2.12: Lesson 1 Grammar - The verb 姓 (xìng)
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The verb 姓 (xìng) literally means "to be surnamed" or "to have the surname." It may seem awkward at first that there's a verb just for this, but you'll find that it's used quite often in Chinese. 姓 (xìng) is used most often to tell someone your own surname ("family name" or "last name"), or to ask the surname of someone else.
Although 姓 (xìng) is equivalent to the English expression "last name" this can be misleading, since in Chinese the 姓 (xìng) comes before the given name. For this reason, it may be easier for you to think of 姓 (xìng) as meaning "family name" or "surname".
Subj. + 姓 + [Surname]
Wǒ xìng Wáng.
My family name is Wang.
Nǐ lǎobǎn xìng Lǐ ma?
Is your boss's last name Li?
Nàge shuàigē xìng Zhāng.
That handsome guy's last name is Zhang.
- 我爸爸姓周，我妈妈姓林 。
Wǒ bàba xìng Zhōu, wǒ māma xìng Lín.
My father's family name is Zhou. My mother's family name is Lin.
Tā nǚpéngyou xìng Qián.
His girlfriend's last name is Qian.
Nǐ hǎo, wǒ xìng Máo.
Hello. My last name is Mao.
Wǒ xìng Zhào, wǒ tàitai yě xìng Zhào.
My last name is Zhao. My wife's last name is also Zhao.
Wǒ de Zhōngwén lǎoshī xìng Chén.
My Chinese teacher's surname is Chen.
- 你奶奶也姓陈吗 ？
Nǐ nǎinai yě xìng Chén ma?
Is your grandma's family name also Chen?
Tāmen dōu xìng Lǐ.
They all have Li as their family name.
Asking Someone's Surname
You can also use 姓 (xìng) to ask people their surnames. You could do this quite directly by saying:
Nǐ xìng shénme?
What is your last name?
However, the formal way to ask has a set form, and this is almost invariably the way people ask:
Nín guì xìng?
What is your honorable surname?
Literally this means "What is your honorable surname?" Use this form whenever you ask someone their surname in Chinese.
[adapted from AllSet Learning Chinese Grammar Wiki, Creative Commons License BY-NC-SA 3.0]
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