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When and Where Do You Want to Go?

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When and Where Do You Want to Go?

Alright — Now that we've got a hold on time words, it's time to get moving with a few action words! Let's talk about where we want to go and when. Use this lesson to learn how to:

  • Say when you want to go or come and ask someone the same
  • Express the date
  • Use 每 to show repeated action
Flash Cards - Vocabulary
Flash Cards - Vocabulary
Complete Lesson (PDF)
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When and Where Do You Want to Go?
Are you using our printable flash cards? If not, go to your local office supply store and pick up some printable business cards and print this lessons flash cards. You'll find that using flash cards will help you to remember the vocabulary for this lesson quickly.

月 ( yuè ): month
Radical: 月 (moon)
Component: 月 (moon)
You can use the character 月 to mention "a month" (一个月, to be further explored in the periods of time lesson) but it also plays an essential role when talking about the date. As you'll see below, you must use 月 when referencing any of the months.
Memorization Hint: A complete cycle of the moon's phases is a month, thus months are measured by the phases of the moon.

日 ( rì ): day
Radical: 日 (sun)
Component: 日 (sun)
There is more than one way to say the word "day". In this lesson you'll notice that 日 is used when talking about the date. You learned the more common conversational word for "day" (天) in Lesson 7.
Memorization Hint: Where a month is measured by a cycle of the moon, a day is measured by a cycle of the sun.

年 ( nián ): year
Radical: 干 (dry)
Component: 丿 (slash), 干 (dry), 一 (one) and 丨 (vertical)
To state the year, simply string the numbers together that make up the year. For example: 2009 would be said 二零零九年, but more commonly written as 2009 年.
Memorization Hint: Hope for a "dry" year so there's more time for fun outside!

一月 ( yí yuè ): January
Radicals: 一 (one) and 月 (moon)
Sub-Word : 一 - one
月 - moon
Components for 1st Character: 一 (one)
Components for 2nd Character: 月 (moon)
Learning the 12 months in Chinese is easy as long as you remember how to count to 12! Just label each month by number, starting with 1. So, January becomes 一月, February is 二月, March is 三月, April is 四月... et cetera. So now you can see why it's important when you’re talking about "5 months" to use a measure word (5个月), because otherwise someone just might think you're talking about May!
Memorization Hint: The first moon of the year is January. Just make sure you know your numbers and you're all set for the12 months.

上海 ( shàng hǎi ): Shanghai
Radicals: 上 (on, above) and 氵 (water)
Sub-Word : 上 - on, above
海 - sea, ocean
Components for 1st Character: 上 (on, above)
Components for 2nd Character: 氵 (water) and 每 (every,each)
Probably you've heard of China's most populated city, but perhaps you’re saying it the American way. If you want to be understood in China, make sure to open your mouth and say "ahh" like you're at the dentist when you pronounce 上.
Memorization Hint: If you're not quite sure where Shanghai is, look it up on a map. You'll see why it makes sense for it to be called "on the ocean".

北京 ( běi jīng ): Beijing
Radicals: 匕 (dagger) and 亠 (head)
Sub-Word : 北 - north, northern
京 - capital
Phonetic: 匕 (bǐ)
Components for 1st Character: 丨 (vertical), 一 (one) and 匕 (dagger)
Components for 2nd Character: 亠 (head) ,口 (mouth) and 小 (small)
The second-most populated city in China, after 上海, 北京 is the country’s capital.
Memorization Hint: It's all in the name — 北京 is the country's capital in the north!

去 ( qù ): go, leave
Radical: 土 (soil)
Component: 土 (soil) and 厶 (private)
As discussed in Lesson 8, verbs in Chinese are not conjugated to indicate tense. 我去北京 means "I go to Beijing". You can add any of time words from previous lessons to indicate whether it happened in the past (上个星期我去了北京), or the future (下个月我会去北京).
Memorization Hint: Do you see the little guy running to the left so fast that both his legs look bent? He sure is going somewhere...

来 ( lái ): come, to arrive
Radical: 木 (tree)
Component: 木 (tree) and 一 (one)
来, the opposite of "去", means "come" and the grammar is similar. You may have noticed that there is no preposition necessary when using 去 and the same is true for 来. For example, to say "Come to my house to see me", just say 来我的家看我.
Memorization Hint: If when you were a child, you told a lie (lai) to your mother, she certainly would command you come!

要 ( yào ): to want
Radical: 西 (west)
Component: 西 (west) and 女 (female)
要 can be used to show desire for something, or desire for doing something. 我要去北京 can mean: "I want to go to Beijing." 我要一个妹妹 means "I want a younger sister." Notice that it acts as a verb and, therefore, follows the subject. In response to someone’s question using 要, you can respond simply with 要 or 不要.
Memorization Hint: Have you ever wanted something so badly, it hurts? Yow!

每 ( měi ): every, each
Radical: 母 (mother)
Component: 丿 (slash), 一 (one) and 母 (mother)
每 can be used to describe a repetitive action that occurs, for example, "every Tuesday" (每个星期二). Remember back in Lesson 4 when we first started using 个 to say "a person" (一个人)? 每 should also generally be followed by the measure word, 个.
Memorization Hint: Each and every one has a mother, so when you see the mother character with 丿 and 一 on top this means "each" or "every".


去 means "to go". Here's a basic example: 我去北京 (I go to Beijing). You can follow the same rules explained in Lesson 8 to make this sentence past or future tense. Take a minute to try it out... Not sure where to begin? Then pop back to Lesson 8 for a moment to review.

Alright, let's make it a bit more complicated. 你要去中国吗? Say your answer before moving on...

But, what if your answer is that you don't want to go to China? You can use 不 to negate the verb phrase. So, the complete answer would be 我不要去中国. Or, you can show your meaning with 不要 (don’t want), or 我不要 (I don't want), or even 我不要去 (I don’t want to go). Hopefully, that’s not really your answer because you're studying Chinese!

If the person you're talking to is in China when they ask you this question, the verb should become 要来. That make sense, right? Do you want to come to China, or 你要不要来中国?

So, your friend is living in China and he asks you 你什么时候要来中国? You'll learn very shortly in the Grammar section of this lesson how to respond with the date, but first you need to know how to say 2-digit numbers. Don't fret — it's as simple as math!

You have all the tools you need to create basic numbers in Chinese — all it takes is a bit of simple addition and multiplication. Let's examine. If you think of the number 11 as 10+1, it's natural to remember that in Chinese 11 is 十一. What's your guess for, say, the number 17? You got it! 十七.

The number 20 is two 10s, so it becomes 二十. Now, let's combine these two steps together. Consider the number 27. We have a two 10s + 7, right? So, that's 二十七. We'll re-visit larger numbers at a later time, but now you can say you’ll arrive on the 27th! Jump down to the Grammar section to get the specifics.

*Remember that when you see numbers in China, they most likely will be written with the same numbers we use—the characters here are just for your reference to pronunciation.


Stating the Date

  • State first the month, followed by the day. June 14 is said “六月十四日,” but should be written, 6月14日. You may often see日replaced by 号(hào), which means “number”, but you cannot use天 to talk about the day of the month.
  • Because the date deals with numbers, use几 to ask the date: 今天是几月几日?(Today is what month and day?)
Vocabulary Review:
  1. 月 yuè month
  2. 日 rì day
  3. 年 nián year
  4. 一月 yí yuè January
  5. 上海 shàng hǎi Shanghai
  6. 北京 běi jīng Beijing
  7. 去 qù go, leave
  8. 来 lái come, to arrive
  9. 要 yào to want
  10. 每 měi every, each
Linda and Ms. Zhang continue to struggle with scheduling their business meeting. It’s nearing the New Year, so they consider waiting until January.
 ...Xīng qī wǔ yě bù hǎo.
 ...Friday’s not good either.
Ms. Zhang: 
 Yí yuè hǎo ma?
 Is January okay?
 很好.我们2009年一月一日, 要去上海...五日好吗?
 Hěn hǎo. Wŏ mén èr líng líng jiǔ nián yí yuè yí rì, yào qù shàng hǎi… w ǔ rì hǎo ma?
 Yes. On January 1, 2009 we want to go to Shanghai… how’s the 5th?
Ms. Zhang: 
 五日, 我要去北京.
 Wǔ rì, wŏ yào qù běi jīng.
 I’ll go to Beijing on the 5th.
 Shí rì hǎo bù hǎo?
 Is the 10th good?
Ms. Zhang: 
 也不好. 每年, 一月十日我的姐姐来看我.
 Yě bù hǎo. Měi nían, yí yuè shí rì wŏ de jiě jie lái kàn wŏ.
 The 10th’s not good either. Every year on January 10 my sister comes to visit.
 好. 十五日吗?
 Hǎo. Shí wǔ rì ma?
 Okay. The 15th?
Ms. Zhang: 
 Hěn hǎo!
 (to Jim) 好吗?
 (to Jim) Hǎo ma?
 (to Jim) Good?
 Hěn hǎo!
Fill in the Blank:

这年我要去____和上海. (Beijing)
Zhèi nián wŏ yào qù ____ hé shàng hǎi.
This year I want to go to Beijing and Shanghai.

上个____我去了中国. (month)
Shàng gè ____ wŏ qù le zhōng guó.
Last month I went to China.

每个9月我去看____. (Shanghai)
Měi gè jiǔ yuè wŏ qù kàn ____.
Every September I visit Shanghai.

____ 个星期五晚上我看我的姐姐. (every)
____ gè xīng qī wǔ wǎn shàng wŏ kàn wŏ de jiě jie.
I visit my sister every Friday evening.

这个8月我的妈妈会____看我. (come)
Zhè gè bā yuè wŏ de mā ma huì ____ kàn wŏ.
This August, my mother will to come visit me.

4月27日我和我的朋友要____英国. (go)
Sì yuè èr shí qī rì wŏ hé wŏ de péng yŏu yào ____ yīng guó.
My friend and I want to go to England on April 27.

星期一我不会看你. ____好吗? (May 3)
Xīng qī yī wŏ bú huì kàn nĭ. ____ hǎo ma?
I can’t visit you on Monday. Is May 3 okay?

明天是____. (December 13)
Míng tiān shì ____.
Tomorrow is December 13.

我的哥哥6月____看我. (wants)
Wŏ de gē ge liù yuè ____ kàn wŏ.
My brother wants to visit me in June.

早上好! 今天是2009____1月1日. (year)
Zǎo shàng hǎo! Jīn tiān shì èr líng líng jiǔ ____ yí yuè yí rì.
Good morning! Today is January 1, 2009!

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