How to use 跟 (gēn) and 也 (yě) correctly in Chinese grammar

Some people learning Mandarin Chinese can get the words 跟 (gēn) and 也 (yě) confused, or use them incorrectly. The two words have related meanings and functions, but they're used quite differently. Here's a quick explanation of the differences between 跟 and 也.

跟 (gēn): “and”, “with” (conjunction)

跟 is a [conjunction]( that means “and” or “with”. It's usually introduced in textbooks as meaning “with”, but it's more versatile than the word “with” in English. It is simply used to link nouns together, like “and” in English. Because of that, it's often equivalent to the conjunction 和 (hé).

As with 和, you can't use 跟 to link verbs or verb phrases. This is an important point, and using 跟 or 和 to link verbs is a common mistake that people learning Mandarin often make.

Always remember that you can only use 跟 to link nouns together. That is, it links things not actions.

Have a look at some example sentences for 跟:


Wǒ gēn wǒ nánpéngyǒu qù Běijīng de.

I went to Beijing with my boyfriend.


Wǒ gēn wǒ bàba dōu shì lǎoshī.

My father and I are both teachers.


Nǐ gēn nǐ de shìyou hédelái ma?

Do you get on well with your flat mates?


Wǒ xǐhuan xué Zhōngguó de lìshǐ gēn wénxué.

I like studying Chinese history and literature.

As you can see, 跟 is simply used to link nouns together, where “with” or “and” might be used in English.

也 (yě): “also” (adverb)

也 is an adverb meaning “also”, “too”, “as well”, “either” etc. Unlike 跟, it links verbs, verb phrases and adjectives (remember that adjectives often behave like verbs in Chinese). That's the most important difference between 跟 and 也:跟 links nouns, 也 links verbs.

Have a look at some example sentences for 也:


Wǒ bàba shì lǎoshī, wǒ yěshì lǎoshī.

My father is a teacher; I am also a teacher.


Wǒ qù wèn tā le, tā yě bù zhīdào zěnme bàn.

I went to ask her, and she didn't know what to do either.


Tā yě hěn shuài.

He is also good-looking.

*A:* 我喜欢炒饭。

Wǒ xǐhuan chǎofàn.

I like fried rice. *B:* 我也喜欢。

Wǒ yě xǐhuan.

I like it too.

Notice how 也 always links verbs or adjectives, and 跟 always links nouns.

See also:

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