Chinese Grammar - Use of "要 yào"

Updated: Jun 7


Use of "要 yào"

Learning Highlight


Learn to use "要 yào" to express something you want, a desire or wish you have.

















In English, the word "yào" means to want or to have a desire or a wish for something.


"要 yāo" can follow with a verb or noun. 
 
(1) When "要 yāo" follows with a verb, it is used to indicate a strong desire to do something.
 
(2) When "要 yāo" follows with a noun, it is used to indicate a strong desire to want something.
 

For examples,


(1) when "要 yāo" follows with a verb,

要买这条裙子。

yāo mǎi zhè tiáo qún zi

I want to buy this dress.


(2) when "要 yāo" follows with a noun,

要这条裙子

yào zhè tiáo qúnzi

I want this dress.


(1) The first structure: Subject + "要 yāo" + verb 

It is used to indicate a strong desire to do something and an action is likely to be taken in order to fulfill the desire.

Like the example we just cited, "I want to buy this dress.", the lady is very interested in the dress, so she wants to buy the dress and she is about to take such an action to buy it.

Let’s see more examples,

我很累, 我去睡觉。 I'm tired, I want go to sleep.

我病了, 我去看医生。I am sick, I want to see doctor.

我饿了, 我吃蛋糕 I am hungry, I want to eat cakes.


(2) The second structure: Subject + "要 yāo" + noun

This structure is often used in our daily life such as meal ordering and shopping. It is used to indicate a strong desire to want something.

It can explicitly indicate something that is in need. Like the example we just cited,

"I want this dress.", the lady explicitly told the sales, “I want this dress”.

Let’s see more examples:

牛肉面。 I want braised beef noodles.

这个包包I want this handbag.

两张火车票 I want two train tickets.

Next, let’s learn the negative form of "要 yāo", which is "不想 bù xiǎng".

The word "xiǎng" means "want to" or "would like to".

"不 bù" is an adverb, means "not" or "no".

So, "不想 bù xiǎng" means "don’t want".

For examples.

买这条裙子 I want to buy this dress.


However, to change this sentence to negative form, you can say

不想买这条裙子。

I don't want to buy this dress.

Let's see more examples to express the negative form of "要 yāo" using "不想 bù xiǎng",

去睡觉。 I want go to sleep.

不想去睡觉 I don’t want go to sleep.


去看医生 I want to see doctor.

不想去看医生 I don’t want to see doctor.


吃蛋糕 I want to eat cakes.

不想吃蛋糕 I don’t want to eat cakes.


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