Doing two things at once

Word of the week: yī biān


In this fast-paced world don’t we all live a multi-task life style? Describing two things that are undertaken at the same time in Chinese might be a challenge if you don’t know what sentence pattern to use.

If you’re singing along to the “waka waka” music video in a karaoke booth you might want to say: “Shakira is shaking her arse while singing.” For this type of sentence you can say:

一边(verb) 一边(verb)
yī biān (verb) yī biān (verb)

Shakira is shaking her arse while dancing

Shakira is shaking her arse while dancing

Shakira yī biān nǐu pì gǔ yī biān chàng gē.

So you’re in a dirty Chinese bar drinking baijiu and breathing in enough second hand smoke to power a steam train. You can say:

yī biān hē jiǔ, yī biān chōu yān
drinking alcohol while smoking


Perhaps you too like to read a newspaper while on the toilet.

yī biān lā shǐ yī biān kàn bàozhǐ
taking a shit while reading he paper

multitasking can be dangerous...

multitasking can be dangerous…

For those familiar with Chinese traffic safety it will come as no surprise to hear that it is common for Chinese drivers to

yī biān kāichē yī biān dǎ diàn huà
driving while talking on the phone

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