I started to learn Chinese like one month ago and I'm facing a first misunderstanding.

In my book it says that can be used to say "soon" but 快要 is also used to express the same thing. Is there a difference or I can use both in every situation?

3 Answers 3


There isn't really a difference in the two if you are using it to mean "soon", except that 快要 is more formal than .

For example:



Both mean:

He is dying soon.

is just a shorten form of 快要 when used in such context and it is quite commonly used in speech.

  • 2
    Note: The sentence final is pretty much required. Aug 8, 2012 at 13:53

For me it's also a matter of emphasis. I feel when used to mean "soon", 快要 is more emphatic than 快.

For example, in the Chinese version of "If you keep doing that, I'm going to go nuts soon", I would prefer to use 快要 to emphasize that I'm going to go nuts soon.

But this is no different from English where people use formality for emphasis. For example, a mother might call her daughter Lucille when she's angry at her but call her Lucy when she's not.


You can ignore the difference between them when they are used in front of a verb in a sentence. Otherwise we can say "快了" but not "快要了". For example, when asked "他什么时候来?”,one can say "快了" but cannot say "快要了”

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