Relative times for Years

I wrote in previous posts how Chinese refer to relative days , relative weeks and relative months in Mandarin. In this last post of this short series, we'll look at how they refer to years.

(Nián) is the word for Year. It's pronounced roughly like "knee-en".

今年 (Jīnnián) means "This year"

Years don't use up and down words like weeks and months. Instead:

去年 (Qùnián) means "Last year" (where Qù means "Go" – or in this case gone)

明年 (Míngnián) means "Next year" (where Míng literally means "Clear or bright")

Other periods are a bit different though. You don't double up the words like they do with weeks:

前年 (Qiánnián) is "The year before last". Qián usually relates to "in front of".

次年 (Cì nián) can be used for "The year after next", although there are alternatives to this.

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