Chinese HSK 4 Grammar Points

Using “Lai” to express “in order to”

One concept that tends to be really difficult for english speakers learning Chinese is that in Chinese many connecting phrases are completely removed. The most awkward to get used to is the word “is”, but there are many others that are replaced or removed that you will need to get used to as well.

One is the word “to” in the context of “in order to”. Take this English example: “use the phone to call your father”. In Chinese you can represent this same concept with the word 来 lái. Lái technically means “up”, but in Chinese it is used as a sort of padding word that can mean many things in many contexts. Here it means “in order to”.

For Example:

手机给你爸爸打电话。

Yòng shǒujī lái gěi nǐ bàba dǎ diànhuà.

Use your phone to call your father.

Or

这种方法赢得就不公平的。

Yòng zhè zhǒng fāngfǎ lái yíngdé jiù bù gōngpíng de.

Using this method to win is not fair.

Or

我们需要通过培训提高服务质量 。

Wǒmen xūyào tōngguò péixùn lái tígāo fúwù zhìliàng.

We need to improve our service quality through training.

This type of grammar structure is used much less frequently in Chinese than in English, but as an English speaker it will feel great to fill out your sentences while speaking.

Thanks for Reading!

~Alex Zito-Wolf

Product Manager + Software Developer. Interested in Travel, Culture, and the Internet.

Product Manager + Software Developer. Interested in Travel, Culture, and the Internet.