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.
Some example sentences for 碰见 and 遇见:
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:
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:
If you have any questions or suggestions, please share them in the comments.
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Other articles for 见
- How to use 碰 (pèng), 碰见 (pèngjiàn) and 碰上 (pèngshàng) in Chinese grammar B1
- The difference between 碰见 (pèngjiàn), 遇见 (yùjiàn) and 见面 (jiànmiàn) in Chinese A2