The difference between 碰见 (pèngjiàn), 遇见 (yùjiàn) and 见面 (jiànmiàn) in Chinese

The Chinese verbs 碰见 (pèngjiàn), 遇见 (yùjiàn) and 见面 (jiànmiàn) can be easy to get confused because of their similarity. Whilst all three words can mean “to meet”, they’re actually quite different in usage and grammar. Here’s a quick explanation of how to use these words correctly.

The first point to remember is that 碰见 and 遇见 are actually very similar to each other, whilst 见面 is very different.

碰见 and 遇见: unexpected encounters

碰见 and 遇见 are very similar in grammar and usage. Both of them mean “to meet”, but in the sense of “to bump into”, “to run into” or “to meet unexpectedly”. They’re very similar in meaning, so don’t worry too much about any differences between the two.

The other thing to remember about these two verbs is that they are transitive. That simply means that they can take an object - Wikipedia”). E.g. in “I met someone”, someone is the object.

Some example sentences for 碰见 and 遇见:

今天我碰见了一个老朋友。

Jīntiān wǒ pèngjiànle yīgè lǎo péngyǒu.

Today I bumped into an old friend.

我上个星期在聚会上偶然遇见了他。

Wǒ shàng gè xīngqí zài jùhuì shàng ǒurán yùjiànle tā.

I bumped into him at a party last week.

我从来没碰见过一个像你这样的女孩儿。

Wǒ cónglái méi pèngjiànguò yīgè xiàng nǐ zhèyàng de nǚháir.

I've never met a girl like you before.

我昨天在车站遇见了一个帅哥。

Wǒ zuótiān zài chēzhàn yùjiànle yīgè shuàigē.

I met a handsome guy at the bus stop yesterday.

Hopefully you can get the sense that 碰见 and 遇见 are about bumping into people unexpectedly. You might already know the person or be meeting them for the first time, but the meeting was unplanned.

Also note how 碰见 and 遇见 always take an object (they are transitive verbs).

见面: planned meetings

Unlike 碰见 and 遇见, 见面 is about meeting someone intentionally. This could be informally planning to see a friend or arranging to meet with your boss, but 见面 usually means it’s intentional.

The other big difference between 见面 and 碰见 / 遇见 is that 见面 is intransitive. That is, it can’t take any objects (it can’t have a noun after it). Notice that 见面 almost contains its own object with 面 (it’s a separable verb, with other words in between.“)).

This means you have to use structures like this:

[subject] 跟 [noun] 见面

You can use various conjunctions instead of 跟, e.g. 和 (hé) or 与 (yǔ), but remember that you can’t put that noun directly after 见面. Alternatively, you can just use 见面 without the noun at all.

Some example sentences for 见面:

我希望我们能多和你见面。

Wǒ xīwàng wǒmen néng duō hé nǐ jiànmiàn.

I hope that we will see you more often.

我们见面时间安排在一星期后。

Wǒmen jiànmiàn shíjiān ānpái zài yī xīngqí hòu.

Let's arrange to meet in one week's time.

你们经常见面吗?

Nǐmen jīngcháng jiànmiàn ma?

Do you often see each other?

我想我们以前没见过面。

Wǒ xiǎng wǒmen yǐqián méi jiànguò miàn.

I don't think we've met before.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please share them in the comments.

More A2 articles

  1. Using 了 (le) and 过 (guò) in Chinese grammar A2
  2. Five uses of 要 (yào) in Chinese grammar A2
  3. 以前 (yǐqián) and 以后 (yǐhòu) in Chinese grammar: before and after, past and future A2

See all A2 articles

Other articles for

  1. How to use 碰 (pèng), 碰见 (pèngjiàn) and 碰上 (pèngshàng) in Chinese grammar B1
  2. The difference between 碰见 (pèngjiàn), 遇见 (yùjiàn) and 见面 (jiànmiàn) in Chinese A2

Other articles for

  1. How to use 碰 (pèng), 碰见 (pèngjiàn) and 碰上 (pèngshàng) in Chinese grammar B1
  2. The difference between 碰见 (pèngjiàn), 遇见 (yùjiàn) and 见面 (jiànmiàn) in Chinese A2