在 /不在 Zai/ bu zai

A video on Zai (在)/Bu zai (不在)

English places locational phrases differently from Chinese.  In English, “I work in the library;” however, in Chinese, it will be expressed differently.  To say “I work in the libary” in Chinese, Chinese say “我在图书馆工作。” (Subject+Location Phrase+ V(O): Literally, “I at library work.”)

Here is the special Chinese grammar English speakers need to pay special attention to:

在 + Location Word + V (O)

Example 1:

我在图书馆工作。   I work in the library

       Wǒ zài túshū guǎn gōngzuò

(Subject +zai + Location Word+ Verb)

Vocabulary for this sentence:

ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
1 I; me; my  
2 zài (located) at; (to be) in; to exist  
3 图书馆 圖書館  shūguǎn library; Classifiers:   
4 工作 工作 gōngzuò v. to work; n. work; task; Classifiers: 

Example 2

我喜欢在家吃饭,我不喜欢去饭馆吃饭。

Wǒ xǐhuān zài jiā chīfàn,     wǒ bù xǐhuān qù fànguǎn chīfàn.

I like to eat at home, I don’t like eat out.

ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
1 I; me; my  
2 喜欢 喜歡  huan to like  
3 在家 在家 zài jiā at home  
4 吃饭 吃飯 chī fàn to eat  
5 (negative prefix); not; no  
6 to go
7 饭馆 飯館 fàn guǎn restaurant; Classifiers: 

More Examples:

A: Where do you work?

你在哪儿工作?

Nǐ zài nǎ’er gōngzuò?

B: I work at  Starbucks.

我在星巴克工作。

Wǒ zài xīngbākè gōngzuò.

 

A: May I speak to Mr. Wang?(In Chinese, it would be expressed as “Is Mr. Wang in?”

     请问王先生在吗?      /     请问王先生在不在?

Qǐngwèn wáng xiānshēng zài ma?/Qǐngwèn wáng xiānshēng zài bùzài?

 

Response 1:

This is he speaking. Who is speaking please? [Literally, I exactly am. May [I] ask is which one?]

       我就是。请问是哪位?

Wǒ jiùshì. Qǐngwèn shì nǎ wèi?

 

Response 2:

Sorry, Mr. Wang is not here. [Literally, Mr. Wang is not in.]

        对不起,王先生不在。

Duìbùqǐ, wáng xiānshēng bùzài.

 

ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
ID Chinese Trad. Pinyin English Definition
1 you (informal, as opposed to courteous  )  
2 zài (located) at; (to be) in; to exist  
3 哪儿 哪兒  r where  
4 工作 工作 gōngzuò to work; job; work; task; Classifiers:   
5 I  
6 星巴克 星巴克 xīng  Starbucks,  
7 请问 請問 qǐng wèn Excuse me, may I ask…?  
8 wáng surname Wang  
9 先生 先生 xiānsheng Classifiers:  ; Mister (Mr.)  
10 a question particle  
11 就是 就是 jiù shì  precisely; exactly  
12 shì is; are; am  
13 哪位 哪位  wèi which one;

位 –a polite measure word for persons

 
14 对不起 對不起 duì bu  Sorry  
15 he or him;  
16 不在 不在  zài not to be present; to be out; not here

 

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