Recently, I was tasked to describe whether I was a vegetarian and for what reason. At first I wanted to use words like 因而, but I suspected the native speakers would deem them too literary for my current level of Chinese. Therefore I settled on 所以 and 于是, the first conjunctions that we learn.

I wrote:

这几年 我每天吃一顿饭,每周三次去健身房,所以我一定要注意吃足够的蛋白质。于是我并不是素食者。

If I compare to this, saying:

So clearly, 于是 is used to derive. 所以 is used to retrieve the reason.

I would have thought that I was on the right track. My dietary regiment (OMAD) is absolutely the reason for my need to consume enough protein (otherwise I would feel too hungry). But my being non-vegetarian is only derived from there. It is not said that I would be vegetarian without OMAD.

And yet, two native speakers complained precisely about these conjunctions. The first one said:


This at least seems an easy rule to follow, even as it doesn’t conform with my experience. As I understand it, I should use 于是 only in narrative texts (which I scarcely write).

Even more confusing was the second suggestion, which wanted the first 所以 changed to 因此,then 于是 changed to 所以, the second running directly counter to the advice in the linked post. Again I am utterly confused.

For me personally, after several hours of deliberation, the quick succession of two similar conjunctions creates a jarring feeling. But I didn’t know a better phrasing. Perhaps now I would try 不得不吃荤。

Also, it feels as if something like “and therefore in turn“ would be optimal. But I don’t know it in Chinese.


In the snippet:

这几年 我每天吃一顿饭,每周三次去健身房,所以我一定要注意吃足够的蛋白质。于是我并不是素食者。

would you replace 所以 and 于是? With what? Why?

  • 1
    consider so that, because of this, and then
    – imkzh
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 7:44

2 Answers 2



于是 is used to describe an action, not a state of a fact or result. 我并不是素食者 is a fact or result, so 于是 is not very suitable here. Here is an example for the use of 于是: 我很胖,走路都费劲,于是我就给自己制定了一个减肥计划。In this case, 制定了一个减肥计划 is an action(what I have done).

因此: based on what have mentioned; because of this; In your context, you can put 因此我并不是素食者 to mean based on what I said above, I'm not a vegetarian.

所以: as a conclusion; so; therefore; In your case, It's better to add few words to highlight your reasoning. Like:


Here 只 and 还要 are used to emphasize what you have done is abnormal, so you do need to eat more protein to support your body.


这几年 我每天吃一顿饭,每周三次去健身房,所以我一定要注意吃足够的蛋白质。于是我并不是素食者。

I agree with both comments, especially the second, which emphasis the cause-consequence relationship follows the format "because of that......so....".

Personally, I will say this way to emphasize what is the cause/reasons that support the fact about me:

这几年 我每天"只"吃一顿饭,每周去健身房三次,"因為吃的少運動量大", [所以]我一定要[注意]吃足够的"肉食去維持體內的"蛋白质。[于是]所以我并不是素食者。

Word added in " ", to be deleted [ ].

  • You are correct. Mistake corrected. Thanks.
    – r13
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 20:08

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