Some English words have several possible Mandarin Chinese translations. Knowing when to use the correct word is one of the main challenges for both beginner-level Mandarin students and professional translators alike.
For example, the English word for "can" has at least three possible Mandarin translations: 能 (néng), 可以 (kě yǐ), and 会 (huì). Another English word with multiple translations is “and.” You may think that there can be no possible variations for "and," but there are many different meanings for this word. It depends on the subtle nuances of the speaker or writer's meaning or the context in which this conjunction is used.
In sentences that combine nouns or noun phrases, there are three ways to say "and." All three of these connectors are interchangeable and commonly used. They are:
- Hé : 和
- Hàn : 和
- Gēn : 跟
Note that hé and hàn use the same character. The hàn pronunciation is most commonly heard in Taiwan. The example sentences are given first in English, followed by a transliteration in Chinese called pinyin, a Romanization system used to help beginners learn Mandarin.
Pinyan transcribes the sounds of Mandarin using the Roman alphabet. Pinyin is most commonly used in Mainland China for teaching school children to read and it is also widely used in teaching materials designed for Westerners who wish to learn Mandarin. The sentences are then listed in Chinese characters in traditional and simplified forms where appropriate.
He and I are colleagues.
Wǒ hàn tā shì tóngshì.我和他是同事｡
Both pineapple and mango are good to eat.
Fènglí hé mángguǒ dōu hěn hǎo chī.(traditional form) 鳳梨和芒果都很好吃｡
(simplified form) 凤梨和芒果都很好吃｡
She and mom went for a walk.
Tā gēn māma qù guàng jiē.她跟媽媽去逛街｡
This pair of shoes and that pair of shoes are the same price.
Zhè shuāng xié gēn nà shuāng xié jiàqian yíyàng.這雙鞋跟那雙鞋價錢一樣｡
The Mandarin Chinese character 也 (yě) is used to join verbs or verb phrases. It translates as either “and” or “also.”
I like to watch movies and listen to music.
Wǒ xǐhuan kàn diànyǐng yě xǐhuan tīng yīnyuè.我喜歡看電影也喜歡聽音樂｡
He doesn't like to go for walks and he doesn't like to exercise.
Tā bù xǐhuan guàng jiē yě bù xǐhuan yùndòng.他不喜歡逛街也不喜歡運動｡
Other Transition Words
There are a few Mandarin Chinese words that can be translated as “and,” but which more accurately mean “furthermore," “moreover,” or other such transition words. These words are sometimes used to show a cause-and-effect relationship between the two phrases.
Chinese transition words include:
- Ér qiě - 而且: additionally
- Bìng qiě - 並且 (traditional) / 并且 (simplified): and; moreover
- Rán hòu - 然後 / 然后: and then
- Yǐ hòu - 以後 / 以后: and after
- Hái yǒu - 還有 / 还有: even more; on top of that
- Cǐ wài - 此外: furthermore
|Bìng qiě||並且 (traditional)|
on top of that
Sentence Examples of Transition Words
As noted, the particular form of "and" that you use in Mandarin Chinese depends heavily on the context and meaning of the word. It can be helpful, therefore, to peruse some example sentences to see how the different forms of "and" are used in various contexts.
This is a very good movie and (moreover) the music is very nice.
Zhè bù diànyǐng hěnhǎokàn érqiě yīnyuè hěnhǎo tīng.這部電影很好看而且音樂很好聽｡
This knapsack is very practical and (furthermore) the price is reasonable.
Zhègè fángshuǐ bēibāo hěn shíyòng bìngqiě jiàgé hélǐ.這個防水背包很實用並且價格合理｡
We can first go have dinner and then see a movie.
Wǒmen xiān qù chī wǎncān ránhòu zài qù kàn diànyǐng.我們先去吃晚餐然後再去看電影｡
Eat dinner, and then you can eat dessert.
Chī wán wǎncān yǐhòu jiù néng chī tián diǎn.吃完晚餐以後就能吃甜點。
I'm cold because I didn't wear enough clothes, and on top of that it's snowing now.
Wǒ lěng yīnwèi wǒ chuān bùgòu yīfú, hái yǒu xiànzài xià xuěle.我冷因為我穿不夠衣服，還有現在下雪了。
Let's quickly go see the cherry blossoms. The weather is nice today, furthermore it will rain tomorrow.
Wǒmen kuài qù kàn yīnghuā. Tiānqì hěn hǎo, cǐwài míngtiān huì xià yǔ.我們快去看櫻花。天氣很好，此外明天會下雨。