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The Difference Between “还是(háishì)” and “或者(huòzhě)” in Chinese

Mar. 13, 2014

Correct Answer: A

In the Chinese language, both “还是(háishì)” and “或者(huòzhě)” can be used to connect two words or phrases that represent different alternatives or choices. Both words can be translated in to “or” in English.

However, “还是(háishì)” is usually used in questions to present a choice. It is similar to asking “which one?” 

Examples

Nǐ yào niúnǎi háishì chá?
你 要   牛奶    还是 茶?

Would you like milk or tea?

Nǐ xǐhuan diànyǐng háishì yīnyuè?
你 喜欢    电影        还是 音乐?

Do you like films or music?

“或者(huòzhě)” is usually used in declarative sentences to express “or.”

Examples

Example1:

Jack: Nǐ  xiǎng chī shénme?
Jack:你 想     吃  什么?

Jack: What do you want to eat?

Wáng Míng: Mǐfàn huòzhě miàntiáo.
王       明:   米饭   或者 面条。

Wang Ming: Rice or noodles.

Example2:

Lily: Jīnnián xiàtiān, nǐ xiǎng qù nǎr?
Lily: 今 年   夏 天, 你  想    去 哪儿?

Lily: Where do you want to go this summer?

Linda: Běijīng huòzhě Xī’ān.
Linda: 北京     或者 西安。

Linda: Beijing or Xi’an.

Now let’s look back at our test. The test contains a question that asks someone to make a choice between Leonardo DiCaprio and Matthew McConaughey. “还是(háishì)” is usually used in question sentences and “或者(huòzhě)” is usually used in declarative sentences. So the answer is A.

<<Back to “How to Make Alternative Choice Questions in Chinese?”

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