No Nonsense Newbie Tips: Four 喜欢 Alternatives

In this installment of No Nonsense Newbie Tips, we want to help our readers escape the 喜欢 (xǐ huan) rut.

Found in chapter 1 of all beginner textbooks, 喜欢 is an easy catch all for anything and everything. 中国菜? 喜欢。 王老师? 喜欢。 骑自行车? 喜欢。 在沙滩上散步? 也喜欢。

Surely, your favorite hobbies, foods, people, and ideas deserve more descriptive words than tired old 喜欢. Today, we’ll discuss alternatives to describe things you like, are fond of, prefer, or enjoy.

This is not to say 喜欢 isn’t a good, functional word. On the contrary, it is a very frequently encountered verb, and is essential for learners to grasp.  However, if you find 喜欢 becoming a crutch for anything and everything positive, it is important to incorporate more situation specific words to help you escape this rut!

You can find even more vocabulary through FluentU’s native Chinese videos, which show words and phrases used in context. Plus, use the program’s learning tools to make sure you actually remember every new word you learn.

1. 享受 (xiǎng shòu)- To enjoy

Instead of telling your boss you really “喜欢“ your first week on the job, let him know you “享受” it instead. This word, meaning enjoy, can be used in a wide range of contexts, as in English. From immediate sensual pleasures to grander ideas of freedoms or rights, 享受 can be used to show appreciation or enjoyment of things both tangible and abstract.

Example A


liú dòng rén kǒu jiāng yǔ shì mín xiǎng shòu tóng děng dài yù

The “floating population” (migrant workers) will enjoy the same treatment as city residents.

Example B


ān jìng jià qī xiǎng shòu zuì měi yǐn jū dì li de xiǎo lǚg uǎn

During a quiet holiday, enjoy the most beautiful and remote small hotel


2. 欣赏 (xīn shǎng)- Appreciate, admire, savor

Similar to 享受 in that it can be used to describe “enjoying” or “appreciating” something, 欣赏 more specifically means something suits your taste or preferences, as in art, music, or food.  It can denote a level of sophistication to 欣赏 an exquisite piece of art, a complex balance of flavors, or the grandiosity of nature.

Example A


yóu kè zài xiàn dài yì shù bó wù guǎn xīn shǎng yì shù zuò pǐn

Tourists admired the works at the Museum of Modern Art

Example B


huā diǎner shí jiān xīn shǎng suǒ yǒu zhè yī qiè, zhè yàng zuò huì bǐ nǐ yòng jìn měi fēn měi miǎo qù dé dào gèng duō yào kuài lè de duō

Spend more time appreciating everything, you’ll be far happier than if you try to cram everything in all the time

3. 倾向于 (qīng xiàng yú)- Inclined towards, prefer, prone to

If you are with friends trying to decide between two dinner options, instead of the predictable “我更喜欢。。。”, use “我倾向于。。。“. 倾向 means tendency or inclination, and adding the particle shows your preference toward the following option. This phrase is a bit more formal than, and can never directly substitute for, 喜欢.  It is a good way to indicate your preference for one of several options. Similar to “I’m leaning towards…” in English.

Example A


rú guǒ wǒ yǒu jī huì zài zhōu mò qù dǎ gāo ěr fū huò zhě qù huá xuě, wǒ zǒng shì qīng xiàng yú huá xuě

If I have the option to play golf or go skiing on the weekend, I always prefer to ski

Example B


gōng sī qīng xiàng yú jiāng wài bāo fān yì fú wù jiāo gěi néng tí gōng quán miàn jiě jué fāng àn de hé zuò huǒ bàn

Companies prefer to outsource translation services to partners who can provide comprehensive solutions.


4- 热衷 (rè zhōng)- Fond of, keen on, crazy about

Probably closest to 喜欢 out of these four, 热衷 goes one step further. Beyond simply liking something, 热衷 shows your ardent enthusiasm or fondness, even bordering on 疯狂 (fēng kuáng-crazy) adoration.

Example A


zhōng guó shāng rén rè zhōng tóu zī fà guó pú táo jiǔ zhuāng

Chinese businessmen crazy about investing in French wineries

Example B

“热衷”走出去” 中企对外直接投资额有望持续增长”

rè zhōng“zǒu chū qù” zhōng qǐ duì wài zhí jiē tóu zī é yǒu wàng chí xù zēng zhǎng

Chinese businesses keen on foreign direct investment hope to continue growth

And One More Thing...

If you want to continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.

FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.

FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos.

FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.

FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.

The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It customizes quizzes to focus on areas that need attention and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a 100% personalized experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe