Chinese grammar: Expressing distance with 离 "li"

One of the ways to express distance is to use "离"(lí).

Place1 + 离 + Place2 + Adverb + 近/远


So this pattern is normally used to simply express that one place is (not) close or (not) far from another place.


Měiɡuó lí zhōnɡɡuó hěn yuǎn.
美国 离 中国 很 远。
America is far from China.
Nǐ lí wǒ yuǎn diǎn.
你 离 我 远 点。
Distance yourself from me further.

Note that the final example is a command, and a commonly heard line. The sentence means "distance yourself from me further," in other words, "stay away from me" or "don’t come near me."

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