你在做什么？Nǐ zài zuò shénme?
How have you been? We hope everyone is good and ready for our lesson for today. In this lesson, we will learn how to ask the question “What are you doing?” in Chinese and in turn learn some actions verbs in Chinese as well.
As usual, the main characters in our dialogue for today are Zhang Yun and Wang Li. Zhang Yun is at Wang Li’s house and she is busy doing house chores. Zhang Yun is so bored as she has nobody to talk to. So, she kept asking Wang Li what she is doing.
Zhang Yun: What are you doing, Wang Li?
Wang Li: I am washing the dishes.
Zhang Yun: Will it take long?
Wang Li: No, finishing soon.
Zhang Yun: What are you doing again, Wang Li?
Wang Li: I am cleaning the table and chairs.
Zhang Yun: Let me know when you have finished cleaning them.
Wang Li: Ok.
Zhang Yun: Have you not finished cleaning the tables and chairs?
Wang Li: I have finished them not long ago. Now, I am cutting some fruits.
Zhang Yun: Since you are busy today, I had better go home then.
Wang Yun: Please don’t go. The fruits are prepared for you.
Zhang Yun: Oh I see.
Zhāng Yún: Wáng lì, nǐ zài zuò shénme?
Wáng Lì : Wǒ zài xǐ wǎn.
Zhāng Yún: Huì huā hěn duō shíjiān ma?
Wáng Lì: Bù huì. Kuài xǐ hǎole.
Zhāng Yún: Wáng lì, nǐ yòu zài zuò shénme?
Wáng Li: Wǒ zài mǒ zhuōzi hé yǐzi.
Zhāng Yun: Nǐ mǒ hǎo hòu qǐng ràng wǒ zhīdào.
Wáng Lì: Hǎo de.
Zhāng Yún: Wáng lì, nǐ hái méi mǒ hǎo zhuōzi hé yǐzi ma?
Wáng Lì Bù jiǔ qián yǐ jīng mǒ hǎole. Wǒ xiàn zài zài qiè xiē shuǐguǒ.
Zhāng Yún Jì rán nǐ nà me máng, wǒ hái shì huí jiā hǎo le.
Wáng Lì: Qǐng bié zǒu. Shuǐguǒ shì wèi nǐ ér zhǔnbèi de.
Zhāng Yún: Yuán lái rú cǐ.
The verb wash or 洗 (xǐ), can be used in situations like 洗澡 (Xǐzǎo) – take a shower/bathe; 洗衣服 (Xǐzǎo Xǐ yīfú) – do laundry; 洗脸 (Xǐ liǎn) – wash face.
The verb clean is expressed differently in Chinese. When you are talking about cleaning the table, you use the Chinese character 抹mǒ. When talking about cleaning the windows, you can also use抹, you say 抹窗 Mǒ chuāng. However, when you are talking about cleaning the room, you do not say 抹房间mǒfángjiān, you have to say 打扫房间Dǎsǎo fángjiān. 打扫 Dǎsǎo means to clean or to sweep. The word 打 by itself means to beat/to strike/to hit.
The verb cut is 切qiè and can be used in situations like 切菜 Qiē cài – cut vegetables, 切肉 qiē ròu – cut meat or even切面包 Qiē miànbāo – slice the bread.
Besides those action verbs mentioned in the dialogue above, let us show you some commonly used ones. For example, watch/see is 看 Kàn. When you want to say watch TV, you say看电视 Kàn diànshì. When you go see the doctor, you also use the verb看Kàn. You say看医生Kàn yīshēng or看病Kànbìng. The Chinese word 病bìng means sickness. Literally, it means see sickness. But actually, it is to see the doctor about your sickness. When reading a book, you should say 看书Kàn shū rather than 读书Dúshū as Dúshū means studying and not reading.
Another common verb is 听Tīng, which means listen. 听音乐Tīng yīnyuè or 听歌Tīng gē are things I like to do when I am feeling bored. 听音乐 Tīng yīnyuè is listen to music and 听歌 Tīnggē is listen to songs. What do you like to do when you are bored? If you prefer to sing rather than to listen to songs, then you should say 唱歌Chànggē, which means to sing songs.
What are the things you like to do when you are with friends? I like to go to a quite café and chat with my friends. The Chinese word for chat is 聊天 Liáotiān. When someone ask you what are you doing and you are chatting with your friends, you can say 我在和朋友聊天 Wǒ zài hé péngyǒu liáotiān. If you are drinking coffee, then you can say
我在喝咖啡 Wǒ zài hē kāfēi. 喝 hē, which means drink is also a very commonly used verb.
The phrase 既然Jìrán used in the dialogue means since in English. Let us provide more examples to help you understand the usage of this phrase. 既然来了,就留下来吃饭吧. Jìrán láile jiù liú xiàlái chīfàn ba (Since you are here, stay for dinner then). The adverb used in the latter part of the sentence is normally 还, 就 or 也. 你既然要去，我也不会阻止你。Nǐ jìrán yào qù, wǒ yě bù huì zǔzhǐ nǐ (Since you want to go, I will not stop you).
In this lesson, we have learned a number of useful and commonly used verbs. We hope you are able to answer your Chinese friends when they ask you what you are doing in Chinese.
That is all with have for today. Do come back for more useful and interesting lessons with us.