一边。。。一边 Doing…while doing…

一边 yī biān。。一边 yī biān。。。is commonly used to express when to actions are progressing simultaneously, you are doing two things at the same time.

The sentence structure would be,

一边 + (main) verb +一边 +verb 

(Unlike English, main task is placed at the back, so you are doing a side task while the main task is happening.  In Chinese,  the main task is placed before a side task. A big apology! In the video I’ve gotten confused with the English translation, below is the correction).

e.g.

yī biān chī fàn                    yī biān hē shuǐ

一边吃饭 (having food) ,一边喝水 (drinking water)。 

Drinking water while having food. 

yī biān wán yóu xì                    yī biān tīng gē

一边玩游戏 (playing games),一边听歌 (listening to music)。

Listening to music while playing games. 

yī biān dǎ pái ,                             yī biān kàn diàn shì

一边打牌 (playing card games),一边看电视 (watching TV)。 

Watching TV while playing card games. 

yī biān xǐ wǎn                       yī biān liáo tiān

一边洗碗 (wash dishes),一边聊天 (chatting)。 

Having a chat while washing dishes. 

yī biān xià yǔ,             yī biān chū tài yáng

一边下雨 (raining),一边出太阳 (the sun is out)。 

The sun came out while it is raining. 

Note that 边 has the meaning of ‘side’, 一边。。(另)一边。。also can be used to describe ‘on the one side (there is this object/subject), one the other side (there is another object/subject)(另 just means ‘another’, ‘the other’). Also, this 一边。。。一边 is describing things in a very literal way. We don’t use it to express our views, we just use it to say that LITERALLY on the one side there is something, and on the other side there is something else.

For example,

yī biān shì xióng xiān shēng, yī biān shì a gān, hǎo nán jué dìng a

一边是熊先生,一边是阿甘,好难决定啊!

On the one side there is Mr Bear, on the other side there is A Gan, such tough decisions!

yī biān yǒu cǎo méi, lìng yī biān yǒu xiāng jiāo

一边有草莓,另一边有香蕉。 

On the one side, there are strawberries, on the other side there are bananas. 

yī biān shì hóng de, yī biān shì hēi de

一边是红的,一边是黑的。 

One side is red, one side is black. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  1. Mandarin Weekly #97 – Mandarin Weekly (每周中文)

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