During your studies, you must have come across 才 in the written language. It is used quite often, and can be frequently heard in spoken Chinese as well. So, do you find it confusing and want to know more about how it is used? If so, this article will help. Here, I will present the many meanings of this word, as well as detailed examples for each. Let’s have a look!
Meaning #1: Not unless, not until, then and only then, for no other reason
Meaning #2: A moment ago, just
Meaning #3: Only, 才 + number
Meaning #4: Actually, really (used to emphasize the words before, finish with 呢)
Meaning #5: Not until, time + 才
Meaning #6: Something that happened just before
Meaning #7: Something that happened or finished recently
Meaning #8: Used to indicate a small number, a small amount of time, poor ability, etc.
Meaning #9: Because of something, to get something (use 只有…才；必须…才；因为…才；由于…)
Meaning #10: Used to emphasize something after (finish with 呢)
dé cái jiān bèi 德（才）兼备: With ability and political integrity
duō cái duō yì 多（才）多艺: Versatile
réncái 人（才）: A great man
yǒucái 有（才）: Great
As the saying goes, “practice makes perfect,” and I am sure that if you put effort into practicing this, you can learn to use it well in Chinese! Good luck! And don’t give up because Chinese is a very interesting language.