In this article, I will introduce to you seven common polyphones and show you how to use them properly. As we know, there are a lot of polyphones in Chinese characters and it is important for Chinese learners to have a good command of the most commonly used Chinese polyphones. It will be of great help in learning Chinese at the intermediate level.
This character has two different pronunciations, hao3 and hao4. They have different meanings.
Each one has its own special meaning, and both forms of this character will combine with other words and forms many common phrases that are used in daily life.
The tone hao3 means “well” or “good”. An example of a phrase with hao3 is “好的” “hao3de1”, which means “OK”.
“好看” “hao3 kan4” is also another common phrase that 好 is used. It means “good looking” or “looks nice”. And the tone hao4 means the said person likes to do something. For instance, “好学” “hao4 xue2” “studious”. Here hao4 is a verb and means good at, or to love.
This character has two different meanings, depending on the tone – jia3 and jia4.
Jia3, means fake. It can be used as an adjective. You can use it to describe something as fake. For example, “假货” “jia3 huo4” “fake commodity”. It can be used as a noun as well, for example, Jia4, 假期 jia4 qi1, which means vacation.
This polyphone has two different pronunciation, zang1 and zang4. The first tone, zang1, means that something is really dirty. It’s usually used as an adjective. For example, “她的衣服被墨水弄脏了” “ta1 de yi1 fu bei4 mo4 shui3 nong4 zang1 le”. This means “She soiled her dress with ink.”
The second tone, zang4, is usually used as a noun such as, 心脏 xin1 zang4, which means heart.
This character has two different pronunciations, chang2 and zhang3. As for chang2, it means “long” and can be used as an adjective. For example, 长头发 chang2 tou2 fa, means “long hair”. And zhang3, means grow and can be used as a verb. For example, 长大 zhang3 da4, means “grow up”.
This character has two distinct tones, yao4 and yao1. yao4 means want in Chinese. For example, 我要上学, wo3 yao4 shang4 xue2, means I want to go to school. And yao1, we usually say 要求, means demand or require.
“他“, “她“, “它” (ta1)
“他” means “he”. In English, we use “he” to refer to a third man. We can see the radical of the word “他” is “亻“.
“她” means “she”. In English, we use “she” to refer to a third woman. We can see the radical of the word “她” is “女“. In Chinese, “女” means a girl and that is why it uses “女” as its radical.
“它” means “it”. When we refer to an animal or a non-human thing, we can use “它“.
“因为…所以…”(yin1 wei4… suo3 yi3…)
“因为“means “because”, “since” and “所以” means “so”, “therefore”, “hence”. This “因为” placed here for “cause” and “所以” placed here for “effect”. Check out a few example usages to get the hang of this commonly used Chinese sentence structure:
“因为今天下雨，所以我们不去公园了。“（yin1 wei4 jin1 tian1 xia4 yu3, suo3 yi3 wo3 men1 bu2 qu4 lv3 you2 le）= We don’t go to the park because it is rainy today.
“因为他今天去钓鱼了，所以今晚我们吃鱼。“（yin1 wei4 ta1 jin1 tian1 qu4 diao4 yu2 le, suo3 yi3 jin1 wan3 chi1 yu2）= He goes fishing today so we eat fish tonight.