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Expressing Distance With Li

The Distance Between Two Places


The distance between two places is expressed using the co-verb lí 離 (traditional) 离 (simplified). Lí is translated as “from” but it is only used when talking about distance, not movement. If you want to talk about the starting point between two places, use the co-verb cóng 從 (trad) 从 (simp).

The construction of sentences using lí is:


Distance can be expressed in specifics (miles/kilometers, minutes/hours) or generalities (far/not far, close/not close).

Examples of Positive Sentences Using Li for Distance

Wǒ jiā lí huǒchēzhàn hěn jìn.
My house is very close to the train station.
(trad) 我家離火車站很近。
(simp) 我家离火车站很近。

Xuéxiào lí tú shū guǎn hěn yuǎn.
It’s very far from the school to the library.
(trad) 學校離圖書管很遠。
(simp) 学校离图书管很远。

Examples of Negative Sentences Using Li for Distance

Zhèlǐ lí gōngyuán bù yuǎn.
It’s not far from here to the park.
(trad) 這裡離公園不遠。
(simp) 这里离公园不远。

Shìqū lí zhèlǐ bù hěn jìn.
It’s not very close from downtown to here.
(trad) 市區離這裡不很近。
(simp) 市区离这里不很近。

Examples of Questions Using Li for Distance

Yīyuàn lí chēzhàn hěn yuǎn ma?
Is it very far from the hospital to the bus station?
(trad) 醫院離車站很遠嗎?
(simp) 医院离车站很远吗?

Nǐ jiā lí tā jiā hěn jìn ma?
Is it very close from your house to his house?
(trad) 你家離他家很近嗎?
(simp) 你家离他家很近吗?

Zhèlǐ lí shìchǎng yuǎn bù yuǎn?
How far is it from here to the market?
(trad) 這裡離市場遠不遠?
(simp) 这里离市场远不远?

Luòshānjī lí jiùjīnshān duō yuǎn?
How far is it from Los Angeles to San Francisco?
(trad) 洛杉磯離舊金山多遠?
(simp) 洛杉矶离旧金山多远?
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