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A Summary of the Adverbials 又、再、还

The adverbs 又(yòu),再(zài),and 还(hái) can all be translated into English as “again”. Although they all indicate the repetition of an action or a state, they are used differently in a sentence. 又 indicates that the repeated action had already taken place;再 indicates that the action is going to recur;还 is used in both interrogative and declarative sentences to express repetition which is NOT YET realized, but will be realized in the future.

1、又(yòu) is used to indicate the repetition of an action that has already taken place. When used in a negative sentence, 又 is used to indicate the repetition of the non-occurence of an action.

For example:
(1) 我们队又赢了。Wǒmenduì yòu yíngle. Our team won again.

(2) 他昨天没吃早饭。今天又没吃早饭。Tā zuótiān méi chī zǎofàn. Jīntiān yòu méi chī zǎofàn.
He did not have breakfast yesterday, and again he didn’t eat today.

Sometimes, 又 can also be used to indicate the repetition of an action that has not yet taken place. In this kind of situation, however, the action involved is expected to take place according to people’s past experience or natural law.

(3) 明天又是星期一。Míngtiān yòu shì xīngqí yī. Tomorrow will be Monday again.

2、再(zài) is used to indicate the repetition of an action that will take place in the future.

For example:

(1) 请再说一遍。Qǐng zàishuō yí biàn. Please say it again.

(2) 我刚才给田芳打了一个电话, 她不在家。我过会儿再打。
Wǒ gāngcái gěi Tiánfāng dǎle yígè diànhuà, tā bú zàijiā. Wǒguò huìr zài dǎ.
I called Tiánfāng just now, she’s not home. I’ll call her again later.

When used in a negative sentence, 再 is used to indicate the repetition of the non-occurence of an action that will not take place in the future.

Negative words occur before “再”

(3)我已经复习过课文了,今天不再复习了。Wǒ yǐjīng fùxíguò kèwénle, jīntiān bú zài fùxíle.
I already reviewed my lesson, I won’t review it again today.

Negative words occur after “再”

“再不、再别、再没”indicates an action which will not be repeated again or a state which will no longer continue.

(4) 自从2003年以来,我再没见过他。Zìcóng 2003 nián yǐlái, wǒ zài méi jiànguò tā.
I’ve never seen him again since 2003.
When there is an auxiliary verb in the sentence, “再” occurs after the auxiliary verb.

(5) 我昨天已经去了,今天不想再去了。Wǒ zuótiān yǐjīng qùle, jīntiān bùxiǎng zài qùle.
I went there yesterday, today I don’t want to go there again.

3、还(hái) is used in both interrogative and declarative sentences to express repetition which is NOT YET realized, but will be realized in the future.

For example:

(1)明天你还来吗?我还来。Míngtiān nǐ hái lái ma? Wǒ hái lái.
Will you come again tomorrow? I will.

Negative words are placed after “还”

(2)她还没有回家。Tā hái méiyǒu huí jiā. She’s not home yet.

还 can also be used in an interrogative or declarative sentence with an auxiliary verb想、要、应该, which emphasizes someone’s subjective desire or intention for the action to be repeated. It is placed before the auxiliary verb, and optional 再 can be placed after the auxiliary verb. Here 再emphasizes an objective need for the action to be repeated.

(3)这个电影很好,我还想(再)看一遍。Zhège diànyǐng hěn hǎo, wǒ hái xiǎng (zài) kàn yí biàn.
This movie is great, I’d like to watch it again.

Exercise

Choose the right adverb又、再、还 to fill in the blanks.

1、她昨天来晚了,今天 _ 来晚了。
2、他下星期 _ 要出差了。
3、我昨天给他打过电话了,今天不 _ 打了。
4、我 _ 没有买今天的报纸,我现在就去买。
5、请你 _ 重复一遍好吗?

Rita Zhang

Rita is a professional Mandarin teacher, has been teaching more than 8 years. She enjoys digging more about Chinese grammar and culture work and helping more learners. Now she is working at the one-on-one online Chinese school TouchChinese.

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