Where're you going?

Chinese people often ask their firends "where are you going" when they meet each other on the road. But due to the different area in China, there're several way to express the same meaning of this sentence. It's quite interesting. Let's have a look.

Basic version:

你去哪里?or 你去哪儿?

Nǐ qù nǎli? or Nǐ qù nǎr?

The only difference bewteen nǎli and nǎr is that nǎr is used in north of China, like Beijing, Shenyang and nǎli is often used in south of China, like Shanghai, Shenzhen. We often say both while going travel to other cities to make sure local people could understand us.

North version:

你上哪儿去? Nǐ shànɡ nǎr qù?

"shànɡ ... qù" is a fixed structure which is the same meaning of "to go". The destination should be between shànɡ and . For example: 我上菜场儿去。(Wǒ shànɡ càichǎnɡ qù. I'm going to food market.)

South version:

你到什么地方去? Nǐ dào shénme dìfɑnɡ qù?

"dào ... qù" is the same meaning as "shànɡ ... qù" but it's more common in south of China. "shénme dìfɑnɡ" literually means what place, so it means where. The whole phrase also means where're you going. And the reply is like this: 我到公司去。(Wǒ dào ɡōnɡsī qù. I'm going to the company.)

Simple test:

Please look at the dialogue and find out which area of China these two people're from.

Lee: Lǎo Chén, nǐ dào shénme dìfɑnɡ qù ā?

Lǎo Chén: Qù ɡōnɡsī,yào kāi yíɡe huì。 Nǐ shànɡ nǎr qù ā?

Lee: Wǒ dào xuéxiào jiē sūnzi qù。 

Lǎo ChénHǎo hǎo,wǒ xiān zǒu le,zài jiàn ā。 

Lee: Zài jiàn。


Lee: Mr Chen, where're you going?

Chen: I'm going to the company. I have to attend a meeting. How about you?

Lee: I'm going to the school to pick up my grandson. 

Chen: oh, good. I have to go, byebye.

Lee: Bye.