Apart From in Chinese With 除了chúle

How to Use 除了 chúle for EXCEPTIONS in Chinese! (Grammar Point)

Connectors are what linguists call “conjunctions.” The Chinese word for them is “连词 liáncí – ‘connect + word.’ They serve to take separate thoughts and show how they are connected. Examples in English are words like “and,” “or,” “because,” etc. Chinese connectors are one of the most straightforward elements of the language to understand, so be sure not to overthink them too much :). Today’s article is going to cover the Chinese Conjunctions 除了chúle (apart from in Chinese) and 还有 háiyǒu (also in Chinese).

除了chúle – Apart From in Chinese

There are two primary contexts where you’ll use the connector “除了chúle (apart from in Chinese)”:

Context 1: You want to emphasize that there’s more than meets the eye in a situation. 

除了 chúle + Known Quantity + (以外 yǐwài), (还有 háiyǒu)  

Context 2: You want to make a general statement with a clearly defined exception.

除了 chúle + Exception + (以外 yǐwài – also in Chinese), Generalization.

Sentence 1:

我除了要完成今天的工作以外,还有另外的事情要完成。 – Level 22
Wǒ chúle yào wánchéng jīntiān de gōngzuò yǐwài, háiyǒu lìngwài de shìqíng yào wánchéng.
Apart from having to finish today’s work, I have another thing I want to finish up.

You might say this to someone who wants to see you later. That person likely already knows that you have work to do, so that’s your “known quantity.” However, the like doesn’t realize that you ALSO (还有 háiyǒu) have ‘another thing to finish up.’ 

Note: 以外 yǐwài is optional, but we’d recommend using it to give you more time to think of the second half of your statement.

Apart From in Chinese – Sentence 2:

最近几年,除了有些特别想要宝宝的人以外,不少人都不太想生宝宝。 – Level 22
Zuìjìn jǐ nián, chúle yǒuxiē tèbié xiǎngyào bǎobao de rén yǐwài, bùshǎo rén dōu bùtàixiǎng shēngbǎobao.
During the past several years, very few people want to have children except a few who especially want to.

This person wants to generalize: Very few people want to have babies. However, there’s a glaring exception: The people who especially want to. Sure, this is a bit obvious, but this is a grammar lesson for heck’s sake! 

Sentence 3:

除了衣服,还有别的东西要拿吗? – Level 24
Chúle yīfú, háiyǒu biéde dōngxī yào ná ma?
Apart from clothing, do you have anything else you’d like to take?

Here, once again, we have a known quantity from the speaker’s perspective: You want to take clothes. What’s unknown is if there are ALSO (还有 háiyǒu) other things you want to take. This is why the “除了chúle (apart from in Chinese)” structure is often used in questions like this one.

Sentence 4:

除了那些新陈代谢特别好的人以外,所有经常吃麦当劳的人都会变胖。
Chúle nàxiē xīnchéndàixiè tèbié hǎo de rén yǐwài, suǒyǒu jīngcháng chī Màidāngláo de rén dōu huì biàn pàng.
Apart from those with exceptionally good metabolisms, everyone who frequently eats McDonald’s gets fat.

Once again, the speaker wants to generalize that everyone who eats McDonald’s a lot gets fat, but they recognize that some people don’t seem to get fat no matter what they eat. Therefore, they throw in the exception at the beginning and then make their generalized statement.

The world is full of rules that have exceptions, so you’ll undoubtedly find 除了 chúle…以外 yǐwài (also in Chinese) to be highly useful. Keep it up!

Also, don’t forget there is no such thing as “learning” grammar, it is more about acquisition. You can read more about how to acquire Chinese grammar in a natural way in this post.

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Chinese Conjunctions
26 April , 2021
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