Chinese Grammar Bank


In Chinese, 和 (hé) and 跟 (gēn) are both ubiquitous words that will help complete many other sentence structures.

The two words have related meanings and functions, but they’re used quite differently.


In most cases, 和 (hé) can be translated to “and” in English.

But notice 和 (hé) isn’t a word you can use to translate just any usage of the English word “and.” 和 (hé) can only be used to link nouns in sentences. 


Noun 1 + 和 + Noun 2

You and me
jiā rén yī qǐ chī wǔ fàn


I have lunch with my family.
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我和妈妈都喜欢购物。wǒ hé mā mā dōu xǐ huān gòu wùMy mom and I both love shopping.
汉堡和薯条都很好吃。hàn bǎo hé shǔ tiáo dōu hěn hǎo chīBurgers and fries are delicious.
德语和法语都很难吗?dé yǔ hé fǎ yǔ dōu hěn nán maAre both German and French difficult?
昨天和今天都是晴天。zuó tiān hé jīn tiān dōu shì qíng tiānIt was sunny both yesterday and today.
Sarah和Molly是很好的朋友。Sarah hé Molly shì hěn hǎo de péng yǒuSarah and Molly are good friends.
手机和电脑都是电子产品。shǒu jī hé diàn nǎo dōu shì diàn zǐ chǎn pǐnCell phones and computers are electronic products.
今天和明天都可以吗?jīn tiān hé míng tiān dōu kě yǐ maAre today and tomorrow both OK?
她和她男朋友都喜欢吃中国菜。tā hé tā nán péng yǒu dōu xǐ huān chī zhōng guó càiShe and her boyfriend both like to eat Chinese food.


跟 (gēn) is usually introduced as meaning “with” and is often used to link the subject and other people.


Subject + 跟 + Person + Verb + Object

qǐng nǐ men gēn zhe lǎo shī dú


Please read with the teacher.
gēn fù mǔ zhù zài yī qǐ ma


Do you live with your parents?
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我明天要跟朋友去玩。wǒ míng tiān yào gēn péng yǒu qù wánI’m going to play with my friends tomorrow.
你什么时候跟你女朋友结婚?nǐ shí me shí hòu gēn nǐ nǚ péng yǒu jié hūnWhen are you going to marry your girlfriend?
下午我要跟同事一起开会。xià wǔ wǒ yào gēn tóng shì yī qǐ kāi huìI have a meeting with my colleagues this afternoon.
你想跟我一起去温哥华吗?nǐ xiǎng gēn wǒ yī qǐ qù wēn gē huá maDo you want to go to Vancouver with me?


As you can tell, 跟 (gēn) is interchangeable with 和 (hé) in most cases. They can both mean “and” or “with,” and link nouns. For instance:

zuó tiān wǒ hé tā yī qǐ chī fàn
zuó tiān wǒ gēn tā yī qǐ chī fàn
*I had dinner with him yesterday

In this case, 跟 (gēn) and 和 (hé)  can be used interchangeably as each one of them means “and” or “with”.

However, the word 跟 (gēn) has a sense of “to follow” embedded in it while 和 (hé) doesn’t. Here is when they’re different:

hé wǒ dú
gēn wǒ dú
*Read with me

Because of this slight difference between 跟 (gēn) and 和 (hé), it’s recommended to start out using 跟 (gēn) to mean “with” as beginners.

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What’s the difference between 和 and 跟?

和 is used like the English word “and” to link nouns. 跟 is used like the English word “with” and usually links people.

What is the pinyin of 和 and 跟?

和 is pronounced hé.

跟 is pronounced gēn.

Are 和 and 跟 always interchangeable?

和 and 跟 are sometimes interchangeable, but not always. 跟 has a sense of “to follow” embedded in it, while 和 doesn’t. So, you can’t use 和 when you want to express the feeling of following.

What are some sentences with 和 and 跟?

-昨天我和他一起吃饭。zuó tiān wǒ hé tā yī qǐ chī fàn

-汉堡和薯条都很好吃。hàn bǎo hé shǔ tiáo dōu hěn hǎo chī

-昨天和今天都是晴天。zuó tiān hé jīn tiān dōu shì qíng tiān

-我明天要跟朋友去玩。wǒ míng tiān yào gēn péng yǒu qù wán

-你什么时候跟你女朋友结婚?nǐ shí me shí hòu gēn nǐ nǚ péng yǒu jié hūn

-下午我要跟同事一起开会。xià wǔ wǒ yào gēn tóng shì yī qǐ kāi huì

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