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Practice Reading Chinese with a Chat Story

When you’re learning Mandarin, if you’re just learning ‘textbook’ Chinese, in stuffy, scripted dialogues, it can be really hard to follow along when you have real conversations with native Chinese speakers! 

That’s why it’s SO important to learn colloquial language that real Chinese native speakers use every day!

Test your Chinese reading comprehension with this “Texting Story” video, between two Chinese native speakers: two high school guys (Li Ping and Sun Quan) that happen to be classmates as well! Check out their conversation, and the funny ending as well!

If you’re having trouble following along in the video, DON'T WORRY! The language in this texting exchange is a bit advanced, so be sure to check out our breakdown of the conversation below, complete with the Chinese characters, pinyin, and English, as well as a note about the text, and then give the video another try!

Language Breakdown

zhōu sì wǎn shang...
Thursday night...

李平: 哥们儿,你后天要干嘛/吗
lǐ píng: gē men(r) nǐ hòu tiān yào gàn má
Li Ping: Bro, what are you doing the day after tomorrow?

孙全: 周一要考试了,估计周末要好好儿准备一下。
sūn quán: zhōu yī yào kǎo shì le gū jì zhōu mò yào hǎo hāo(r) zhǔn bèi yí xia
Sun Quan: There’s a test on Monday, I expect I’ll need to prepare well for it on the weekend.

李平: 嗯?周一要考哪门啊?我怎么不知道!
lǐ píng: én zhōu yī yào kǎo nǎ mén a wǒ zěn me bù zhī dào
Li Ping: Huh? What class is the test for on Monday? How did I not know! 

孙全: 英语啊。
sūn quán: yīng yǔ a
Sun Quan: English, duh!

李平: 英语?明天不就是咱们的英语考试了吗?
lǐ píng: yīng yǔ míng tiān bú jiù shì zán men bān de yīng yǔ kǎo shì le ma
Li Ping: English? But isn’t the English test for our class tomorrow?

孙全: 不会吧?真的假的?
sūn quán: bú huì ba zhēn de jiǎ de
Sun Quan: No way! Really?

李平: 真的啊!
lǐ píng: zhēn de a
Li Ping: Really!

孙全: 天啊,这怎么办?
sūn quán: tiān a zhè zěn me bàn
Sun Quan: Oh my gosh, what do I do about this?

李平: 你够强了。
lǐ píng: nǐ gòu qiáng le
Li Ping: You’re strong enough./You’ve got this.

孙全: 那你觉得我不用复习就能考得好吗?
sūn quán: nà nǐ jué de wǒ bú yòng fù xí jiù néng kǎo de hǎo ma
Sun Quan: Then do you think I don’t need to review, and can do well on the test just like that?

李平: 打错了,是你够呛了。
lǐ píng: dǎ cuò le shì nǐ gòu qiàng le
Li Ping: That was a typo, it was ‘you're in trouble’/‘you don’t have this’.

孙全: 哈哈,是的,我完蛋了。
sūn quán: hā ha shì de wǒ wán dàn le
Sun Quan: Haha, yeah, I’m done for.

Language Note: 够呛 (gòu qiàng) vs. 够强 (gòu qiáng)

As we saw in the above exchange, 够呛 (gòu qiàng) and 够强 (gòu qiáng) have two very different meanings!

Within the phrase 够强 (gòu qiáng), 够 (gòu) means “enough”, and 强 (qiáng) means “strong” or “powerful”. Together, this phrase means that someone is strong, or they can surely do something - kind of like “You got this!” in English

On the other hand, 够呛 (gòu qiàng) is a word that means “unlikely”, “unbearable”, or “terrible”, so if you use 够呛 (gòu qiàng) in reference to someone, it can mean that they’re either not a good person, or they’re not likely going to be able to do something. In the conversation, it’s a bit similar to “You don’t have this” or “You’re in trouble” in English.

So, be careful when you’re using these in conversations - don’t mix up 够强 (gòu qiáng) and 够呛  (gòu qiàng)!

Like this cute mix up? Check out our Watch Your Tones comic strip series for more fun ways to practice reading Chinese!

Want to learn how to go from memorizing individual Chinese characters to reading full sentences in Chinese? Check out our Chinese Character Reader course, with fun animated videos, voice actors, and jam-packed practical, colloquial Chinese! The first two units are free, so start here with Lesson 1:

Just starting out learning Chinese? Start learning Chinese with our Beginner Conversational Course here.

Have a question? Let us know in the comments below!