1. The WordReference Forums have moved to new forum software. (Details)

即将 / 正要

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by nic456, Apr 18, 2013.

  1. nic456 Senior Member


    Imagine you are supposed to meet a friend, you wait, and they do not show up. You put on your jacket, rise from where you are sitting, and suddenly, there they are. Would you say?
    1 我即将离开
    2 我正要离开
    There are plenty of hits for both, but even more for 2. My guess is that 2 is more informal because of 要.

    Any comments/elaborations/explanations/clarifications/corrections welcome.

    : tense/aspect
  2. ptRosa New Member

    我们大部分会用正要离开(We prefered choose 2,because you are rising.“action” is begining.For example,if you will leave for China,before you leave,you are talking with your friend :'我即将离开“maybe Tomorrow,not rightnow,but"我正要离开”mean right now。Can you understande? I'm sorry my english is poor
  3. SuperXW Senior Member

    I don't think 即将 is more far-away than 正要.
    The essential difference is, like you suggested, 正要 is colloquial while 即将 is a rather a formal, written word. We seldom say 即将 unless using it in an article.
    In some degree, 离开 is also a little bit formal. In real life, more people would say something like 我正要走呢! / 我刚要走,你就来了! / 我都要走了你才来!
  4. zhg Senior Member

    I think the answers may vary depends on whom you are addressing to.
    If they are your friends who just showed up,I will say the same as SuperXW suggested,and in that case 走 instead of 离开 is more likely to be heard.
    However if you are describing it to your other friends or even yourself(mostly in a diary or a letter not a face-to-face chat),then it is possible to say 当我正要起身离开时,他/她们出现了。(Edit What I'm trying to say is 正要离开 may seem inappropriate(sorry I meant "not idiomatic") here but it is certainly possible given a right context)
    Also note that 刚要,正要and准备要,meaning be about to ,are used collectively.And there is nothing informal with the use of 要, they all could appear in formal or informal speeches.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2013
  5. sisuer Junior Member

    I think “正要” means "be about to" while "即将“ means "soon".

    In that scenario, I would say "我正要走呢" to my friends.

    ”即将“ is a rather formal expression, often used when something people have been expecting is approaching. For example, "本店即将开业。" (Our shop is opening soon.); "我们即将到达目的地。”(We are arriving at our destination.); "答案即将揭晓“ (The answer will soon be revealed.)
  6. nic456 Senior Member

    Thank you to all for your comments. It gives me the impression that 正要 / 即将 may be translated as about to/soon as a rule of thumb, but if you have a closer look, the distinction becomes fuzzy, which means it is not that clear.

    @ptRosa: 你的英文 is infinitely better than 我的中文. 我只会问问题 - All I can do is ask questions. And if the distinction about to versus soon is valid, your observation that one is closer to the present moment than the other is also valid!

    @SuperXW: I appreciate your authentic examples, because they show the use of particles, which is a difficult aspect of language learning.

    Have a nice day!

Share This Page