Rules for Using 把

Everyone struggles to use "把"sentence when they move to intermediate-high level of Chinese, because it is such a distinctively Chinese sentence pattern! It is much easier if you get to know a few more rules for when you can't use “把” other than the basic pattern(S )+ 把 + O + V. + (  ).

All verbs can‘t use “把”

Generally speaking, verbs that can be applied to influence people or things are used as the predicate of the把-sentence. It is more important to notice what kinds of verbs can not be used in this pattern. 

Those that do not indicate change.

是(shì)  有(yǒu) 

           ×我把电影票有了。   Wǒ bǎ diànyǐngpiào yǒu le.

Those denote senses.

           知道(zhìdao)    认识(rènshi)       觉得(juéde) 

           同意(tóngyì)     听见(tīngjiàn)    懂(dǒng) 

           ×我把她的主意同意了。Wǒ bǎ tāde zhǔyi tóngyì le.

Those that express mental activity.

          怕(pà)   喜欢(xǐhuan)   希望 (xīwàng)……

          ×我把篮球喜欢了。Wǒ bǎ lánqiú xǐhuan le.

Those that indicate beginning or continuation.

          开始(kāishǐ)   出发(chūfā) 继续(jìxù) 

          ×我们把晚会开始了。Wǒmen bǎ wǎnhuì kāishǐ le.

Those that indicate direction.

         进(jìn)   出(chū)   上(shàng)   下(xià)   回(huí)   去(qù) 

         ×我把美国回了。Wǒ bǎ Měiguó huí le.

Those that indicate physical movement.

         坐(zuò)   站(zhàn)   躺(tang) 

       ×  我把椅子坐下了。Wǒ bǎ yǐzi zuòxià le.

You need to specify your object

You should use 把 if the object is definite or refers to a person or thing known to both the speaker and the hearer.

他把那件衣服买了。Tā bǎ nà jiàn yīfu mǎi le.

× 他把一件衣服买了。Tā bǎ yí jiàn yīfu mǎi le.

You need to specify your result

The verb must be followed by some other element to show the result after the action you did to the objects.

我把电视打开。Wǒ bǎ diànshì dǎkāi.

× 我把电视开。Wǒ bǎ diànshì kāi.

他把那杯绿茶喝了。Wǒ bǎ nà bēi lǜchá hē le.

× 他把那杯绿茶喝。Wǒ bǎ nà bēi lǜchá hē.

她把房间打扫干净了。Tā bǎ fángjiān dǎsǎo gānjìng le.

× 她把房间打扫。Tā bǎ fángjiān dǎsǎo.

Don't Use “把” with “得"

我能把汉语学好。Wǒ néng bǎ hànyǔ xuéhǎo.

× 我把汉语学得好。Wǒ bǎ hànyǔ xuédehǎo.

我能把作业写完。Wǒ néng bǎ zuòyè xiěwán.

× 我把作业写得完。Wǒ bǎ zuòyè xiědewán.

Don't Use “把” with “过"

我吃过饺子。Wǒ chīguò jiǎozi.

×我把饺子吃过。Wǒ bǎ jiǎozi chīguò.


Maria writes columns for the GoEast Blog on studying Chinese and Chinese language. She completed her MA atBeijing Foreign Studies University and has over 6 years experience teaching Mandarin. She founded GoEast together with Wang Rong in 2010.