The Chinese expression qǐlai 起来 has both literal and figurative applications.
Qǐlai 起来 are used in three ways in Chinese.
DESCRIBING AN UPWARD MOVEMENT
Firstly, you can use Verb + qǐlai 起来 to express upward movement. For example, jiǎn qǐlai 捡起来 to pick up or zhàn qǐlai 站起来 to stand up.
To ask someone to stand up, you can say Nǐ zhàn qǐlái 你站起来.
In terms of what it means at its most basic level, you can use qǐlai 起来 in the sense of lifting or moving something up. The grammatical structure is 把 + object + verb + qǐlai 起来. This phrase emphasizes the strong move up.
Píngguǒ dōu diào dào dìshàngle, kuài jiǎn qǐlái!
The apples have fallen to the ground. Hurry, pick them up!
Bùyào dòng, bǎshǒu jǔ qǐlái!
Don’t move. Put your hands up!
USING QǏLAI 起来 TO SHOW THAT SOMETHING HAS STARTED OR IS GOING ON
By using verb + qǐlai 起来 you can also show that something has started and is still going on. In these situations, qǐlai 起来 is only used with spontaneous actions, like chàng 唱 to sing, tiào 跳 to jump, liáo 聊 to chat, or with states like rè 热 hot, lěng 冷 cold, or hǎo 好 good etc.
Verb + qǐlai 起来 cannot be used with planned actions.
For example, this example is right:
Xiàtiān dàole, tiānqì màn man rè qǐláile
Summer is here, and the weather is getting warmer.
Let’s say you want to ask when a person is starting class, and then you ask. This example is wrong because the action was planned:
Nǐ jǐ diǎn shàngkè qǐlái?
Having a class is planned action, so we can not use qǐlai 起来. We ought to say:
Nǐ jǐ diǎn kāishǐ shàngkè?
What time do you start class?
USING QǏLAI 起来 TO EXPRESS JUDGEMENT
Another way to use qǐlai 起来 is to describe the feeling of something you look at, listen to, feel, etc.
When used to make an initial assessment, qǐlai 起来 express that the speaker has just taken action and, based on that, has made a quick judgment.
The is a typical sentence structure when you use qǐlai 起来:
Subject + Verb + qǐlai 起来 + Adverb + Adjective
This structure is often used in Chinese with perception verbs like chī 吃 to eat, kàn 看 to see, tīng 听 to listen etc.
Zhège rén kàn qǐlái hěn yǒushàn.
This person looks friendly.
DO YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE MANDARIN CHINESE OR KNOW SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO?
If you want to learn Mandarin Chinese, feel free to REGISTER FOR A FREE TRIAL CLASS HERE or send me an email (Chen Huimin): firstname.lastname@example.org.
We offer private lessons and group classes at all levels, HSK 1-6, children, adults, business. All Mandarin Chinese classes are offered in classrooms or online.
Do you know anyone who wants to learn Chinese? We will give you 500 US dollars as a bonus as a part of our program “Refer a friend – get $ 500” if your friend or others you introduce to us start taking Chinese classes at our school.Register here if this is interesting for you!