Like 了(le), 着(zhe) is also one of the aspect particles that perplex many Chinese learners. It is generally used after a verb to indicate a continuous state in Chinese. However, this is not the only use of 着(zhe). In this post, we will give you a detailed introduction to 7 different uses of 着(zhe), which will help you master 着(zhe) in Chinese grammar.
Basic Usages of 着(zhe)
1. To indicate the continuation of an action or state
着(zhe) can be used after the predicate in a sentence, indicating that the action is in progress or that the state is continuing.
Don't interrupt them. They are talking.
I’ve been sitting here. I haven’t moved.
The girl in red dress is Xiao Mei.
2. To Express an Imperative Mood
着(zhe) can be used after a verb or an adjective of degree to express an imperative mood.
Here are some examples:
Listen, it’s just a lie.
Hurry up! Everyone is waiting for you!
Please lay this vase gently. It’s very expensive.
3. Used to Form a Preposition with a Verb
着(zhe) can be added after certain verbs to make them prepositions, for example, 沿着(yánzhe), 挨着(āizhe), 朝着(cháozhe), etc.
Go straight down this road and you’ll find his home.
Our house is next to the church.
I’ve been working towards this goal.
4. Adj + 着呢(zhe ne)
着呢(zhe ne) comes after some adjectives to indicate a strong degree and is often used in spoken Chinese.
Don’t worry. I’m fine.
It’s lively here today.
It is 7 o'clock, and the party is far from over.
Advanced Usages of 着(zhe)
5. Verb 1 + 着 + Verb 2
In lesson 9 of our HSK level 3 course, we’ve explained the structure “Verb1+着+（Object1）+Verb2+（Object2）”. It is used to indicate two actions taking place at the same time, with the first action being the accompanying state or the manner of the second action. Keep in mind that Verb 2 is the main action and Verb 1 is the accompanying action.
The child was crying for mom.
My mom is sitting over there talking.
He is talking on the phone.
6. Verb + 着 + Verb + 着 + 就 +……+ 了
The structure “Verb + 着 + Verb + 着 + 就 + …… + 了” indicates the sudden occurrence of a new action or state during an action or state.
Somehow the two men started to quarrel with each other while they were talking.
I just ran into a door while I was walking.
The movie was so boring that I fell asleep while watching it.
7. Verb + 着 + 玩
“Verb + 着 + 玩” means the action of a verb is just for fun and doesn’t have to be taken seriously.
Calm down. I was only joking.
Don’t be angry. He is just joking with you.
I drew these pictures just for fun.