Skip main navigation

How to indicate the repetition or continuation of an action or a state in Chinese

看看, 想想, 休息休息, the reduplication of verbs, indicates a short time, a small quantity, a slight degree or an attempt, expressing a casual tone.

New words

再 zài adv. again, once more

-再见 zài jiàn see you

-再来 zài lái come again

-再去 zài qù go again

让 ràng v. to let, to allow

-不让 bú ràng not allow

告诉 gàosu v. to tell

-告诉我 ɡàosu wǒ tell me

-告诉他们 ɡàosu tāmen tell them

Language points

The interrogative sentence “……好吗?”

“好吗?” can be used to ask about another person’s willingness or idea. It means something like “shall we?”

(1) 我们一起去吃饭,好吗? Wǒmen yìqǐ qù chīfàn, hǎo mɑ ?

Let’s go to have a meal together, shall we?

(2) 你明天下午给我打电话,好吗? Nǐ mínɡtiān xiàwǔ ɡěi wǒ dǎ diànhuà, hǎo mɑ ?

You call me tomorrow afternoon,ok?

(3) 我们下午去看电影,好吗?Wǒmen xiàwǔ qù kàn diànyǐnɡ, hǎo mɑ ?

Let’s see a movie this afternoon, shall we?

reduplication of verbs

“一下 yíxià” is used after a verb to indicate a short action. We can say it in another way like 看看 想想 休息休息, it is called reduplication of verbs, this form indicates a short time, a small quantity, a slight degree or an attempt, expressing a relaxed and casual mood. It is often used in spoken Chinese.

when the verb has only one syllable like 看、想 , we could also say:看一看 想一想

V V V一V  
看看 kànkan 看一看 kàn yí kàn have a look
等等 děngdeng 等一等 děng yì děng wait a moment
休息休息 xiūxi xiūxi   have a rest
This article is from the free online

HSK Standard Course Level 2: 2.2

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education