How to ask, "What do you like to do in your free time?" in Chinese - 20 Questions to Basic Fluency #4

Last time we took a look at how to say, “What do you do?” in Chinese.  If you missed that discussion, take some time to 
go back and answer the question in the reply.

(see all
"20 Questions to Basic Fluency.")

Today we are learning how to say, "What do you like to do in your free time?" in Chinese. 

Here is the question and answer:

Q: 你空余时间喜欢做什么?

Nǐ kòngyú shíjiān xǐhuan zuò shénme?

What do you like to do in your free time?

A: 我喜欢学中文Wǒ xǐhuan 
xué zhōngwén.
 I like
to learn Chinese.

Just replace the
 学中文 in the answer above to tell about your own personal interests.  Here are some pastimes that will work well with this pattern:

书法 - Shūfǎ - calligraphy

爬山 - Páshān – hiking/mountain climbing

电子游戏 - Diànzǐ yóuxì – video games

做饭 - Zuò fàn - cooking

跳舞- Tiàowǔ - dancing

唱歌 - Chànggē - singing

画画- Huà huà - drawing

喝酒- Hē jiǔ - drinking

吃饭 - Chīfàn - eating

看电影 - Kàn diànyǐng – watching movies

养花 - Yǎng huā - gardening

听音乐- Tīng yīnyuè – listening to music

拍照- Pāizhào - photography

看书- Kàn shū – reading books

体育- Tǐyù - sports

上网- Shàngwǎng – surfing online

聊天- Liáotiān - chatting

旅游- Lǚyóu – travelling

散步- Sànbù - walking

看电视-Kàn diànshì – watching TV

逛商店- Guàng shāngdiàn – window shopping

长跑- Chángpǎo – jogging

打篮球- Dǎ lánqiú – playing basketball

打棒球- Dǎ bàngqiú – playing basebal

l踢橄榄球-Tī gǎnlǎnqiú – playing football

踢足球- Tī zúqiú – playing soccer

打曲棍球- Dǎ qūgùnqiú – playing hockey

打网球- Dǎ wǎngqiú – playing tennis

打排球- Dǎ páiqiú – play volleyball

游泳- Yóuyǒng - swimming

练功夫- Liàn gōngfu – practicing kung fu

搞举重- Gǎo jǔzhòng – lifting weights

露营- Lùyíng - camping

钓鱼- Diào yú - fishing

攀岩- Pānyán – rock climbling

划船- Huáchuán - rowing

滑雪- Huáxuě - skiing

锻炼- Duànliàn – working out

弹吉他-  tan2 jítā – playing guitar

弹钢琴- tan2 gāngqín – playing piano

Check out this link below to learn a little more about how to talk about hobbies.

So now it’s your turn.  Let us know about what you like to do in your free time in the reply below.

(photo credit Jesslee Cuizon)

Views: 8368


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Comment by Shu on December 26, 2011 at 5:57am

I might make a post on my website on that under one Chinese sentence a day. Thank you for the suggestion:) I did make the ba structure as I mentioned to you, maybe you would come up with one post on that too?

Comment by sikora on December 25, 2011 at 6:13am

Hey alf and Shu,  thanks for the comments.  This has gotten me thinking about all the ways to say "to do" in Chinese: 做,干, 搞,弄.   (zuò, gàn, gǎo, nòng) .  If you get a chance  maybe you could give us some more details about how and when to use these words in context. 

Comment by Shu on December 25, 2011 at 5:56am


I agree.

In China, people say 搞 more often. In Taiwan, they say 做 more often. They are interchangeable, but as you said 搞is more informal and only used when you are talking to someone you know. You are very good on the language analysis Alf!

Comment by alf on December 24, 2011 at 6:08pm

hi Matt

I don't have too many hobbies,I used to have soccer exercise every week ,since I had my knee badly hurt half year ago,I have to stay away from soccer field as well other strenuous exercise.I enjoy taking a sip( 搞两口)every day,though I know drinking's not a good hobby for young people.

   Usually we don't say‘搞举重',instead we would say'练举重'or'举重',of course both saying can be understood,but the latter 's more 'chinese'.’搞'nearly equals to'做',but generally speaking,'搞''s only used in informal occasion or casual talk between acquaintances.

eg.what do you do? 你是做什么的?or 你是搞什么的?

   what are you doing?你在做什么?or 你在搞什么?

  have you done with your work?你的活做完了?or 你的活搞完了?

'搞' has many other meanings those can be well grasped only by the context.I list some below:

'怎么搞的!'   it's not an interrogative sentence,it's an exclamatory sentence.for example,your boss arranged you some simple work but you screwed it up,he would reproach you’怎么搞的!'

'搞快点!' Be quick!

'搞得我累死了' It makes me exhausted.'搞' in this sentence means sth has brought about some bad result or effect.


   All the usages I list above are inappropriate to be used in formal occasion or in a conversation with someone you first meet.

   These are my understanding as a native speaker,I am not sure if they are right,after all I am not a professional language teacher .Have fun.

   Merry Christmas eve.

Comment by Shu on December 24, 2011 at 11:35am


That is a very good question for discussion. Thank you for taking the time doing it.

Comment by Brandon on December 24, 2011 at 9:09am

Great list of activities - super useful.  Although I usually have trouble answering it well even in English... um surf the internet?  Is just shang wang enough?  Or is there another way to imply surfing the web without purpose?


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