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What’s Your Love Status? (Ⅲ)

Apr. 24, 2014

In China, love and marriage are among the hottest topics because for Chinese people, marriage is one of the most important events in one’s life. Most people will go through different stages of love in their life time. What is your love status now? Do you know how to say “ex” in Chinese? In today’s Chinese lesson, we are going to talk about love and marriage-related words in Chinese. 

According to marriage status, we can divide people into two groups. Those who have not gotten married are in the status of “婚前(hūnqián),” which means “before marriage.” Conversely, “婚后(hūn hòu)” which means “after marriage.”



恋爱(liànài), in a relationship,” “分手(fēnshǒu), breakup” and “订婚(dìnɡhūn), engagement ” are the three common pre-marriage love statuses.

If you establish a romantic relationship with somebody, then you can say he/she is your “男友/女友(nányǒu/nǚyǒu), boyfriend/girlfriend,” which is short for “男朋友/女朋友(nánpéngyou/nǚpéngyou), boyfriend/girlfriend.”


Amanda: Nǐ zàihé Linda tán liàn'ài?
Amanda: 你 在和 Linda 谈 恋爱


Amanda: You are in a relationship with Linda now?

Bob: Duì a, tā xiànzài shì wǒ nǚyǒu.
Bob:对 啊,她 现在 是   我  女友


Bob: Yes, she is my girlfriend now.

In the above example, if Bob broke up with Linda, Linda will be Bob’s “前女友(qiánnǚyǒu)” or “前任(qiánrèn),” which is short for “前任女友(qiánrènnǚyǒu).”

After the breakup, Bob met Mary and established another romantic relationship with her. Mary, a lovely girl, now has become Bob’s “现任(xiànrèn),” which is short for “现任女友(xiànrènnǚyǒu).”

前任(qiánrèn)” originally means “a person who did a job before someone else” and “现任(xiànrèn)” means “someone who is doing a job now that had been done by somebody else.” Both were previously used to refer to political position. “任(rèn)” in these two words means “assume a post” or “take up a job.” Now, these two words are extended in meaning and are used to show the relationship status of lovers.


Nǐ zhīdào Anne Hathaway de qiánnányǒu shì shéi ma?
你 知道    Anne Hathaway 的 前男友          是  谁    吗?


Do you know who Anne Hathaway’s ex-boyfriend is?

If a couple is engaged to each other but have not gotten married yet, how should they refer to each other? In such a case, the woman is the man’s “未婚妻(wèihūnqī)   fiancee,” and the man is the woman’s “未婚夫(wèihūnfū) fiancé."


Nǐde wèihūnqī zhēn piàoliang!
你的 未婚妻     真    漂亮!


Your fiancee is really beautiful!



There are normally three possible marriage statuses after one gets married: “结婚(jiéhūn), married,” “离婚(líhūn), divorced” and “再婚(zàihūn), re-married.”

For people who have gotten married, there are many ways to call husband and wife, among which “丈夫/妻子(zhàngfu/qīzi),” “爱人(àiren),” and “老公/老婆(lǎogōng/lǎopó)” are the most common. The first two are relatively formal, and are commonly used when people want to introduce their spouse to others. The last one is relatively casual.


Tā shì wǒ àiren.
他  是  我  爱人


He is my husband.

Tā shì wǒ àiren.
她  是  我  爱人


She is my Wife.

qīzi: Lǎogōng, wǒ ài nǐ!
妻子:老公,  我 爱 你!


Wife: I love you, my darling!

zhàngfu: Lǎopó, wǒ yěài nǐ!
丈夫:     老婆, 我 也爱 你!


Husband: I love you too, my dear!

When a couple gets divorced, we call this marriage status “离婚(líhūn) divorce,” and the couple has become each other’s “前妻/前夫(qiánqī/qiánfū), ex-wife/ex-husband.”


A: Nǐ hé qiánqī wèishénme líhūn?
A:你 和 前妻  为什么        离婚 ?


A: Why did you divorce your ex-wife?

B: Yīnwèi xìnggé bú shìhé.
B:因为    性格   不 适合。


B: Because our personalities clashed.

Nowadays, more and more people start over to find their happiness after their divorce, and it even takes several marriages for some of them before they finally find the right one. For those people, their current wife/husband is their “第X任妻子/丈夫 (dì X rèn qīzi/zhàngfu).” “任(rèn)” in this term has the same meaning in “前任(qiánrèn)” and “现任(xiànrèn),” and “X” depends on how many times people have been married.


Angelina Jolie shì Brad Pitt de dì èr rèn qīzi.
Angelina Jolie 是  Brad Pitt 的  第二 任  妻子


Angelina Jolie is Brad Pitt’s second wife.


1. Wang Lin broke up with Zhang Lei last month, so now Zhang Lei is Wang Lin’s___.

A. 现男友(xiàn nányǒu)

B. 男友(nányǒu)

C. 前男友(qián nányǒu)

2. Linda got engaged with Mike. So Mike is Linda’s ___.

A. 男朋友(nánpéngyou)

B. 未婚夫(wèihūnfū)

C. 前任(qiánrèn)

See Answer


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