The verb 叫 (jiào) is used to indicate what someone or something is called, or what someone or something's name is. Its usage can seem a little weird to beginners, so it gets its own grammar point.
The verb 叫 (jiào) means both "to call" and "to be called." It's an easy way to give names, using the following structure:
Subj. + 叫 + [Name]
This can be used to give your full name or just your first name.
- 我 叫 Tom。Note: it even works if you don't have a Chinese name!Wǒ jiào Tom.My name is Tom.
- 他 叫 李小龙。Note: this is the real name of Bruce LeeTā jiào Lǐ Xiǎolóng.His name is Li Xiaolong.
- 我 哥哥 叫 老马 。Note: this is probably not his real nameWǒ gēge jiào Lǎo Mǎ.My brother is called Lao Ma.
- 那 个 叫 什么？Nàge jiào shénme?What is that called?
- 这 个 美女 叫 Alana。Zhège měinǚ jiào Alana.This pretty girl is named Alana.
- 我们 的 老板 叫 John。Wǒmen de lǎobǎn jiào John.Our boss is named John.
- 我 的 狗 叫 Max。Wǒ de gǒu jiào Max.My dog is called Max.
- 这 种 手机 叫 iPhone。Zhè zhǒng shǒujī jiào iPhone.This kind of cell phone is called an iPhone.
- 你 爸爸 叫 什么？Nǐ bàba jiào shénme?What is your dad's name?
- 这 个 地方 叫 外滩。Zhège dìfang jiào Wàitān.This place is called the Bund.
You can also ask people their names using 叫 (jiào):
- 你 叫 什么 名字 ？Nǐ jiào shénme míngzi?What's your name?