Mandarin Grammar

Use the Chinese character "mǎi" (buy)

Learning Objectives

  • Learn how to use the Chinese character "mǎi" (buy) to indicate an action or intention to buy something in Mandarin Chinese.

Learning Video

Additional Notes

"买. mǎi" is a verb, it means "to buy" or "to purchase"

The simple structure can be :

Subject + "买, mǎi" + object

For an example:

“我书, wǒ mǎi shū。" (I buy books.)

  • "我, wǒ" is a subject, means I.

  • "买, mǎi" means to buy.

  • "书, shū" are books.

So, combine them, "我买书, wǒ mǎi shū" means "I buy books".

Let see more examples:


wǒ men mǎi píng guǒ。

We buy apples.


bǐ dé mǎi diàn nǎo。

Peter buys computer.

Its negative form is "不买, bù mǎi"

  • "不, bù" means no or not.

  • "不买, bù mǎi" means "do not buy".

For examples:


bù mǎi shū。

I don’t buy books.


wǒ men bù mǎi píng guǒ。

We don’t buy apples.


bǐ dé bù mǎi diàn nǎo。

Peter doesn’t buy computer.

If you want to express "already bought", we use "买了, mǎi le",

  • "了, le" has the meaning of completion.

  • "买了, mǎi le" means you have already bought.

The simple structure can be:

Subject + “买了, mǎi le” + object.

For examples:


mǎi le píng guǒ。

I have bought apples.

买了衣服 。

mǎi le yī fu 。

I have bought clothes.

Its negative form is "没买, méi mǎi"

  • "买, méi" means "no" or "not".

  • "没买, méi mǎi" means "haven’t bought".

For examples:


méi mǎi píng guǒ。

I haven’t bought apples.


méi mǎi yī fu。 

I haven’t bought clothes.

Next, if you want to express "an intention to buy" in Mandarin. 

We use "要买, yào mǎi"

"要, yào " has the meaning of "an intention to do".

"要买, yào mǎi" meaning is "intend to buy".

For examples:

要买苹果 。

yào mǎi píng guǒ 。

I want to buy apples.

要买书 。

yào mǎi shū。

I want to buy books.

Its negative form is "不要买, bú yào mǎi".

For examples:


bú yào mǎi píng guǒ

I don’t want to buy apples.


wǒ bú yào mǎi shū

I don’t want to buy books.