma to separate them. Here are some examples to indicate the usage of “hé(和)”:


English Chinese (Pinyin) Chinese (Character)
I like apples and bananas. wǒ  xǐhuān  píng guǒ  hé  xiāng jiāo。 我喜欢苹果和香蕉。
I am happy and excited. wǒ  yòu  gāo xìng  yòu  jī dòng。 我又高兴又激动。
I am interested in reading novels and playing chess. wǒ  duì  dú  xiǎo shuō  hé  xià qí  gǎn  xìng qù。 我对读小说和下棋感兴趣。
I am Mike and this is my friend Tom. wǒ  shì  Mike , zhè  shì  wǒ  de  péng yǒu  Tom. 我是Mike, 这是我的朋友Tom.

There you go! Put this into practice and you’re one step closer to mastering the Chinese language.


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