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Are You Coming or Going 進來或出去 in Chinese

People are always coming and going. Suppose someone asks you:

 

你知道我的兒子在哪裡?

(你)(知道)(我的)(兒子)(在)(哪裡)

(ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄓ ㄉㄠˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄦˊ ㄗ˙) (ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄋㄚˇ ㄌㄧˇ)

(nǐ)(zhī dào)(wǒ de.)(ér zi.)(zài)(nǎ lǐ)

(you)(to know)(my)(son)(at)(where)

Do you know where my son is?

 

And suppose you saw him leaving the house. How you answer will depend on your location compared to the house. If you say:

 

我看見他從房子走出去了。

(我)(看見)(他)(從)❶(房子)(走)(出去)(了)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄎㄢˋ ㄐㄧㄢˋ) (ㄊㄚ) (ㄘㄨㄥˊ) (ㄈㄤˊ ㄗ˙) (ㄗㄡˇ) (ㄔㄨ ㄑㄩˋ)(ㄌㄜ˙)

(wǒ)(kàn jiàn)(tā)(cóng)(fáng zi.)(zǒu)(chū qù)(le.)

(I)(to see, to catch sight of)(him)(from)(house)(to walk)(to go out)(emphasizes completion)

I saw him walk out of the house.

 

you are indicating that you are in the house.

 

However if you say:

 

我看見他從那個房子出來。

(我)(看見)(他)(從)(那個)(房子)(出來)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄎㄢˋ ㄐㄧㄢˋ) (ㄊㄚ) (ㄘㄨㄥˊ) (ㄋㄚˋ ㄍㄜ˙) (ㄈㄤˊ ㄗ˙) (ㄔㄨ ㄌㄞˊˋ)

(wǒ)(kàn jiàn)(tā)(cóng)(nà ge.)(fáng zi.)(chū lái)

(I)(to see, to catch sight of)(him)(from)(that)(house)(to come out)

I saw him come out of that house.

 

you must be already out of the house.

 

Here are the four basic choices and you can see their similarities to the same English.

 

進去    ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄑㄩˋ   (jìn qù) enter + to go = to go in

進來    ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄌㄞˊ   (jìn lái) enter + to come = to come in

出來    ㄔㄨ ㄌㄞˊ        (chū lái) exit/go out + to come = to come out

出去    ㄔㄨ ㄑㄩˋ        (chū qú)  exit/go out + to come = to go out

 

You can see that some of the word order is backwards from how it is said in English. Here are some sentences I practices with:

 

我來了,他就從廚房出來。

(我)(來)(了),(他)(就)(從)(廚房)(出來)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄌㄞˊ) (ㄌㄜ˙), (ㄊㄚ) (ㄐㄧㄡˋ) (ㄘㄨㄥˊ) (ㄔㄨˊ ㄈㄤˊ) (ㄔㄨ ㄌㄞˊ)

(wǒ)(lái)(le.), (tā)(jiù)(cóng)(chú fáng)(chū lái)

(I)(to come)(intensifies previous action), (he)(just then)(from)(kitchen)(to come out)

I came, then (kind of right away) he came out from the kitchen.

 

他從廚房出去。

(他)(從)(廚房)(出去)

(ㄊㄚ) (ㄘㄨㄥˊ) (ㄔㄨˊ ㄈㄤˊ) (ㄔㄨ ㄑㄩˋ)

(tā)(cóng)(chú fáng)(chū qù)

(he)(from)(kitchen)(to go out)

He went out of the kitchen.

 

媽媽叫我,我就進來。

(媽媽)(叫)(我),(我)(就)(進來)

(ㄇㄚ ㄇㄚ˙) (ㄐㄧㄠˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ), (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄐㄧㄡˋ) (ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄌㄞˊ)

(mā ma.)(jiào)(wǒ), (wǒ)(jiù)(jìn lái)

(mom)(to call)(me), (I)(at once, right away)(to come in)

Mom called me, (so) I came right in.

 

她請你進去。

(她)(請)(你)(進去)

(ㄊㄚ) (ㄑㄧㄥˇ) (ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄑㄩˋ)

(tā)(qǐng)(nǐ)(jìn qù)

(she)(to ask, to invite)(you)(to go in)

She invited you to go in.

 

你得進去。

(你)(得)(進去)

(ㄋㄧˇ) (ㄉㄟˇ) (ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄑㄩˋ)

(nǐ)(děi)(jìn qù)

(you)(must)(to go in)

You must go in.

 

我很快會進去。

(我)(很)(快)(會)(進去)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄏㄣˇ) (ㄎㄨㄞˋ) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄑㄩˋ)

(wǒ)(hěn)(kuài)(huì)(jìn qù)

(I)(very)(quick, soon)(will)(to go in)

I will go in soon.

 

我馬上會進去。

(我)(馬上)❷(會)(進去)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄏㄣˇ) (ㄎㄨㄞˋ) (ㄏㄨㄟˋ) (ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄑㄩˋ)

(wǒ)(mǎ shàng)(huì)(jìn qù)

(I)(at once, immediately)(will)(to go in)

I will go in at once.

 

我要出去跟狗玩。

(我)(要)(出去)(跟)(狗)(玩)

(ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄧㄠˋ) (ㄔㄨ ㄑㄩˋ) (ㄍㄣ) (ㄍㄡˇ) ㄨㄢˊ)

(wǒ)(yào)(chū qù)(gēn)(gǒu)(wán)

(I)(to want)(to go out)(with)(dog)(to play)

I want to go out and play with the dog.

 

I am constantly trying to keep track of my puppy and asking

 

小狗在哪裡?!

(小狗)(在)(哪裡)❸

(ㄨㄧㄠˇ ㄍㄡˇ) (ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄋㄚˇ ㄌㄧˇ)

(xiǎo gǒu)(zài)(nǎ lǐ)

(small + dog = puppy)(at)(where)

Where is the puppy!?

 

Other people in the house give answers such as:

 

小狗進來廚房,因為牠要看看我在做晚餐。

(小狗)(進來)(廚房),

(ㄒㄧㄠˇ ㄍㄡˇ) (ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄌㄞˊ) (ㄔㄨˊ ㄈㄤˊ)

(xiǎo gǒu)(jìn lái)(chú fáng),

(puppy)(to come in)(kitchen),

…..(因為)(牠)(要)(看看)❹(我)(在)(做)➓(晚餐)

……(ㄧㄣ ㄨㄟˋ) (ㄊㄚ) (ㄧㄠˋ) (ㄎㄢˋ ㄎㄢˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄗㄞˋ) (ㄗㄨㄛˋ) (ㄨㄢˇ ㄘㄢ)

……(because)(it)(to want)(to see, to watch)(I)(indicating progressive action, -ing)(to make)(evening meal, dinner)

The puppy came into the kitchen because it wanted to watch me making dinner.

小狗咬過了我的功課以後,就得進去狗籠。

(小狗)(咬)(過)(了)(我的)(功課)(以後),

(ㄒㄧㄠˇ ㄍㄡˇ) (ㄧㄠˇ) (ㄍㄨㄛˋ) (ㄌㄜ˙) (ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄍㄨㄥ ㄎㄜˋ) (ㄧˇ ㄏㄡˋ)

(xiǎo gǒu)(yǎo)(guò)(le.)(wǒ de.)(gōng kè)(yǐ hòu),

(puppy)(to chew)(indicates past perfect tense)(intensifies action)(my)(homework)(after),

…..(就)(得)(進去)(狗)(籠)❺

……(ㄐㄧㄡˋ) (ㄉㄟˇ) (ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄑㄩˋ) (ㄍㄡˇ ㄌㄨㄥˊ)

……(jiù)(děi)(jìn qù)(gǒu)(lóng)

……(right away)(must)(to go in)(dog)(cage)

After the puppy chewed up my homework she had to go in the kennel.

 

牠聽到吸塵器的聲音,就從房間出來。

(牠)(聽到)(吸塵器)(的)(聲音),

(ㄊㄚ) (ㄊㄧㄥ ㄉㄠˋ) (ㄒㄧ ㄔㄣˊ ㄑㄧˋ) (ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄕㄥ ㄧㄣ),

(tā)(tīng dào)(xī chén qì)(de.)(shēng yīn)

(it)(heard)(suck in + dust + receptacle/instrument = vacuum cleaner)(adjective marker)(sound)

…..(就)(從)(房間)(出來)

……(ㄐㄧㄡˋ) (ㄘㄨㄥˊ) (ㄈㄤˊ ㄐㄧㄢ) (ㄔㄨ ㄌㄞˊ)

……(jiù)(cóng)(fáng jiān)(chū lái)

……(right away)(from)(room)(to come out)

It heard the sound of the vacuum cleaner and came right out of the room.

 

老幺彈鋼琴時,小狗從廚房出去到客廳就開始唱歌!

(老幺)(彈)(鋼琴)(時)❻,(小狗)(從)(廚房)

(ㄌㄠˇ ㄧㄠ) (ㄊㄢˊ) (ㄍㄤ ㄑㄧㄣˊ) (ㄕˊ), (ㄒㄧㄠˇ ㄍㄡˇ) (ㄘㄨㄥˊ) (ㄈㄤˊ ㄐㄧㄢ)

(lǎo yāo)(tán)(gāng qín)(shí), (xiǎo gǒu)(cóng)(chū fáng)

(youngest child)(pluck/play)(piano)(when), (puppy)(from)(kitchen)

…..(出去)(到)(客廳)(就)(開始)(唱)(歌)

……(ㄔㄨ ㄑㄩˋ) (ㄉㄠˋ) (ㄎㄜˋ ㄊㄧㄥ) (ㄐㄧㄡˋ) (ㄎㄞ ㄕˇ) (ㄔㄤˋ) (ㄍㄜ)

……(chū qù)(dào)(kè tīng)(jiù)(kāi shǐ)(chàng)(gē)

……(to go out)(to arrive)(guest room, living room)(right away)(to begin)(to sing)(song)

When our youngest played the piano, the puppy went right out from the kitchen to the living room (then) started singing.

 

Possibly at this point you feel like you don’t know if you are coming or going. Here are a few ways you could express that in Chinese.

我的工作時間表太滿了,讓我忙得糊裡糊塗!

(我的)[(工作)(時間)(表)](太)(滿)(了),

(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) [(ㄍㄨㄥ ㄗㄨㄛˋ)(ㄕˊ ㄐㄧㄢ)(ㄅㄧㄠˇ)] (ㄊㄞˋ) (ㄇㄢˇ) (ㄌㄜ˙),

(wǒ de.)[(gōng zuò)(shí jiān)(biǎo)](tài)(mǎn)(le.),

(my)[(work)(time)(form, list) = schedule](too)(full)(intensify preceding clause)

…..(讓)(我)(忙得)(糊裡糊塗)❼

……(ㄖㄤˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄇㄤˊ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄏㄨˊ ㄌㄧˇ ㄏㄨˊ ㄊㄨˊ)

……(ràng)(wǒ)(máng de.)(hú lǐ hú tú)

……(to make)(me)(busy to the point of)(confused, mixed up, muddle-headed)

My schedule is too full; I am so busy I don’t know whether I am coming or going!

 

我的工作太多了,讓我忙得頭昏腦脹!

(我的)(工作)(太)(多)(了),

(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄍㄨㄥ ㄗㄨㄛˋ) (ㄊㄞˋ) (ㄉㄨㄛ) (ㄌㄜ˙),

(wǒ de.)(gōng zuò)(tài)(duō)(le.),

(my)(work)(too)(much)(intensifies preceding clause),

…..(讓)(我)(忙得)(頭昏腦脹)❽

……(ㄖㄤˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄇㄤˊ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄊㄡˊ ㄏㄨㄣ ㄋㄠˇ ㄓㄤˋ)

……(ràng)(wǒ)(máng de.)(tóu hūn nǎo zhàng)

……(to make)(me)(so busy that)(my head is spinning)

I have too much work! It is making my head spin!

 

我的工作太多了,讓我忙得不可開交!

(我的)(工作)(太)(多)(了),

(ㄨㄛˇ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄍㄨㄥ ㄗㄨㄛˋ) (ㄊㄞˋ) (ㄉㄨㄛ) (ㄌㄜ˙),

(wǒ de.)(gōng zuò)(tài)(duō)(le.),

(my)(work)(too)(much)(intensifies preceding clause),

…..(讓)(我)(忙得)(不可開交)

……(ㄖㄤˋ) (ㄨㄛˇ) (ㄇㄤˊ ㄉㄜ˙) (ㄅㄨˋ ㄎㄜˇ ㄎㄞ ㄐㄧㄠ)

……(ràng)(wǒ)(máng de.)(bù kě kāi jiāo)

……(to make)(me)(busy to the following degree)(to be awfully)

I have so much work that I am awfully busy!

 


Notes:

❶ This is one of those words that seems unnecessary to the English ear, but my tutor says that without it the sentence sounds like it is missing something. English has “filler” words like that, too.

❷ Have I mentioned that I love this Chinese word? It literally means “get on the horse,” indicating that you will ride right off and get something done!

❸ It is an interesting grammatical construction of the Chinese language that what is being looked for needs to be indicated before you ask “where it is.”

❹ The doubling of the verb makes the sentence a little more light hearted.

 

❺ The word kennel can be said as

狗屋 ㄍㄡˇ ㄨ (gǒu wū) “dog house”

or

狗籠ㄍㄡˇ ㄌㄨㄥˊ (gǒu lóng) “dog cage”

in Chinese. I chose to use 狗籠 because in America we associate a dog house with something out in the yard and the dog is not usually shut up in it. Also, I thought the second character, 籠, was more interesting. The main part of the character is the same as the character for “dragon, ” 龍 🐲,AND is pronounced the same. The part on the top of the “cage” character is the radical for bamboo, since that is the ancient material for constructing cages.

 

❻ The formal way to say “when” in Chinese is

的時候

ㄉㄜ˙ ㄕˊ ㄏㄡˋ

de. shí hòu

but in casual speaking it is often shortened to just 時  ㄕˊ (shí)

 

❼ This 4 words idiom is made up of

糊 meaning “confused” or “not clear”

裡 which is literally “in”

糊塗  the combination which means “mixed up, confused”

 

❽ The literal meaning of the characters in this 4 words idiom are

頭  “head, top”

昏   “dusk, dark”

腦  “brain”

脹  “swell, inflate, expand”

 

❾ And the last 4 words idiom is

不  “not”

可  “can, may”

開  “open, begin”

交  “mix, communicate, deliver”

 

➓ There can be subtle differences in structure that mean basically the same thing in Chinese, just like in English. For example, if the adjective marker (de.) is added right after (zuò) in this phrase, making it

牠要看看我在做晚餐

then the translation is: it wants to watch what I’m making for dinner.

 

 

 

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