The Differences Between “我们” And “咱们”


Dane:Nǐde xīn xuéxiào hǎo ma?
Dane:How’s your new school?

Amy:Hěnhǎo. Wǒmen de xuéxiào hěndà.
Amy:Great!  Our school is huge.


This test is to check your knowledge about the difference between 咱们 (zánmen) and 我们 (wǒmen).

“我 (wǒ),” is the same as the English word “I” or “me.”

For example,

“我是学生 (Wǒ shì xuésheng. I’m a student.).”

“们 (men)” is a suffix and makes a word plural.

So 我们 (wǒmen)” means “we,” or “us.”

“我们的 (wǒmen de)” means “our.”

“咱们 (zánmen)” also means “we,” or “us,” and “咱们的 (zánmen de)” means “our” as well.

The word “的 (de)” behind “我们” and “咱们” is an auxiliary word that makes “我们” and “咱们” possessive nouns.

Now let’s look at the differences between “我们 (wǒmen)” and “咱们 (zánmen).”

1. When the listener is included.

“咱们 (zánmen)” is inclusive, which means that if you use “咱们 (zánmen),” you are including the listener.

“我们 (wǒmen),” on the other hand, has the option of being inclusive or not.

When “我们 (wǒmen)” is inclusive, it is interchangeable with “咱们 (zánmen).”

For Example, if A wants to invite B to see a movie, A can say:

Wǒmen qù kàn diànyǐng ba!


Zánmen qù kàn diànyǐng ba!

Both of the two sentences mean “Let’s go see a movie!”


2. When the listener is excluded.

When the subject talked about only has a connection with the speaker, only 我们 (wǒmen) can be used for this situation.

For example in the above conversation, the school talked about is the one Amy attends, not Dane.

Amy says “我们的学校很大 (Wǒmen de xuéxiào hěndà. Our school is very big.)” She can’t use “咱们 (zánmen)” to replace “我们 (wǒmen).”

If Amy and Dane went to the same school, and were talking about their beautiful school, she could say “咱们的学校很漂亮。(Zánmen de xuéxiào hěn piàoliang. Our school is beautiful.)” or “我们的学校很漂亮 。(Wǒmen de xuéxiào hěn piàoliang. Our school is beautiful.).”

Do you understand the usages now? Let’s do an exercise to drill your understanding.


___ de gōngsī yǒu shíge rén, nǐmen de gōngsī ne?
___ 的公司有十个人,你们的公司呢?

Our company has ten people. What about yours?

Which should be used to fill in the above blank?

A. 我们 (Wǒmen)

B. 咱们 (Zánmen)

The correct answer is A. because the speaker and the listener do not work for the same company.

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5 thoughts on “The Differences Between “我们” And “咱们””

  1. Thank you incredibly substantially for your exciting text. I have been looking for these types of message to get a definitely very long time. Thank you.

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