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Answer to the difference between “也(yě)” and “还(hái)”

May. 29, 2014

Correct Answer: B

In Chinese, both “还(hái)” and “也()” can be used as adverbs in the latter part of a compound sentence to indicate “also.” However, they do not have the exact same meaning, nor are they interchangeable. Today we are going to learn the difference between these two words and focus on how to use them correctly.

The two parts of a compound sentence linked by “也()” can share the same subject or have two different subjects. Furthermore, “也()” stresses neither the first nor the second part of a compound sentence.

If “也()” links a compound sentence with the same subject, the two parts use the same predicate. When used in this way, a compound sentence is the same as a simple sentence with “和() and.”


    Lisa xǐhuan chànggē, xǐhuan tiàowǔ.
1. Lisa 喜欢     唱歌,    喜欢     跳舞。

    Lisa likes singing and she also likes dancing.

   Lisa xǐhuan chànggē hé tiàowǔ.
= Lisa 喜欢     唱歌       和  跳舞。

   Lisa likes singing and dancing.

   Wǒ huì shuō yīngyǔ, huì shuō hànyǔ.
2. 我 会    说     英语, 会  说     汉语。

   I can speak English and I can also speak Chinese.

   Wǒ huì shuō yīngyǔ hé hànyǔ.
= 我   会   说    英语     和 汉语。

   I can speak English and Chinese.

If one person falls into the same situation as another person then we use “也().” In these types of sentences, both parts of the sentence have their own subjects.


   Wǒ xǐhuan chī píngguǒ, tā xǐhuan chī píngguǒ.
1. 我    喜欢    吃   苹果,  他  喜欢    吃  苹果。

    I like eating apples and he also likes eating apples.

    Jim: Betty,  nǐ zuìjìn zěnmeyàng?
2. JimBetty,你 最近 怎么样?

    Jim: Betty, how have you been recently?

   Betty: Wǒ zuìjìn hěn hǎo. Nǐ ne?
   Betty:我   最近   很   好。你 呢?

   Betty: I am fine these days. What about you?

   Jim: hěn hǎo.
   Jim:我  很    好。

   Jim: I am fine, too.

However, sentences with “还(hái)” give additional information which stresses the action of the latter part of the sentence. Also, the two parts of the sentence always share the same subject. We can translate “还(hái)” into “not only… but also.” Because of this, the sentence cannot be short and simple, a compound sentence is required.


Lisa xǐhuan chàng’gē, hái xǐ huan tiàowǔ.
Lisa  喜欢     唱歌,     喜欢      跳舞。

Lisa not only likes singing, but she also likes dancing.

Wǒ huì shuō yīngyǔ, hái huì shuō hànyǔ.
我   会   说     英语, 会  说     汉语。

I not only can speak English, but I also can speak Chinese.

Translation of the dialogue

Zhāng Míng: Nǐ hǎo, wǒ yào yí kuài dàngāo, háiyào yì bēi kāfēi.
张        明:   你 好,我  要   一 块    蛋糕,  还要    一 杯 咖啡。

Zhang Ming: Hello, I want a piece of cake and a cup of coffee.

Lǐ Xīn: Wǒ yě yào yí kuài dànɡāo. Xiè xie.
李 欣:   我  也 要   一 块    蛋糕。   谢  谢。

Li Xin: I also want a piece of cake. Thanks.

In our test, because Zhang Ming ordered a piece of cake and he added a cup of coffee to his order, we can only use “还(hái).” Li Xin makes the same choice as Zhang Ming, so we can only use “也().” Therefore, the correct answer is B.

<<Back to “Chinese Test: The difference between ‘也(yě)’ and ‘还(hái)’”

General Chinese (Beginner Level) 

General Chinese (Intermediate Level) 

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