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2.10: Lesson 1 Grammar - The Adverb 也 (yě)

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    65603
  • The English adverb "too" or "also" is expressed in Chinese as 也 (yě). In Chinese, it always needs to come before the verb (or right before the "adjective" which is in fact a stative verb). Indeed, all Chinese adverbs go immediately before the verb they modify.

    也 (yě) with Verb Phrases 

    Structure 

    Since it is an adverb, 也 (yě) is inserted after the subject, before the verb or verb phrase.

    Subj. + 也 + Verb / [Verb Phrase]

    Examples 

    • 我也喜欢。
      Wǒ yě xǐhuan.
      I also like it.
       
    • 我也是学生。
      Wǒ yě shì xuésheng.
      I am a student too.
       
    • 她也有一个儿子。
      Tā yě yǒu yī gè érzi.
      She also has a son.
       
    • 他们也是法国人吗?
      Tāmen yě shì Fǎguó rén ma?
      Are they also French?
       
    • 我也想学中文。
      Wǒ yě xiǎng xué Zhōngwén.
      I also want to study Chinese.
       
    • 他们也会去吗?
      Tāmen yě huì qù ma?
      Are they also going?
       
    • 我妈妈也喜欢吃饺子。
      Wǒ māma yě xǐhuan chī jiǎozi.
      My mother likes to eat boiled dumplings too.
       
    • 孩子也可以喝酒吗?
      Háizi yě kěyǐ hējiǔ ma?
      Can kids drink alcohol too?
       
    • 你也想来我家吗?
      Nǐ yě xiǎng lái wǒ jiā ma?
      Do you want to come to my house too?
       
    • 她也觉得这个老师不好。
      Tā yě juéde zhège lǎoshī bù hǎo.
      She also thinks this teacher isn't good.

    Let's take one more look at two different English sentences which mean the same thing, but can result in bad Chinese if you translate word-for-word.

    • 我也喜欢。<< GOOD EXAMPLE
      Wǒ yě xǐhuan.
      I also like it. / I like it too.
       
    • 我喜欢也。 << BAD EXAMPLE, DON'T SAY IT THIS WAY
      Wǒ xǐhuan yě.
      I like it too.

    Note that the first translation for the first sentence is "I also like it." The translation of the second sentence is "I like it too," which is equally correct in English but, if translated word-for-word into Chinese, and if putting the 也 (yě) after the verb, that is 100% wrong in Chinese.  Remember that, in Chinese, adverbs invariably go before the verbs they modify.  And remember that 也 (yě) is an adverb.

    A Note on the Negative Form 

    In English, we can replace the word "too" with "either" in negative sentences. For example:

    • A: I like cats.
    • B: I like cats too.
    • A: I don't like cats.
    • B: I don't like cats either.

    In Chinese, regardless of whether the sentence is positive ("I like them too") or negative ("I don't like them either"), 也 (yě) is used the same way. Just make sure you put the 也 (yě) before the 不 (bù) or other negative part that comes before the verb.

    • 我也不喜欢。
      Wǒ yě bù xǐhuan.
      I don't like it either.
       
    • 我也不知道。
      Wǒ yě bù zhīdào.
      I don't know either.
       
    • 他也没有。
      Tā yě méiyǒu.
      He doesn't have it either.
       
    • 你也不想来我家吗?
      Nǐ yě bù xiǎng lái wǒ jiā ma?
      You don't want to come to my house either?

    也 (yě) with Stative Verbs ("Adjectives") 

    Structure 

    也 (yě) can also be used with stative verbs (or "adjectives"). We'll learn later on how simple "noun + adjective" sentences normally need to include an adverb like 很 (hěn) before the adjective. In that case, just put the 也 (yě) before the adverb.

    Subj. + 也 (+ Adv.) + Adj.

    Examples 

    • 你也很高。
      Nǐ yě hěn gāo.
      You are also tall.
       
    • 他也很胖。
      Tā yě hěn pàng.
      He is also fat.
       
    • 我爸爸也很帅。
      Wǒ bàba yě hěn shuài.
      My dad is also handsome.
       
    • 湖南菜也很辣。
      Húnán cài yě hěn là.
      Hunan food is very spicy too.
       
    • 这种酒也很好喝。
      Zhè zhǒng jiǔ yě hěn hǎohē.
      This kind of alcohol is also good.
       
    • 这个地方也很漂亮。
      Zhège dìfang yě hěn piàoliang.
      This place is also pretty.
       
    • 昨天很冷,今天也很冷。
      Zuótiān hěn lěng, jīntiān yě hěn lěng.
      Yesterday was cold, and today is also cold.
       
    • 他生气了?我也很生气!
      Tā shēngqì le? Wǒ yě hěn shēngqì!
      He got angry? I'm also angry!
       
    • 这个问题也很麻烦。
      Zhège wèntí yě hěn máfan.
      This problem is also very troublesome.
       
    • 我觉得这个餐厅也很好。
      Wǒ juéde zhège cāntīng yě hěn hǎo.
      I think that this restaurant is also good.

    Expressing "Me Too" with 也 (yě) 

    It can be tricky to know how to say "me too" when you first study 也 (yě), as you can't say "wǒ yě" all by itself. That's not a complete sentence; you can't just leave 也 (yě) hanging there with nothing after it.

    The all-purpose correct sentence is "wǒ yě shì," which literally means, "I am too," but can also stand in for "me too."

    Structure 

    The correct structure uses the verb 是 (shì):

    • 我也是。
      Wǒ yě shì.
      I am too. / Me too.
      [Note: The 是 fills in for whatever was just said.]
       
    • 我也。 << BAD EXAMPLE, NEVER SAY IT THIS WAY!
      Wǒ yě.
      [Note: Always put something after 也! It never ends a sentence.]

    Examples 

    The "me too" structure works with other subjects, as well. But for these simple examples, we'll stick to the classic 我 (wǒ) subject.

    • A: 我是美国人。
      Wǒ shì Měiguó rén.
      I am an American.
       
    • B: 我也是。
      Wǒ yě shì.
      Me too. / I am too.

    For this next one, you'll notice that the "me too" reply repeats the original verb 喜欢 (xǐhuan) instead of using 是 (shì). Both ways are possible.

    • A: 我喜欢看书。
      Wǒ xǐhuan kàn shū.
      I like to read.
       
    • B: 我也喜欢。
      Wǒ yě xǐhuan.
      Me too. / So do I.

    You'll notice that some of those English translations use "so do I." The Chinese works exactly the same; they're just translated that way to produce more natural-sounding English.

    [adapted from AllSet Learning Chinese Grammar Wiki, Creative Commons License BY-NC-SA 3.0]

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    Any Questions? 

    If you have any questions about this grammar point, please ask in the class forums!