还 has two sounds: “huán” and “hái”. When 还 is pronounced as “huán”, it is a verb; when it is pronounced as “hái”, it is an adverb. The adverb 还 has many uses, some of which are easily confused with the uses of “再” and “又”. In this article, we’ve compiled some common uses of “还” and given related sample sentences. If you want to learn about the difference between “还” and “再”, you can go to the 15th lesson of our HSK 3 course. Furthermore, you can read our another article to learn about the differences between “再” and “又”.
1. 还(hái) – Expressing “again” in Chinese
“还” can express “again”. In this case, “还” can be used both in interrogative and declarative sentences to indicate that the recurrence of an action or a state has not happened yet, but will happen in the future. Moreover, it can be used before an auxiliary verb 想, 要 or 应该 to emphasize someone’s subjective desire or intention for recurrence of an action or a state, and the auxiliary verb can be omitted in specific contexts.
The lamb in this restaurant tastes good. Shall we come back tomorrow?
This book is great. I’d like to read it again.
One failure doesn’t matter; we can try a few more times.
2. Expressing “also” with 还(hái)
We can use 还 to express the English adverb “also”. It always comes before a verb or adjective to connect two clauses. The subject of the two clauses connected by “还” is the same.
I’m cold, and I’m also hungry.
He is a teacher and he is also a writer.
Besides running, he also likes playing basketball.
3. Expressing “still” with 还(hái)
还 can also be used to indicate that the state continues to exist or that the action is still in progress. The negative form is “还没(not…yet)”.
Success is still a long way off.
I haven’t seen you in years, but you’re still as pretty as before.
Haven’t you finished your homework yet at this late hour?
4. Expressing “even more” with 还(hái)
When used in a comparison, 还 indicates a higher degree. The structure is:
Noun 1 + 比(bǐ) + Noun 2 + 还 + Adj.
The company’s performance this year is better than that of last year.
You speak better Chinese than native speakers.
The weather forecast says it will be colder tomorrow than today.
5. Weakening positive adjectives with 还(hái)
Sometimes we will prefix positive adjectives with “还”, which indicates that something is not so good, but it is passable or acceptable.
He was in good mood.
I did okay in the exam.
This room is quite.
6. Expressing the tone of the speaker’s voice
“还” can be used to express a tone of praise, surprise, shock or sarcasm.
He’s really a smart little guy!
You can’t even answer such a simple question, yet you are a college student!
I thought the work had already been completed.