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Because, If and Not Only: Chinese Conjunctions Part 2

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We have already covered several Chinese conjunctions in our first article, And, Or and But: Chinese Conjunctions Part 1. The following article covers three more conjunctions: causal, conditional and progressive.

Click on the red links to see a full breakdown of all the sentences and Chinese characters throughout the article.

4. 因果关系 (yīn guǒ guān xì) Causal Conjunctions

Commonly used causal conjunctions:

因为 (yīn wèi), 由于 (yóu yú), 因此 (yīn cǐ), 所以 (suǒ yǐ), 以便 (yǐ biàn), 以致 (yǐ zhì) etc

These conjunctions express cause and effect or reason and results, such as ‘because’, ‘therefore’ etc

A common pair of causal conjunctions are 因为 (yīn wèi) …所以 (suǒ yǐ). They are used at the beginning of their clauses or before the predicate.

1) Omission of subjects in 因为 (yīn wèi)。。。所以 (suǒ yǐ) sentences

When the subjects in both the 因为 (yīn wèi) clause and the 所以 (suǒ yǐ) clause are identical, the subject can be removed from the second clause.

In this situation, 因为 (yīn wèi) is placed after the subject in the first clause.

因为明天要上学,所以她很早就睡了。(yīn wèi míng tiān yào shàng xué, suǒ yǐ tā hěn zǎo jiù shuì le) Because she will go to school tomorrow, she went to sleep very early.

2) Order of Clauses

The subject can also be removed from the first clause and the 所以 (suǒ yǐ) can also be omitted from the second clause.

因为明天要上学,(所以)她很早就睡了。(yīn wèi míng tiān yào shàng xué, (suǒ yǐ) tā hěn zǎo jiù shuì le) Because she will go to school tomorrow, she went to sleep very early.

Although the 所以 (suǒ yǐ)  clause must always be in the second clause, the 因为 (yīn wèi) clause can be in either the first or the second clause.

她迟到了,因为路上堵车。(tā chí dào le, yīn wèi lù shang dǔ chē)

She was late because of a traffic jam.

3) Omission of connecting words

Sometimes it is possible to only have either 因为 (yīn wèi) or 所以 (suǒ yǐ) in a sentence expressing cause and effect.

圣诞节快到了,所以很多人去商场。(shèng dàn jié kuài dào le, suǒ yǐ hěn duō rén qù shāng chǎng.) Christmas is coming, so there are many people in the shopping mall.

因为 (yīn wèi) + noun phrase

Noun phrase + 所以 (suǒ yǐ) situation + 是因为 (shì yīn wèi) situation

由于 (yóu yú) – owing to, due to, because of

由于 (yóu yú) can be placed before or after the subject:

由于从小和奶奶一起生活,她和奶奶的感情很好。(yóu yú cóng xiǎo hé nǎi nai yī qǐ shēng huó, tā hé nǎi nai de gǎn qíng hěn hǎo.)

Because she lived with her grandma from childhood, their relationship is very close.

由于 (yóu yú) situation + 所以 (suǒ yǐ) situation

Or

由于 (yóu yú) situation + 因而 (yīn ér)  situation

由于这批货的价格非常好,因而很快就卖完了。(yóu yú zhè pī huò de jià gé fēi cháng hǎo, yīn ér hěn kuài jiù mài wán le)

Because the price of this product was very good, they sold out very quickly.

The inclusion of 所以 (suǒ yǐ) or 因而 (yīn ér) makes the relationship between cause and effect more clear.

Situation + 是由于 (shì yóu yú)

The result can be stated first, but 由于 (yóu yú) must be preceded by 是 (shì).

5. 条件关系 (tiáo jiàn guān xì) Conditional & Hypothetical Conjunctions

不管 (bù guǎn), 只要 (zhǐ yào) and 除非等 (chú fēi děng) are all examples of conditional conjunctions.

要是 (yào shi), 如果 (rú guǒ), 假如 (jiǎ rú), 假使 (jiǎ shǐ), 倘若 (tǎng ruò) and 倘使 (tǎng shǐ) are often used to express ’if’…then’ situations.

A conditional conjunction is a single word or phrase used at the beginning of a clause that describes a condition that needs to be met.

要是 (yào shi) and 如果 (rú guǒ) are mainly used in spoken and written Chinese, whereas 假如 (jiǎ rú) is more likely to be used in formal speech or written Chinese.

假使 (jiǎ shǐ), 倘若 (tǎng ruò) and 倘使 (tǎng shǐ) are usually found in formal written Chinese.

There is no word in Chinese that specifically expresses ’then‘, but the adverb  (jiù) is usually added to the second clause.

你要是不来,请提前告诉我。(nǐ yào shi bù lái, qǐng tí qián gào su wǒ.)

If you do not come, please tell me in advance.

如果你周末没有安排,一块去看电影怎么样?(rú guǒ nǐ zhōu mò méi yǒu ān pái, yī kuài qù kàn diàn yǐng zěn me yàng.)

If you don’t have any arrangements this weekend, how about going to the cinema?

假使你是一只小鸟,你就可以飞翔。(jiǎ shǐ nǐ shì yī zhī xiǎo niǎo, nǐ jiù kě yǐ fēi xiáng.)

If you are a bird, you can fly.

倘若我不把你当朋友,我就不会去看你。(tǎng ruò wǒ bù bǎ nǐ dāng péng you, wǒ jiù bù huì qù kàn nǐ.)  

If we’re not friends, it’s unlikely that I will go and see you.

‘If…then’ sentences with 的话 (de huà)

An ‘if clause’ can end with a 的话 (de huà):

如果你说的都是事实的话,那么就是他在说谎。(rú guǒ nǐ shuō de dōu shì shì shí de huà, nà me jiù shì tā zài shuō huǎng.)

If what you said is true, then it is him who is the liar.

只有 (zhǐ yǒu) and 只要 (zhǐ yào)

只要 (zhǐ yào) can be used to express ‘as long as’. Both 只有 (zhǐ yǒu) and 只要 (zhǐ yào) can express conditional conjunctions.

However,  the condition 只有 (zhǐ yǒu) talks about the essential condition, and is used with  (cái).

只有早点起来,我才能赶上那趟火车。(zhǐ yǒu zǎo diǎn qǐ lai, wǒ cái néng gǎn shàng nà tàng huǒ chē.)

We can only catch the train if we get up early.

只要 (zhǐ yào) expresses the sufficient condition and is always used with  (jiù) and 便 (biàn).

只要出门,他就一定会带伞。(zhǐ yào chū mén, tā jiù yī dìng huì dài sǎn.)

As long as he goes out, he will take an umbrella.

Sometimes, for the same condition, the meaning will be different between 只有 (zhǐ yǒu) and 只要 (zhǐ yào) .

只有他去,才能解决问题。(zhǐ yǒu tā qù, cái néng jiě jué wèn tí.)

Only he can solve the problem.

只要他去,就能解决问题。(zhǐ yào tā qù, jiù néng jiě jué wèn tí.)

As long as he comes, the problem will be solved.

除非… , (chú fēi…,cái)(否则 (fǒu zé),要不然 (yào bù rán))

除非 (chú fēi) can be used to express ‘only of’ or ‘unless’:

除非获得她的同意,否则谁也不能进这个办公室。(chú fēi huò dé tā de tóng yì, fǒu zé shéi yě bù néng jìn zhè ge bàn gōng shì.)

No one can enter this office room unless get her permission.

要不然 (yào  rán)  and 否则 (fǒu zé)

The phrase 要不然  (yào bù rán)  means ‘otherwise’ and is used in the second clause or sentence.

快点,要不然我们要迟到了。(kuài diǎn, yào bù rán wǒ men yào chí dào le)  

Hurry up, otherwise we will be late.

不管 (bù guǎn),无论 (wú lùn),不论 (bù lùn)

These three bigrams mean ‘regardless’ or ‘no matter’, and are always used with  (yě) and  (dōu).

不管你说什么,我都相信她。(bù guǎn nǐ shuō shén me, wǒ dōu xiāng xìn tā.)

Regardless of what you say, I will always trust her.

6. 递进关系 (dì jìn guān xì) Progressive Conjunctions

Commonly used progressive conjunctions:

不但 (bù dàn), 不仅 (bù jǐn), 而且 (ér qiě), 何况 (hé kuàng),  (bìng),  (qiě),  (gèng) and 甚至等 (shèn zhì děng)。

不但 (bù dàn), 不仅 (bù jǐn) (不光 (bù guāng), 不只 (bù zhǐ), 不单 (bù dān)) are always used with 而且 (ér qiě), 并且 (bìng qiě),  (yě),  (hái) and  yòu).

她不但长得漂亮,还很聪明。(tā bù dàn zhǎng de piào liang, hái hěn cōng ming.)

She is not only beautiful, but also very smart.

不光我去过中国,她也去过。(bù guāng wǒ qù guò zhōng guó, tā yě qù guò.)

Not only have I been to China before, but so has she.

 (gèng), 甚至 (shèn zhì) and 进而 (jìn ér) are used in the second half of a sentence, which means the second part of the sentence will be longer than the first half.

甚至 (shèn zhì) is always used with  (yě) and  (dōu).

我喜欢吃饼干,更爱吃巧克力。(wǒ xǐ huan chī bǐng gān, gèng ài chī qiǎo kè lì.)

I like cookies, but I love chocolate more.

他工作很多,甚至周末都在加班。(tā gōng zuò hěn duō, shèn zhì zhōu mò dōu zài jiā bān)  

He works so much, he even works on the weekend.

Don’t forget to read Chinese Conjunctions Part 1.

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Get the Because, If and Not Only: Chinese Conjunctions Part 2 PDF

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