Mandarin Grammar

Use of " 离 lí "

Learning Objectives


  • Learn to use " 离 lí " to indicate the distance from a place, a point in time or a purpose.

Learning Video

Additional Notes

In English, the word " 离 lí " means "to be away from".  It is used to indicate the distance from a place, a point in time or a purpose.


The grammar structure of using " 离 lí " is:

A [ 离 lí ] B + Adjective or Numerical phrase


The structure is used to indicate the distance between A and B and their distance is specified with Adjective or Numerical phrase.


First, let us see how to use the pattern of

A [ 离 lí ] B + Adjective


For an example.


我的家学校很近

wǒ jiā xué xiào hěn jìn

My home is very close to the school.


In this example,

  • A is my home (我家 wǒ jiā)

  • B is the school (学校 xué xiào)

  • "离 lí " indicates the distance between A and B

  • The adjective is very close (很近 hěn jìn)


Next, let us see how to use the pattern of

A [离 lí ] B + Numerical phrase


For an example,

我的家学校1公里

wǒ jiā xué xiào yì gōng lǐ

My home is 1 kilometer from the school.


In this example,

  • A is my home  (我家 wǒ jiā)

  • B is the school (学校 xué xiào)

  • " 离 lí " indicates the distance between A and B

  • The numerical phrase is 1 kilometer (1公里 yì gōng lǐ)


Having learned the grammatical patterns of using " 离 lí ", we continue to provide some examples on using it to indicate the distance from a place, a point in time or a purpose.


First, we use " 离 lí " to indicate the distance between two places.


For an example,

酒店机场很远

jiǔ diàn jī chǎng hěn yuǎn

The hotel is far from the airport.


In this example,

  • The first place is the hotel (酒店 jiǔ diàn)

  • The second place is the airport (机场 jī chǎng)

  • Their distance is far away (很远 hěn yuǎn)


Second, we use " 离 lí " to indicate the distance between two points of time.


For an example,

第一班车第二班车不到五分钟

dì yī bān chēdì èr bān chē bú dào wǔ fēn zhōng

The first bus is less than five minutes from the second bus.


In this example,

  • The first point of time is the first bus (第一班车 dì yī bān chē)

  • The second point of time is the second bus (第二班车 dì yī bān chē)

  • Their time distance is less than 5 minutes (不到五分钟 bú dào wǔ fēn zhōng)


Lastly, we use " 离 lí " to indicate the distance from a purpose.


For an example,

现在终点还有六十米

xiàn zàizhōng diǎn hái yǒu liù shí mǐ

There are still sixty meters from the end.


In this example, it shows the runners will have 60 meters before reaching the goal.



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