So, I am wondering... HSK6 includes the word 比方 which, according to my vocab-list book, in addition to being a verb (他去过很多国家,比方美国,英国,中国等) and a noun (这只是个比方,你别当真) can also be a conjunction (比方你是我,你会怎么办? or 比方你去求他,他会不会同意?) which seems to have the same sort of meaning as 如果. My two questions are:

  1. Is 比方 really used as a conjunction in this way? I can find almost no other instances of it being used as a conjunction outside of the vocab book! ... and,
  2. If it is used in this way, what kind of a level is it? Is it more like 如果/要是 or more formal like 假如/假使?

Many thanks guys!


I don't know which vocab book you are using, but to my native ears, your conjunction examples sounds a little bit weird! I would have added a 说 at the end of 比方 to mark the use of conjunction.

比方说 would mean

  1. for example: 他去过很多国家,比方说美国,英国,中国等
  2. if(colloquial):比方说你是我,你会怎么办

Note that I personally have never used it in the second meaning. It is understandable, but not very common. I would use 如果/要是 instead. I also must contest the notion that 如果 is only for informal use. It can definitely be used in formal context as well, though probably less pretentious then 假使

hope it helps

  • Thanks for that. I shall simply pretend that my vocab book hasn't said anything. It isn't always 100% reliable anyway ;-) – Hashamyim Apr 30 '20 at 14:40

比方 sounds unnatural in the example you have provided.

You’re better off using 如果/假如 to express “if”. I don’t think 如果 and 假如 are very different in terms of register. In my experience, both terms can be used in casual conversation, as well as in formal speeches.

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