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How to Say It depends on in Chinese

Dec.09, 2019

"It depends (on……)" is a commonly used phrase when you want to answer questions in a specific way.


I'm not sure if you've noticed or not, for some fixed common sayings, different languages could have totally different ways. Direct translation normally doesn't work on those cases. "It depends (on……)" is a typical example.


The only way to get used to them is to understand the literate meaning first and then keep applying them.


The general "it depends" in Chinese is:


(要)看 情况

(yào)kàn qíngkuàng


literally means "(it needs to) see the situation", literally speaking indeed quite different from "it depends" but easy to understand that they express the same.


For instance,


A: How long are you staying in Shanghai this time?

你这次在上海住多长时间?

Nǐ zhècì zài Shànghǎi zhù duōcháng shíjiān?


B: I don't know, it depends.

我不知道,看情况。

Wǒ bù zhīdào, kàn qíngkuàng。


But if you want to explain further about "it depends on who/what/how/when/where…… / it's up to……", you can use another pattern:


(要)看……

(yào)kàn……


It literally  means "(it needs to) see……" For instance:


A: Do we have dinner outside tomorrow?

我们明天在外面吃饭吗?

Wǒmen míngtiān zài wàimiàn chīfàn ma?


B: It depends on the weather.

看天气吧。

Kàn tiānqì ba。


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A: When do we leave?

我们什么时候走?

Wǒmen shénme shíhou zǒu?


B: It's up to you.

看你。

kànnǐ。


A: How long does it take to pass HSK5?

通过HSK5需要花多长时间?

Tōngguò HSK5 xūyào huā duōcháng shíjiān?


B: It depends on how much time you spend on study and the learning method.

看你花多长时间学习和你的学习方法。

Kàn nǐ huā duō cháng shíjiān hé nǐ de xuéxí fāngfǎ。


That's all for today. You got it? With more and more common expressions explained here, as long as you keep them in mind and practising as much as you, I'm sure a higher level of Chinese fluency is not far ahead waiting for you!

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