Intro(Chinese Gerunds?)

Gerunds are very commonly used in English and other languages. We also have some similar usages in Chinese, but we don’t call them gerunds. Let’s take a look.

A swimming girl

一个正在游泳的女孩。

Yīgè zhèngzài yóuyǒng de nǚhái.

A swimming pool

一个正在游泳的池子?

Yīgè zhèngzài yóuyǒng de chízi?

No, it should be:

一个游泳池。

Yīgè yóuyǒngchí.

Here“正在zhèngzài ” need to be dropped, because the pool can’t swim!

正在/在+verb(呢)

正在/在+Verb means someone is in the middle of an action.=Be+V-ing(estar+V-ando)

Examples:

(1) 你在干嘛呢?我在学汉语。

Nǐ zài gàn má ne? Wǒ zàixué hànyǔ

-What are you doing? I’m learning chinese

(2)她正在做饭.

Tā zhèngzài zuò fàn.

-She is cooking.

(3)天气正在变冷.

Tiānqì zhèngzài biàn lěng.

-The weather is getting cold.

(4)爸爸在看报纸呢。

Bàba zài kàn bàozhǐ ne.

-Dad is reading the newspaper.

Note: The usages above正在=在。But the word “在zài” can be preceded by “一直Yīzhí”,“仍然réngrán”,“老lǎo”,“总zǒng”,“始终shǐzhōng”,“经常jīngcháng” etc. to indicate a repeated or long-term continuous state.

The word “正在zhènɡ zài ” cannot be used in conjunction with words that indicate frequency.

E.g:

He’s been busy working lately.

✅他最近一直忙工作。

Tā zuìjìn yīzhí zài máng gōngzuò.

❎他最近一直正在忙工作。

Tā zuìjìn yīzhí zhèngzài máng gōngzuò.

Basic Usages: 1.Verb+着

A.Indicate the continuation of a certain state.

Examples:

(1)我身上穿着红色的衣服。

Wǒ shēnshang chuānzhe hóngsè de yīfú.

-I’m wearing a red cloth.

(2)门开着.

Mén kāi zhene!

-The door is opening.

The negative form is:没V着

Examples:

(1)我没穿着红色的衣服。

Wǒ méi chuānzhuó hóngsè de yīfú.

-I am not wearing red clothes.

(2)门没开着。

Mén méi kāizhe.

-The door is not opening.

Basic Usages: 2.正/正在/在+V着呢

Emphasis a continuous action

(1)我正吃着饭呢!别给我看恶心的视频!

Wǒ zhèng chīzhe fàn ne! Bié gěi wǒ kàn ěxīn de shìpín!

-I’m eating! Don’t show me disgusting videos!

In daily life, we sometimes dropped “正”. You also can say “我吃着饭呢! Wǒ zhèng chīzhe fàn ne! ……”

(2)外面正下着雨呢!我们最好不要出去。

Wàimiàn zhèng xiàzhe yǔ ne!Wǒmen zuì hǎo bùyào chūqù.

=外面下着雨呢!我们最好不要出去。

Wàimiàn xiàzhe yǔ ne!Wǒmen zuì hǎo bùyào chūqù.

-It’s raining outside! We’d better not go out.

Location Word+V着+ Object(HSK3)

The expression of Existence: Means there is something somewhere(there be)

Examples:

(1)我家楼上住着一个音乐家=我家楼上有一个音乐家。

Wǒjiā lóu shàng zhùzhe yīgè yīnyuè jiā =wǒjiā lóu shàng yǒu yīgè yīnyuè jiā.

-There is a musician living upstairs in my house.

(2)桌子上放着很多水果。

Zhuōzi shàng fàngzhe hěnduō shuǐguǒ.

-There are a lot of fruits on the table.

(3)我的阳台上晾着几件衣服。

Wǒ de yángtái shàng liàngzhe jǐ jiàn yīfú.

–There are some clothes hanging on my balcony.

(4)标签上写着一百元。

Biāoqiān shàng xiězhe yībǎi yuán.

-One hundred yuan is written on the label.

Note: The object can’t be an indefinite word, such as“这本书zhè běn shū”,“李老师lǐ lǎoshī” etc.

Examples: Teacher Li lives upstairs in my house.

❎我家楼上住着李老师Wǒjiā lóu shàng zhùzhe lǐ lǎoshī.

✅李老师住在我家楼上Lǐ lǎoshī zhù zài wǒjiā lóu shàng.

Or

✅我家楼上住着一个老师。

Wǒjiā lóu shàng zhùzhe yīgè lǎoshī.

-There is a teacher living above my house.

The negative form of the structure is “Location word+没v着+Object”, without a measure word.

Examples:

(1)-There is no teacher living upstairs in my house.

✅ 我家楼上没住着老师Wǒjiā lóu shàng méi zhùzhe lǎoshī.

❎ 我家楼上没住着一个老师Wǒjiā lóu shàng méi zhùzhe yīgè lǎoshī.

(2)-The label did not say how much money.

✅ 标签上没写着多少钱Biāoqiān shàng méi xiězhe duōshǎo qián.

❎ 标签上没写着一百元Biāoqiān shàng méi xiězhe yībǎi yuán.

V1着V2 (Descriptive-HSK3)

Indicates two actions taking place at the same time, V1 being the accompanying state or manner of V2.(V2 is the main action)

Examples:

(1)他们站着聊天儿。

Tāmen zhànzhe liáotiānr.

-They are talking while standing(rather than sitting)

(2)她笑着对我说:谢谢!

Tā xiàozhe duì wǒ shuō: Xièxiè!

-She was smiling at me and said “Thank you!”.

(3)哥哥听着音乐写作业。

Gēgē tīngzhe yīnyuè xiě zuòyè

-The elder brother is listening to music and writing homework.

V1着V2着(Descriptive-formal)

This usage is only for writing. Describing two actions continues at the same time.

小朋友们唱着歌,跳着舞,开心极了!

Xiǎopéngyǒumen chàngzhe gē, tiàozhe wǔ, kāixīn jíle!

-The children are singing and dancing, so happy!

V1着V1着就V2了(HSK4)

In this structure, V1 usually is a monosyllabic word, is often followed by another verb, indicating another action occurs when the one mentioned is continuing.

Examples:

(1)不知道为什么,她说着说着就哭了!

Bù zhīdào wèishéme, Tā shuōzhe shuōzhe jiù kūle!

-I don’t know why, she was talking and then (suddenly) started crying!

(2)我晚上喜欢听歌睡觉,有时候听着听着就睡着了。

Wǒ wǎnshàng xǐhuān tīng gē shuìjiào, yǒu shíhòu tīngzhe tīngzhe jiù shuìzháo le.

-I like to listen to music to sleep at night, and sometimes I fall asleep while listening to it.

正在/在 VS 着

正在/在+Active verb——V(stative verb)+

Examples:

穿Chuān(wear)-Action

我正在穿衣服。

Wǒ zhèngzài chuān yīfú.

-I am getting dressed.

穿着Chuānzhe(wearing)-State

我身上穿着红色的衣服。

Wǒ shēnshang chuānzhuó hóngsè de yīfú.

-I’m wearing a red cloth.

开门Kāimén(open a door)-action

我正在开门。

Wǒ zhèngzài kāimén.

-I’m opening the door.

开着Kāizhe(opening)-state

门开着呢!

Mén kāi zhene!

-The door is opening.

站起来Zhàn qǐlái(stand up)-Action

我正在站起来.

Wǒ zhèngzài zhàn qǐlái.

-I am standing up.

站着Zhànzhe(standing)-State

我现在站着呢!

Wǒ xiànzài zài zhànzhe ne!

-I am standing now!

坐下来Zuò xiàlái(sit down)-Action

我正在坐下来

Wǒ zhèngzài zuò xiàlái

–I’m sitting down

坐着Zuòzhe(sitting)- State

现在我正坐着呢!

Xiànzài wǒ zhèng zuò zhene!

–I’m sitting now!

State VS Action

你站着干嘛?坐下来啊!

Nǐ zhànzhe gàn má? Zuò xiàlái a!

-Why are you standing? Sit down!

Conclusion

“正在” is used with an active verb, indicate an action. “着“is used with a stative verb, indicate a state is continuing.

Here is a little test for you! How do you say this sentence in Chinese?

I like standing,I don’t like sitting.

Did I Miss Anything?

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