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Both adverbs “再” and “又”translate to “again” and are used to express the repetition of an action. They, however, are not interchangeable. Are you confused about how to use them correctly? Do you know the differences between them?
Basic Uses of “再”
1.“再” can express the repetition or continuation of an action that hasn’t happened yet.
Subj. + 再 + Verb
nǐ kěyǐ zài qù yīcì zhōngguó
You can go to China again.
wǒ zàishuō yībiàn zhège dá’àn
I will repeat this answer.
wǒ xiǎng zài shì yīcì
I want to try again.
2. In some cases, “再” means “then” and introduces a second action that can only take place after the first one is completed.
The basic pattern: Subj. + Action(1) + 再 + Action(2)
nǐ chī wán zàishuō
You will finish eating and then speak.
wǒmen dào nà’er zài mǎi ba
We go there first and then buy something.
The pattern with “先/xiān”: Subj. +先 + Action(1) + 再 + Action(2)
nǐ xiān shuō wèntí zàishuō jiějué bànfǎ
You talk about the problem first and then talk about the solution.
wǒmen xiān shuāyá zài xǐliǎn
We first brush teeth and then wash face.
3. “再“, in some cases, can be used to describe an adjective, similar to “much more” in English.
Subj. + 再 + Adj.
qǐng nǐ zài yǒnggǎn yīdiǎn
Please be braver.
wǒ xūyào zài dà yīdiǎn de chǐcùn
I need a bigger one.
bàba, nǐ zǒu dé zài màn diǎn
Dad, please walk slower.
4. “再”can also be used before a verb to introduce an additional action.
I want to tell you a lot, but I don’t know where to start.
tā hěn pà lěng, dàn yòu bù yuànyì duō chuān yīfú
He can’t handle the cold, but he still refuses to wrap up warm.
Strengthen negative tone
nǐ zěnme yòu láile
Why are you here again？[complaining/impatient]
tā yòu bùshì bù rènshí lù
It’s impossible that he doesn‘t know the way! [impatient/angry]
The differences between “再” and “又” used as “again”
According to the above introduction, “再” and “又” are used differently. Although both can express the repetition of an action, the differences between them are still obvious, which means they can‘t interchangeable completely.
1. “再” expresses the repetition of an action in the future, while “又” expresses the repetition of an action that has already occurred in the past.
wǒmen míngnián yòu qù kàn tā ba
wǒmen míngnián zài qù kàn tā ba
Let’s go to visit him again next year.
hòulái guówáng zài jiéhūnle
hòulái guówáng yòu jiéhūnle
Then the king got married again.
2.“又” sometimes can be used for the repetition of actions that have not yet taken place. It usually appears with 要 (yào), 可以 (kěyǐ), 能 (néng), or 是 (shì). In this case, “再” can‘t be used.
⇒ Predict that a situation with regularity will recur.
míngtiān zài shì xīngqítiānle
míngtiān yòu shì xīngqítiānle
Tomorrow is Sunday again.
⇒ When the speaker thinks that the action is repeated too many times.
nǐ zài yào chūchāi
nǐ yòu yào chūchāi
Will you have a business trip again?
3.”再这么+Verb” means that the speaker does not want the action or state to continue, but “又” has no such usage.