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What is there difference between these two expressions, or are they synonmyous?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

There are, in fact, two different words written 别人.

The first is pronounced "biérén" and is a noun. It means "other person (other people)" (另外的人). An example of its use is a sentence like

屋子里只有我和他,没有别人。 Only he and I are in the room, no one else.

The second is pronounced "biéren" (note the neutral tone on the second syllable) and is a personal pronoun. It is used to refer to people other than oneself or the person in question. Dan provides a good example (though I would have used 扔 instead of 丢 -- a native speaker will have to weigh in here); in "是别人丢的", 别人 is a pronoun.

As far as I know, 别的人 can be used in place of 别人 in both cases. Nevertheless, I think 别人 is more common in general, and for some reason I tend to think that 别的人 is more naturally a noun than it is a pronoun.

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I'm not a native speaker, but I think they can be used the same in most cases but in some cases are slightly different.


Did Tom's brother throw the ball?



Not same:

Is Tom's brother the same guy who threw the ball?

不,Tom 的哥哥是别的人 (I don't think 别人 would work as well here)

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some maybe 别人 implies an unknown other person? – jsj Feb 29 '12 at 22:35

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