Chinese Grammar - Use the Chinese character "mǎi" (Buy)

Updated: May 15, 2020

How to use the Chinese character "mǎi" (buy) in Mandarin

Learning Highlight

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

“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.


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:


yào mǎi píng guǒ 。

I want to buy apples.


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.

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