I compiled a list of different words for what we in English generally would translate to "to carry". Now, the fact that I found them doesn't necessarily mean that they are actually in common usage today. So, which ones of these would you consider to be useful to memorize, and which ones are actually used colloquially? Would you consider the specifications below correct?

  • 抱 - bao - to carry (in your arms)
  • 扛 kang1 - to carry (on your sholder)
  • 背 bei - to carry (on the back)
  • 负 fu4 to carry (on one's back)
  • 挑 tiao1 - to carry (on your shoulder with a pole)
  • 带 dai4 - to carry
  • 顶 ding3 - to carry (on the head)
  • 提 ti2 - to carry (hanging down from the hand)
  • 抬 tai2 - to carry (two or more persons)
  • 挎 kua4 - to carry (slung over arm, shoulder or side)


  • All of them except for 负.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 20:07
  • @NS.X. Sometime we might use 负重 for carry weight, so it could be situational I guess, same for all other various versions of "carry" Jimmy mentioned
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 20:19
  • @Alex You're right, I wasn't very clear. I meant all of them except for 负 are common in spoken language when we want to express 'carry' as physically carrying something. In written and/or rhetorical language all of them are used in their original form or as different variations.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 20:27
  • @NS.X. oh right that's correct! I wasn't aware that Jimmy is also looking for words for commonly used.
    – Alex
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 20:29
  • 1
    a side comment about the tone. 抱 -> bao4, 背 -> bei1
    – dumduke
    Commented Aug 18, 2014 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


扛kang2 not 1

the most commonly used is 带 (to carry, to bring, to take) Sorry, I don't bring the document with me today. 抱歉,我今天没带这个文件。 Yesterday I forgot to take my homework to school. 昨天我忘把作业带到学校了。 He always carries an ipad to the meeting. 他总是带ipad去开会。 No one is allowed to carry a gun in this country 在这个国家,任何人不能携带枪支。 Mice carry diseases. 老鼠携带疾病。

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