Posted by Grace Feng on April 17, 2013
This post is to answer a reader’s question regarding the usage of character “将 jiāng“. It might look confusing when character “将 jiāng” is being used in seemingly random places. For example, the following two examples adopt different meanings of “将 jiāng“:
tā jiāng dēng dǎkāi.
He turns on the light.
tā jiāng líkāi zhèlǐ.
He will leave here.
In example 1, 将 jiāng is equivalent as “把 bǎ“. The sentence pattern in example 1 is like this:
who + 将 + what + verb
It’s similar to the English pattern as “have something + past tense verb”. You can find more detailed explanation on the usage of “把 bǎ” from this lesson: Lesson 10 How to understand and use Chinese sentence pattern “…把…”. It’ll help you understand the usage of 将 jiāng in this way. It’s exactly the same as “把 bǎ“. In essence, example 1 can’t be written this way: 他把灯打开 tā bǎ dēng dǎkāi.
Example 2 demonstrates the second common usage of 将 jiāng. It means: “will; going to”. However, please don’t use 将 jiāng in any future tense sentence indiscriminately! As a matter of fact, I’d suggest you to avoid using 将 jiāng of this meaning in your spoken Chinese if you are not confident enough in using it . Using 将 jiāng as “will” adds weight to the sentence to indicate significant cause behind the things that are going to happen. It is better to use its other counterpart, such as “会 huì“, “要 yào” in your spoken Chinese for “will; going to”.
For example, in your spoken Chinese, to express “He will leave here.”, you can use both of the following with no concern:
他会离开这里. (tā huì líkāi zhèlǐ.)
他要离开这里. (tā yào líkāi zhèlǐ.)
But if you say “他将离开这里.”, people might look at you and wait for more to come. Because by using “将” in your sentence, you’re implying that “his leaving” is a very significant decision. The difference between “将 jiāng” and “会 huì” & “要 yào” are subtle. 将 jiāng is also frequently used in poems.
Character 将 can also be pronounced as “jiàng” as the meaning of “general”. It can also be used with other characters as words to carry other meanings, which I will not cover in this post. The goal of this post is to clarify on the two most common usages of 将 jiāng. Hope my explanation helps.
Category: Chinese vocabulary
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