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2.12: Lesson 1 Grammar - The verb 姓 (xìng)

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    65605
  • 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".

    Structure 

    Subj. + 姓 + [Surname]

    Examples 

    • 我姓王。
      Wǒ xìng Wáng.
      My family name is Wang.

    • 你老板姓李吗?
      Nǐ lǎobǎn xìng Lǐ ma?
      Is your boss's last name Li?
       
    • 那个帅哥姓张。
      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.
       
    • 他女朋友姓钱。
      Tā nǚpéngyou xìng Qián.
      His girlfriend's last name is Qian.
       
    • 你好,我姓毛。
      Nǐ hǎo, wǒ xìng Máo.
      Hello. My last name is Mao.
       
    • 我姓赵,我太太也姓赵。
      Wǒ xìng Zhào, wǒ tàitai yě xìng Zhào.
      My last name is Zhao. My wife's last name is also Zhao.
       
    • 我的中文老师姓陈。
      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?
       
    • 他们都姓李。
      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:

    • 你姓什么?
      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:

    • 您贵姓?
      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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    Any Questions? 

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

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