Chinese Optative Sentences: A Comprehensive Guide to Expressing Wishes and Desires

With the help of opportunistic sentences, speakers can convey their aspirations. In ordinary communication in Mandarin, optative statements are essential. This article teaches you about the parts, structures, and numerous situations of Chinese optative sentences. By the conclusion, you’ll be capable of expressing your desires in Chinese.

Components of an Optative Sentence

Auxiliary Verbs

The speaker’s attitude, emotion, and tone are communicated through auxiliary verbs. Wishes are frequently expressed in Chinese using the auxiliary verbs 要 (yào), 想 (xiǎng), 希望 (xīwàng), and 但愿 (dànyuàn).


Words or phrases complementing a subject, object, or verb provide the reader with more details about that part of the sentence. Complements frequently describe the desired result or wish in optative statements.

Structures for Expressing Wishes and Desires

Using 要 (yào) and 想 (xiǎng)

You can convey a desire or intention with either 要 (yào) or 想 (xiǎng). 想 is softer and more tentative, whereas 要 is more decisive and assertive. Subject + 要/想 + Verb + object is the structure.


  • 我要学中文。 (Wǒ yào xué zhōngwén.) — I want to learn Chinese.
  • 我想去中国。 (Wǒ xiǎng qù zhōngguó.) — I would like to go to China.

The Grammar of 希望 (xīwàng)

希望 (xīwàng) is used to express a hope or wish. The structure is Subject + 希望 + Verb + object.


  • 我希望有条新裙子。(Wǒ xīwàng yǒu tiáo xīn qúnzi.) – I wish there was a new dress.
  • 我希望考上清华大学。(Wǒ xīwàng kǎo shàng qīnghuá dàxué.) – I hope to be admitted to Tsinghua University.

The但愿 (dànyuàn) Structure

但愿 (dànyuàn) is used to express a sincere wish, often with a sense of uncertainty. The structure is 但愿 + Subject + Verb + Object.


  • 但愿我能去北京。(Dàn yuàn wǒ néng qù běijīng.) – I wish I could go to Beijing.
  • 但愿他买到礼物。(Dàn yuàn tā mǎi dào lǐwù.) – Hope he gets a present.

signs g508a1f8c9 1920

Optative Sentences in Different Contexts

Optative sentences can be employed in various contexts, including formal settings, personal wishes, and wishes for others.

Personal Wishes

When expressing personal wishes, you can use 要 (yào), 想 (xiǎng), or 希望 (xīwàng) to show your desire or intention.


  • 我想明天去游泳。(Wǒ xiǎng míngtiān qù yóuyǒng.) – I want to go swimming tomorrow.
  • 我想暑期去挪威旅游。(Wǒ xiǎng shǔqí qù nuówēi lǚyóu.) – I want to travel to Norway in summer vacation.

Wishes for Others

When expressing wishes for others, you can use 希望 (xīwàng) or 但愿 (dànyuàn) to convey your hopes for their well-being or success.


  • 我希望你的梦想成真。 (Wǒ xīwàng nǐ de mèngxiǎng chéngzhēn.) — I hope your dreams come true.

Wishes in Formal Settings

The use of 希望 (xīwàng) or 但愿 (dànyuàn) is preferred in formal contexts like speeches or correspondence.


  • 我们希望与您建立长期合作关系。 (Wǒmen xīwàng yǔ nín jiànlì chángqī hézuò guānxì.) — We hope to establish a long-term partnership with you.

Practice with Examples

Let’s look at a few instances and break down the structures to comprehend optative sentences better:

  1. 但愿世界和平。 (Dànyuàn shìjiè hépíng.) — May there be world peace. 
  2. 我想吃披萨。 (Wǒ xiǎng chī pīsà.) — I want to eat pizza. 


You’ll be better able to express your goals and intents in Chinese if you comprehend the elements, structures, and many circumstances in which they might be utilized. To improve your use of optative phrases, continue to practice and apply the guidelines.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When should I use 希望 (xīwàng) in an optative sentence?

To convey a wish or hope, use the character 希望 (xīwàng). It is frequently used in formal contexts or while wishing somebody well.

2. How can I avoid common mistakes in optative sentences?

To avoid common errors, use the correct auxiliary verb for the situation, adhere to each verb’s proper form, and include any necessary complements.

3. Are there any other structures for expressing wishes in Chinese?

Indeed, there are additional structures. For instance, you can use 愿意 (yuànyì) to indicate a willingness or 期待 (qīdài) to show a waiting period. However, the forms covered in this article are the most typical and often employed for expressing wishes and aspirations.

Click here to REGISTER for our SUMMER CAMP in 2023!

Learn about our Internship Program in China.

Learn about holidays in China in 2023.

Get free Chinese learning resources.


Sign up for a free trial class here.

Sign up for classes here.

Learn more about our Chinese Summer Camp for Children here.

Learn about our Internship Program in China.

Get free Chinese learning resources.

Learn about China’s 2024 Offical Holiday Schedule

Ønsker du en gratis prøveklasse? Registrer deg!

Bli med på en gratis prøveklasse i kinesisk!

Do you want a Free Trial Chinese Class? Register now!

Join a Free Trial Chinese Class!