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How to use “参观(cānguān)” and“访问(fǎngwèn)”?

“参观(cānguān)” and “访问(fǎngwèn)” both mean to visit. But they don’t mean the same in Mandarin. The following will help you understand how to use these two words.

Seline Yang
Seline Yang
Book lesson

“参观(cānguān)” and “访问(fǎngwèn)” both mean to visit. But they don’t mean the same in Mandarin. The following will help you understand how to use these two words.

Look at the following two sets of sentences:

(1) A. √上星期我们访问了一位老农民。
Shàng xīngqī wǒmen fǎngwènle yī wèi lǎo nóngmín.
B. ×上星期我们参观了一位老农民。
Shàng xīngqī wǒmen cānguānle yī wèi lǎo nóngmín.

Last week we visited an old farmer.

(2) A.√我想去参观那个图书馆。
Wǒ xiǎng qù cānguān nàgè túshū guǎn.
B. ×我想去访问那个图书馆。
Wǒ xiǎng qù fǎngwèn nàgè túshū guǎn.

I want to visit the library.

“参观(cānguān)” means to go to see and spend time in (a place) as a tourist

“访问(fǎngwèn)” means to go to see (someone or something) for a specific purpose, such as to make an interview or inspection or to receive or give professional advice or help.

Let’s compare the following sentences:

(3) A.我们参观了复旦大学。
Wǒmen cānguānle fùdàn dàxué.
B.我们访问了复旦大学。
Wǒmen fǎngwènle fùdàn dàxué.

We visited Fudan University.

Variant A means that we saw the campus, teaching building, library, student accommodation, food, and other places of Fudan University.

Variant B means that we had a formal discussion with teachers and students of Fudan University, and through this discussion, we learned about the situation of Fudan University.

We can also say: “我们参观并访问了复且大学。”

Wǒmen cānguān bìng fǎngwènle fù dàn dàxué.

From the way of asking questions, we can also clearly distinguish the different usages of “参观(cānguān)” and “访问(fǎngwèn)”.

(4) A.你们参观了哪些地方?
Nǐmen cānguānle nǎxiē dìfāng?

Where did you visit?

B.你们访问了谁(哪些人、什么人)?
Nǐmen fǎngwènle shéi (nǎxiē rén, shénme rén)?

Who did you visit?

C.你访问过哪些国家(城市)?
Nǐ fǎngwènguò nǎxiē guójiā(chéngshì)?

What countries (cities) have you visited?

Practice:

Think about the different uses of “参观(cānguān)” and “访问(fǎngwèn)” in the following phrases.

If you are interested, you can write down your understanding of these words.

参观工厂
cānguān gōngchǎng
访问工厂
fǎngwèn gōngchǎng
visit factory
参观农村
cānguān nóngcūn
访问农村
fǎngwèn nóngcūn
visit the countryside
参观展览会
cānguān zhǎnlǎn huì
visiting exhibitions
访问朋友(老师)
fǎngwèn péngyǒu (lǎoshī)
visiting friends (teachers)
参观博物馆
cānguān bówùguǎn
visiting museums
访问中国(上海、北京)
fǎngwèn Zhōngguó (Shànghǎi, Běijīng)
visiting China (Shanghai, Beijing)
参现名胜古迹
cān xiàn míngshèng gǔjī
visit places of interest
访问一位有名的作家
fǎngwèn yī wèi yǒumíng de zuòjiā
visit a famous writer
参观杨浦大桥
cānguān yángpǔ dàqiáo
visit Yangpu Bridge
参观老师的家
cānguān lǎoshī de jiā
Visit the teacher's home
参观新建的电影院
cānguān xīnjiàn de diànyǐngyuàn
Visit the newly built cinema
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Seline Yang

My name is Seline. I'm a Certified Mandarin Teacher. I have teaching experience with over 2000 students. Learning Chinese with good methods and skills will make it easier. Let's try it now!

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