As a dynamic auxiliary word, “着” can be used in the following situations.
1. “着” is preceded by a verb to indicate that an action is going on. In this case, “正/在/正在” can be used before the verb and “呢” is often added at the end of the sentence.
Verb + 着
雨正下着呢，他就出门了。(Yǔ zhèng xiàzhe ne, tā jiù chūmén le.) He went out while it was raining.
我正睡着呢，电话就响了。(Wǒ zhèng shuìzhe ne, diànhuà jiù xiǎngle.) I was asleep when the phone rang.
我在听着呢，你说。(Wǒ zài tīng zhe ne, nǐ shuō.) I’m listening, you say.
“Verb + 着” can indicate the continuation of an action. Note that the verb here must not be instantaneous, such as 买，卖，寄，死， etc.
外面下着雨。(Wàimiàn xiàzhe yǔ.) It’s raining outside.
同学们都在等着你。(Tóngxuémen dōu zài děngzhe nǐ.) Your classmates are waiting for you.
And the negative form can’t use 不. “着” is not used after the verb either in the negative form.
Subject + 没 + Verb
外面没下雨。(Wàimiàn méi xià yǔ.) It’s not raining outside.
同学们没等你。(Tóngxuémen méi děng nǐ.) The classmates are not waiting for you.
2. “着” is preceded by a verb or an adjective to indicate the continuation of a state. The verb here must not be instantaneous, such as 买，打， etc.
Verb + 着
家里有人。你看，灯开着呢。(Jiā lǐ yǒurén. Nǐ kàn, dēng kāi zhe ne.) There are people in the house. Look, the lights are on.
今天他穿着一件黄衣服。(Jīntiān tā chuānzhe yī jiàn huáng yīfú.) Today he is wearing a yellow dress.
水还热着呢，请喝水。(Shuǐ hái rè zhene, qǐng hē shuǐ.) The water is still hot, please drink.
1) “了” can’t be used in this case.
2) “正/在/正在” cannot be used before the verb.
2) The negative form can’t use 不.
Subject + 没 + Verb + 着
电脑没开着。(Diànnǎo méi kāizhe.) The computer is not on.
孩子们没坐着。(Háizimen méi zuòzhe.) The children are not sitting.
3. “着” could be used to indicate the existence of somebody or something, which is equivalent to “there be……”.
Place + Verb + 着 + somebody / something
教室里放着很多书。(Jiàoshì lǐ fàngzhe hěnduō shū.) There are many books in the classroom.
那栋楼住着三家人。(Nà dòng lóu zhù zhe sān jiārén.) Three families live in that building.
桌子上坐着一个小孩。(Zhuōzi shàng zuòzhe yígè xiǎohái.) There is a child sitting at the table.
4. “着” can be used to connect two actions and indicate two actions take place simultaneously. The first action is the manner or accompaniment of the second one.
Verb 1 + 着 + Verb 2
他哭着走了。(Tā kūzhe zǒule.) He cried and left.
我站着读书。(Wǒ zhànzhe dúshū.) I read while standing.
那个人跑着打电话。(Nàgè rén pǎozhe dǎ diànhuà.) That person called while running.
5. “着” can be used to indicate that the second action occurs when the first action is going on.
Verb 1 着 + Verb 1 着 + Verb 2
他睡着睡着就笑了起来。(Tā shuìzhe shuìzhe jiù xiàole qǐlái.) He fell asleep and laughed.
我们走着走着，外面开始下雨了。(Wǒmen zǒuzhe zǒuzhe, wàimiàn kāishǐ xià yǔ le.) As we walked, it started to rain outside.
老人坐着坐着就睡着了。(Lǎorén zuòzhe zuòzhe jiù shuìzháo le.) The old man fell asleep while sitting.