Learn How to Say “Watch” and “Read” in Chinese

How to Say the Verb “Watch” and “Read” in Chinese

Watching YouTube videos and reading articles are good ways to learn Chinese. Now you may wonder how to say the verb “watch” and “read” in Mandarin Chinese. Unlike in English “reading” and “watching” are presented differently, in the Chinese language “watch” and “read” share the same word and it is pronounced 看 [Kàn]. The verb 看 [Kàn] is used when something is related to seeing and looking. Watch our YouTube video to learn more. Watch our YouTube video to learn more.

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The exception to the rule for the verb “read” in Chinese

Reading is categorized as entertaining and studying. If reading is for fun, use 看 [kàn] and one example is “reading comics” 看漫画 [kàn màn huà]. If reading is for studying, use 读 [dú] and one example is “reading textbook” 读书 [dú shū]. In a word, when we students read books, they should be 读书 [Dú shū] instead of 看书 [kàn shū].

Repetition with Verbs

In everyday speech, Chinese people often repeat the verb 看 [kàn] to help their sayings be more friendly and welcoming. For example, in English people may say “oh…have a look of my new shoes!”. In Chinese, we say 看一看我的新鞋子 [kàn yí kàn wǒ de xīn xié zi]. By repeating the verb 看 [kàn], it sounds less demanding. Knowing how to use repetitive verbs is important especially in the business environment where Chinese people work as teams and ask one another for favors. We will cover this topic soon.


Chinese Words/Phrases using the word Learn

English Meaning Pinyin Chinese Characters
Watch Kàn
Read Kàn / dú
Watching TV Kàn diàn shì 看电视
Reading books Dú shū 读书
Reading magazine Kàn zá zhì 看杂志
Have a look! Kàn Kàn / Kàn yí kàn 看 /看一看
Look at it again and again. Kàn le yòu kàn 看了又看!
Look at me! Kàn zhe wǒ 看着我
You see! Nǐ kàn 你看!

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