还是(háishì) vs 或者(huòzhě)

还是 vs 或者

 

As conjunctions, “还是” and “或者” are both used to express options.

“不管/不论/无论 + A 还是/或者 B + ……都……” no matter what ……; regardless of ……

e.g.

不管学习还是/或者工作,他都特别棒。(Bùguǎn xuéxí háishì/ huòzhě gōngzuò, tā dōu tèbié bàng.) Whether he is studying or working, he is great.

无论还是/或者我都可以回答这个问题。(Wúlùn nǐ háishì/huòzhě wǒ dōu kěyǐ huídá zhège wèntí.) Either you or I can answer this question.

还是 (háishì)

“还是” is often used in interrogative sentences to show uncertainty.

A + 还是 + B

e.g.

你喜欢吃什么水果,苹果还是西瓜?(Nǐ xǐhuān chī shénme shuǐguǒ, píngguǒ háishì xīguā?) What kind of fruit do you like to eat, apple or watermelon?

你想去北京大学读书还是去清华大学读书?(Nǐ xiǎng qù Běijīng dàxué dúshū háishì qù Qīnghuá dàxué dúshū?) Do you want to study at Peking University or Tsinghua University?

 

是 + A + 还是 + B

e.g.

美国人还是英国人?(Nǐ shì Měiguó rén háishì Yīngguó rén?) Are you American or British?

(是)+ Verb 1 / Verb phrase 1  + 还是 + Verb 2 / Verb phrase 2

 e.g.

(是)喜欢喝茶还是喝咖啡?(Nǐ shì xǐhuān hē chá háishì hē kāfēi?) Do you like tea or coffee?

看书的时候,你(是)喜欢站着还是坐着?(Kànshū de shíhòu, nǐ shì xǐhuān zhànzhe háishì zuòzhe?) When reading, do you prefer to stand or sit?

(是)+ Verb + 还是 + 不Verb

e.g.

快迟到了!你(是)走还是不走?(Kuài chídào le! Nǐ (shì) zǒu háishì bù zǒu?) Almost late! Are you going or not?

这个语法你(是)懂不懂?(Zhège yǔfǎ nǐ shì dǒng háishì bù dǒng?) Do you understand this grammar or not?

When “还是” is used in a declarative sentence, the phrases like “不知道” or “没决定” are often used with it to express uncertainty.

e.g.

不知道他明天去出差还是后天去。(Wǒ bù zhīdào tā míngtiān qù chūchāi háishì hòutiān qù.) I don’t know whether he will go on a business trip tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.

他还没决定是买华为手机还是买苹果手机。(Tā hái méi juédìng shì mǎi huáwèi shǒujī háishì mǎi píngguǒ shǒujī.) He has not yet decided whether to buy a Huawei phone or an Apple phone.

或者 (huòzhě)

“或者” is often used in declarative sentences, which means “or” and indicates there is more than one option.

Noun 1 / Noun phrase 1 + 或者 + Noun 2 / Noun phrase 2

e.g.

我吃苹果或者西瓜都可以。(Wǒ chī píngguǒ huòzhě xīguā dōu kěyǐ.) I can eat apples or watermelon.

你来我家或者我去你家都不方便。(Nǐ lái wǒjiā huòzhě wǒ qù nǐ jiā dōu bù fāngbiàn.) It is not convenient for you to come to my house or for me to go to your house.

Note that when 或者 connects two monosyllabic objects, the verb needs repeat.

e.g.

你有事找我或者找他都可以。(Nǐ yǒushì zhǎo wǒ huòzhě zhǎo tā dōu kěyǐ.) You can come to me or him if you have problems.

喝水或者喝酒我都喜欢。(Hē shuǐ huòzhě hējiǔ wǒ dōu xǐhuān.) I like drinking water or alcohol.

Verb 1 / Verb phrase 1 + 或者 + Verb 2 / Verb phrase 2

e.g.

我周末常常唱歌或者跳舞。(Wǒ zhōumò chángcháng chànggē huòzhě tiàowǔ.) I often sing or dance on weekends.

下班以后,我和同事会一起吃饭或者看电影。(Xiàbān yǐhòu, wǒ hé tóngshì huì yīqǐ chīfàn huòzhě kàn diànyǐng.) After getting off work, my colleagues and I will have dinner or watch a movie together.

When expressing several options or situations, 或者……或者…… can be used in the sentence.

e.g.

这次聚会很成功,大家或者唱歌,或者跳舞,或者聊天,都很高兴。(Zhè cì jùhuì hěn chénggōng, dàjiā huòzhě chànggē, huòzhě tiàowǔ, huòzhě liáotiān, dōu hěn gāoxìng.) The party was very successful. Everyone was happy to sing, dance, or chat.

Drag and drop the words and phrases into the correct order

1. Does your father like black tea or green tea?
  • 绿茶
  • 喜欢
  • 还是
  • 红茶
  • 爸爸
2. I want to buy a skirt or pants for the weekend.
  • 或者
  • 裤子
  • 周末
  • 裙子
  • 想买
3. Is Chinese class at seven or nine?
  • 还是
  • 汉语课
  • 九点
  • 七点
4. Will he come or not?
  • 还是
  • 不来
  • 到底(on earth)
5. Please give me a glass of water or juice.
  • 一杯水
  • 一杯果汁
  • 或者
  • 给我
6. Blue or red cups both look good.
  • 红色
  • 杯子
  • 都好看
  • 或者
  • 蓝色

 

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