Top 10 Most Common Chinese mistakes made by English Speakers: #3
Hello 你好! It's your friendly Chinese teacher Yangyang here again.
This is the eighth in a series of posts on the most common mistakes English speakers make when speaking Chinese.
In my years of teaching Chinese, I have come to notice that English speakers tend to make similar mistakes over and over again. Today, I am going to tell you the most common mistake #3.
The goal here is to become aware of these mistakes to help you avoid making them in the first place!
Mistake #3: Assuming "and" = 和(hé)
English Speakers often assume that the Chinese word 和(hé) is equivalent to the English word "and". This assumption is wrong!
The English word "and" can connect words (e.g. I like apples and oranges), phrases (e.g. I like playing soccer and watching movies) and sentences (I am John and I am American). However, the Chinese word 和(hé) can only connect words or phrases. It CANNOT connect sentences.
For example, it's wrong to say "I am John 和(hé) I am American". "hé" cannot be used to connect these two sentences "I am John" and "I am American".
Now, you are probably wondering which word should I use when I want to say "I am John AND I am American"?
There are two ways to do this:
First: It's okay if you only say "I am John. PERIOD. I am American." Simply don't insert any word in between these two sentences. That's how most Chinese would say it. We just omit the word "and". If you think about it, it's actually a bad habit in English to use "and" all the time because "and" is merely a filler word here that contributes almost nothing to the meaning of the sentence.
Second: If you feel compelled to use the word "and", use the Chinese word "还有 (háiyǒu)" instead. "háiyǒu" means "in addition, also". Again, it's really unnecessary, but if you need a word to say "sentence + and + sentence, use "háiyǒu" instead of "hé".
I hope this helps you understand how the English "and" is different from "和(hé)". Please ask me any questions you have in the comments section below!
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