The 要是…就 (yàoshi…jiù) construction in Chinese grammar

The 要是…就 (yàoshi…jiù) construction is a very common way to form conditional statements in Chinese. Conditional statements are simply sentences that involve “if” in English.

The basic structure for using 要是…就 is:

要是

[condition],就 [result]

So you start the sentence with 要是 - “if”, then you give the condition. That’s the first part done. Then you just add another phrase after it with 就 and some action or result for the condition.

Let’s have a look at some example sentences:

要是卖完了,就算了。

Yàoshi màiwánle, jiù suànle.

If it's sold out, then just forget it.

要是你不喜欢,就不吃。

Yàoshi nǐ bù xǐhuan, jiù bù chī.

If you don't like it, then don't eat it.

要是他们没有发现,就没问题了。

Yàoshi tāmen méiyǒu fāxiàn, jiù méi wèntíle.

If they hadn't noticed, there wouldn't have been any problems.

This is a very versatile structure, and it’s usually quite easy to use because it’s similar to how “if” sentences are formed in English. Say the “if” word, give the condition, then give the result.

要是…就 with a subject

Be careful when adding a subject in the result or action part of a 要是 sentence! The structure for this is:

要是

[condition],[subject] 就 [result]

As you can see, the subject comes before 就. Have a look at some example sentences for 要是 sentences with a subject in the result:

要是他不同意,他就会说。

Yàoshi tā bù tóngyì, tā jiù huì shuō.

If he doesn't agree, he'll say.

要是你不还给他,他就会生气!

Yàoshi nǐ bù huán gěi tā, tā jiù huì shēngqì!

If you don't give it back to him, he'll be angry!

要是我是你,我就会去。

Yàoshi wǒ shì nǐ, wǒ jiù huì qù.

If I were you, I would go.

Just remember to always put the subject before 就, and not after it.

要是…就 with 的话

(dehuà)

You can also combine 要是…就 with 的话 to form “if” sentences in Chinese. The structure for this is:

要是

[condition] 的话,就 [result]

This is still the same basic structure - the only difference is that 的话 has been added after the condition. Chinese “if” sentences have a lot of options like this. You can use various different “if” words before the condition, and it’s optional whether or not to put 的话 after the condition.

Some example sentences for 要是…就 with 的话:

要是我很忙的话,我可能就会迟到的。

Yàoshi wǒ hěn máng dehuà, wǒ kěnéng jiù huì chídào de.

If I am busy then I may arrive late.

要是我很有钱的话,我就会到处去旅游。

Yàoshi wǒ hěn yǒu qián dehuà, wǒ jiù huì dàochù qù lǚyóu.

If I were rich, I would go travelling all over the place.

要是我们早十分钟到的话,我们就能赶上飞机了。

Yàoshi wǒmen zǎo shí fēnzhōng dào dehuà, wǒmen jiù néng gǎnshàng fēijī le.

If we'd arrived ten minutes earlier, we would've made it onto the plane.

Don’t worry if that last sentence is a bit difficult! It’s a bit trickier than most 要是…就 sentences that you might see in textbooks, but you’ll become familiar with everything in it soon if you keep studying.

See also

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