The English word “again” can translated as “再” or “又” in Chinese. “再” and “又” both indicate repetition, however, they are used differently in sentences. For many Chinese learners , it is rather difficult to figure out the difference between the usage of these two words in specific sentences. This article gives you a detailed analysis of the usage of these two words as well as a lot of sample sentences to help you understand and master these two “again” in Chinese.
1. Differences between “再” and “又”
"Again" in Chinese: 再(zài) and 又(yòu)
“再” and “又” both mean again, indicating the recurrence of the same action. However, “又” is used when the recurrence has happened and there is often a “了” behind, while “再” is used when the recurrence has not happened yet.
This book is so well written that I read it again yesterday, and I’ll read it again when I have time.
I was late again this morning. (being late has already happened today)
Don’t be late again tomorrow. (Tomorrow has not come and being late has not happened)
The food in that restaurant is delicious. I went there again for lunch today. (I went to the restaurant again for lunch today)
The food in that restaurant is delicious. I’m going to there again for lunch today. (I’m going to the restaurant again for lunch today)
Note 1: Sometimes “又” can also used for recurrence that has not occurred yet, but the recurrence should be periodic and predictable. In this case, “了” can be dropped.
We have a lot of work to do in the company today. It seems that we have to work overtime again tonight.
(working overtime is predictable because of a lot of work)
The weather forecast says it will rain again tomorrow.
(Raining again tomorrow is predicated by the weather forecast)
Tomorrow is payday again. (Wages are paid periodically)
Note 2: In certain context, “又” can imply some kind of emotion and express the anger, annoyance, impatience or excitement of the speaker.
Why are you late again today? (anger)
Alas, tomorrow is Monday again. I don’t want to work. (annoyance)
Summer is here and I can wear skirts again! (excitement)
再(zài) and 又(yòu) : "besides" / "in addition to" in Chinese
Both “再” and “又” also mean besides or in addition to, indicating supplement and addition. Similarly, when these two words are followed by a verb, “又” is used when the action of the verb has happened and “再” is used when the action of the verb has not happened.
Try to compare the sentences below:
I paid the money back and gave him one thousand dollars of interest. (“I” already gave him interest)
You pay the money back and give him one thousand dollars of interest. (“You” have not given him interest at this time)
He paid a fine of tens of thousands and spent ten years in prison. (He has already served his prison sentence )
He has to pay a fine of tens of thousands and spend ten years in prison. (He has not served his prison sentence yet)
I ate a bowl of beef noodles and drank a bottle of beer. (I already drank the beer)
I’ll have a bowl of beef noodles and a bottle of beer. (I have not drunk the beer)
2. Advanced uses of 又(yòu) and 再(zài)
“又… 又…” in Chinese sentence pattern
The sentence structure “又… 又…” can indicate the coexistence of two actions or states.
The apple is big and red. It looks delicious.
Inside the house is cold and dark.
He is crying and screaming like a child.
“再” indicates more, to a higher degree.
If only I were a bit taller.
If you had come earlier, you would have seen him.
Sir, can you do cheaper?
"Verb 1 + 再 + Verb 2" in Chinese sentence pattern
The pattern "…Verb 1 + 再 + Verb 2…" indicates that one action taking place after another one.
I will finish my homework before I go out.
I am used to brushing my teeth before washing my face.
Drink this milk before you go to bed.
3. One more thing
Comparing “再” and “又” is an important grammar point in HSK 3. If you are preparing for the HSK 3 test or want to learn Chinese in an immersive and structured way, you can try our Chinese course for HSK level 3. Pass HSK 3 test guaranteed!