“和”(hé) Means “And” (Or Does It?) – The Complete Guide to Using “和” in Chinese

The conjunction “和” is a common and useful word which all of us have learned in our first classes. From my teaching experiences, and from corresponding researches [1], I find that students of Mandarin, especially those in primary level, are more prone to making errors with this word than those in the middle and advanced level. So, to help Dig Mandarin students avoid repeating the same mistakes when they reach the middle and advanced levels, we’ll review how to use “和”. Let’s look at some examples:

1) 我喜欢吃苹果、香蕉、菠萝。(Wǒ xǐhuɑn chī pínɡɡuǒxiānɡjiāobōluó.)

I like to eat apple, banana, pineapple.

2) 火锅很好吃和我喜欢吃火锅。(Huǒɡuō hěn hǎochī hé wǒ xǐhuɑn chī huǒɡuō.)

The hot pot is delicious and I like to eat it.

3) 他现在在学习法语和英语,和他明年想学习汉语。

(Tā xiànzài zài xuéxí fáyǔ hé yīnɡyǔhé tā mínɡnián xiǎnɡ xuéxí hànyǔ.)

He studies French and English now, and he wants to study Chinese next year.

Now ask yourself, are all these sentences correct? If your answer is “Yes”, then you must read the following explanations carefully, If your answer is “No”, then you did a good job in understanding this conjunction word.

The three above examples actually indicate three error types that students often make: 1) omission by error, 2) addition by error, 3) misuse.

Why are the above three sentences wrong? We all know that the basic function of this word is to serve as a connection. To clear this up, we should understand the specific usage rules of “和” first.

1. To connect Nouns, Nominal Phrases, and Pronouns.

E.g.

 (1)我们家有三口人:爸爸、妈妈和我。(Wǒmen jiā yǒu sān kǒu rénbàbɑmāmɑ hé wǒ.)

Our family has three people: my Dad, my Mam and I.

(2)他和爷爷、奶奶一起去散步。(Tā hé yéyenǎinɑi yìqǐ qù sànbù.)

 He walked with his grandpa and grandma together.

(3)姐姐和妹妹、我和哥哥各拿了一箱水果。

(Jiějie hé mèimei, wǒ hé ɡēɡe ɡè nále yìxiānɡ shuǐɡuǒ.)

My old sister and young sister, my old brother and I take a box of fruits separately.

Notes

(1)(2):When there are three or more elements present, “和”should be placed between the last two elements as with (1), while a comma or a slight-pause mark will be used among the other elements. But if the first element is a pronoun, “和” should be placed between the first two elements, as with (2), while a comma or a slight-pause mark will be used among the other elements.

(3): When there are three or more elements present that indicate different levels, “和”can be used to express one level, and the others can be expressed with a slight-pause mark, a comma, or other conjunctions.

2. To connect Adjectives and Adjective Phrases, Verbs and Verbal Phrases, but not functioning as a predicate, then there are no special limits.

E.g.

(1)勤奋和坚持是成功的关键因素。

(Qínfèn hé jiānchí shì chénɡɡōnɡ de ɡuānjiàn yīnsù.)

Diligence and perseverance is the key factor of success.

(2)对于这次的机会,他充满了激动和兴奋。

(Duìyú zhècì de jīhuì, tā chōnɡmǎnle jīdònɡ hé xīnɡfèn.)

For this chance, he is full of thrill and excitement.

3. To connect Adjectives and Adjective Phrases, Verbs and Verbal Phrases as a predicate, the Adjectives and Verbs must share common elements before or after the predicate.

E.g.

(1)这次研讨会讨论和通过了三项提议。

(Zhècì yántǎohuì tǎolùn hé tōnɡɡuòle sānxiànɡ tíyì.)

The seminar discussed and adopted three proposals.

(2)峨眉山的景色非常的迷人和秀丽。

(éméishānde jǐnɡsè fēichánɡ de mírén hé xiùlì.)

Mount Emei’s scenery is very charming and beautiful.

Notes

(1): Shares a common Subject and Object.

(2): Shares a common Subject.

 

The usage rules of Conjunction “和” could be summarized into the following chart:

he in chinese

After reading the content above, can you now figure out what was wrong with the three examples we showed you at the beginning of this article?

The corrected sentences are as follows:

(1)’   我喜欢吃苹果、香蕉和菠萝。(Wǒ xǐhuɑn chī pínɡɡuǒxiānɡjiāo hé bōluó.)

I like to eat apples, bananas and pineapples.

(2)’火锅很好吃,我喜欢吃火锅。(Huǒɡuō hěn hǎochī, wǒ xǐhuɑn chī huǒɡuō.)

The hot pot is delicious and I like to eat it.

(3)’他现在在学习法语和英语,而且他明年想学习汉语。

(Tā xiànzài zài xuéxí fáyǔ hé yīnɡyǔ, érqiě tā mínɡnián xiǎnɡ xuéxí hànyǔ.)

He studies French and English now, and he wants to study Chinese next year.

Notes:

(1) : Goes against Rule 1, so we should change the last slight-pause mark into “和”.

(2)’: Consists of two clauses that go against the Rules (to connect Nouns and Nominal Phrases, Pronouns, Adjectives and Adjective Phrases, Verbs and Verbal Phrases), so we should leave out “和”.

(3)’: Expresses a progressive relationship, not a connective relationship, so we replaced “和” with “而且”(érqiě).

 

I hope this clears up how to properly use the conjunction “和”. Once you practice and get the hang of it, you will find that using “和”in your everyday speaking and writing will become quite easy and simple.

 

Reference:

徐沛,宋春阳. 基于语料库的并列连词“和”的偏误分析[J]. 语言应用研究,2011

Cecilia He

Cecilia majored in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. She has vast experience in educating her students on how to listen to and speak Chinese, and is trained to teach HSK courses. She has mastered the method and practice of teaching the structure, historical development, and relationships of languages as an academic subject, and has also done extensive research on Intercultural Communication and Sinology.