When it comes to mastering Mandarin Chinese, learning the nuances of vocabulary is a crucial step towards fluency. One such challenge involves two words that often perplex even advanced learners: 通过(tōng guò) and 经过(jīng guò). While these two words share similar meanings and can sometimes be used interchangeably, they also have their own distinct uses In the following article, we will delve deeper into the similarities and differences between 通过(tōng guò) and 经过(jīng guò), providing comprehensive explanations and practical examples to solidify your understanding.
(You can check a detailed explanation video on the use of 通过 as well as more HSK-related grammar tutorial videos here.)
1. As a Verb
As a verb, 通过(tōng guò) signifies the act of passing through a place from one end to another. For instance, it can describe vehicles being prohibited from passing through a pedestrian crossing or someone successfully meeting the requirements of an examination.
This is a pedestrian crossing, vehicles cannot pass through it.
(Zhè shì yì tiáo bù xíng jiē，qì chē bù néng tōng guò.)
He passed the HSK6 examination.
(Tā tōngguò le HSK 6 de kǎoshì.)
2. As a Preposition
Notably, 通过(tōng guò) also serves as a preposition, indicating that a particular outcome was achieved through external means or another person’s influence.
I found her via her mom.
(Wǒ tōngguò tā de māma cái zhǎo dào le tā.)
1. As a Verb
经过(jīng guò) as a verb implies physically passing by a location or experiencing something for a period of time. It emphasizes the process and can be used to express encountering a flower shop on a daily commute or having undergone a challenging trip.
I pass by this flower shop every day.
(wǒ měi tiān dōu jīng guò zhè gè huā diàn.)
I’ve just had a trying trip, and I’m very sleepy now.
(Wǒ gāng jīngguò yí tàng xīn kǔ de lǚ xíng，xiàn zài hěn kùn.)
2. As a Noun
经过(jīng guò) can function as a noun denoting a process or course of events in certain contexts.
We never know the process of this thing.
(Wǒmen yǒngyuǎn bù zhīdào zhè jiàn shìqíng de jīngguò.)
Comparing 通过(tōng guò) and 经过(jīng guò)
Both words can express achieving a goal through someone or something’s influence.
After going through the teacher’s explanation, I finally understood this grammar point.
(Jīngguò / tōngguò lǎo shī de jiěshì, wǒ zhōngyú míngbái le zhè gè yǔfǎ diǎn.)
When we consider their pure meanings, 通过(tōng guò) emphasizes the method or means of achieving something, while 经过(jīng guò) emphasizes the process. However, in this case, 通过(tōng guò) functions as a preposition, and 经过(jīng guò) serves as a verb.
His Chinese language skills improved quickly by making friends with Chinese people.
(Tōngguò jiāo zhōngguó péngyǒu，tā de hànyǔ shuǐpíng tígāo dé hěn kuài.)
He finally succeeded after thousands of failures.
(Jīngguò shàng qiān cì de shībài hòu，tā zhōngyú chénggōng le.)
When used as a verb, 通过(tōng guò) means “to pass through from one end to another,” while 经过(jīng guò) means “to go by way of” without necessarily passing through a specific place.
Go straight ahead, go through that bridge, then turn right, and you’ll see it.
(Nǐ wǎng qián zǒu, tōngguò nà gè qiáo, ránhòu yòu zhuǎn, jiù kàn dào le.)
The school bus goes past the museum every hour on the hour.
(Xiào chē zǒngshì zhèng diǎn jīngguò bówùguǎn.)
As a noun, 经过(jīng guò) denotes a process or course of development, whereas 通过(tōng guò) cannot be used as a noun.
I forget the process of this matter.
(Wǒ wàngjì le shìqíng de jīngguò.
Navigating the fine distinctions between similar vocabulary words, such as通过(tōng guò) and 经过(jīng guò) , is an essential step towards mastering the Chinese language. By understanding their semantic nuances, exploring their varied usage as verbs, prepositions, and nouns, learners can effectively express their ideas with clarity and precision.
Remember, 通过 emphasizes the method or means of achieving something, while 经过(jīng guò) focuses on the process itself. Whether you are discussing passing through a physical space, achieving a goal influenced by external factors, or describing a course of development, selecting the appropriate word will enhance your communication skills and convey your intended message accurately. Happy learning!
Now let’s do some exercises to test your new knowledge of these two words. Fill in blanks with either 通过 or 经过.
- (1)____这几个月的学习，我的汉语水平提高了很多。(____zhè jǐ gè yuè de xuéxí, wǒ de hànyǔ shuǐpíng tígāo le hěn duō.) Through these past few months of studying, my Chinese proficiency has improved significantly.
- 去公司的路上，我们会____那个公园吗？(Qù gōng sī de lù shang，wǒ men huì ____nà gè gōng yuán ma) On the way to the office, will we pass by that park?
- 祝贺你_____了面试。(Zhù hè nǐ _____le miànshì.) Congratulations on passing the interview!
- 她把事情的_____都告诉我了。(Tā bǎ shìqíng de _____dōu gàosù wǒ le.) She told me all about the process of the matter.
- 我们应该____运动来减肥。(Wǒmen yīnggāi ____yùndòng lái jiǎnféi.) We should lose weight by exercising.
- 会议室在前面，_____一扇大门，左边就是。(Huìyì shì zài qián miàn,_____yí shàn dà mén，zuǒ biān jiù shì.) The meeting room is ahead, pass through the door, and it’s on the left.