Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I know how to use 和 to link one or more nouns or noun phrases, but in this sentence I don't understand what purpose does it serve at the beginning of the sentence?


(This sentence is from a text about 春节)

share|improve this question
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Here the use of 和 and 差不多 is similar to the phrasing "Like how" in English.

"Like how Westerners celebrate Christmas, this [Chinese New Year] is a holiday when the entire family gets together."

share|improve this answer

A literal meaning of 和 is "with." But here, the context is not a literal with. It's more like "similar to." That could be "with" in a figurative sense.

share|improve this answer

The best way to translate the 和 in this sentence is using "how".

The sentence roughly translates to "Spring festival is similar to how Westerners spend Christmas, this is a festival where the whole family gets together."

However, this is more of a contextual translation. 和 should be closer to "with" but it doesn't make exact sense to say Spring festival is similar to being with Westerners at Christmas...

Normally you would see something like this:


Eating with Westerners


Spend Christmas with Westerners

share|improve this answer
Did you perhaps mean "Spring festival is similar to how Westerners celebrate Christmas, ..."? It is strange that I cannot find this meaning of 和 in any of my dictionaries! – dr Hannibal Lecter Dec 13 '11 at 21:59
@drHannibalLecter - Sorry, I forgot to add the "spend" or "celebrate" to the sentence, I edited it just now. Thanks! See my notes below on it being an 'in context' translation. I notice this a lot with Chinese. You can't translate it character for character, you need to get the whole meaning. – xiaohouzi79 Dec 13 '11 at 22:01
"The whole meaning" is tricky for beginners like me! :) Related to my other question here, can 和 be replaced with 跟 in your example sentences? – dr Hannibal Lecter Dec 13 '11 at 22:07
Yes, example from a Yahoo article: 跟西方人学怎么浪漫 – xiaohouzi79 Dec 13 '11 at 22:11

"和" here means "and".

The subject is omitted. Usually it is "This", "I", "We", "My something" or "Our something".


is the same as




For simplicity, you can understand this way.

(The way of) Our festival and Westerners' Christmas are pretty much the same.

The omission is pretty common in Chinese languages like Mandarin, Cantonese, Classical Chinese. The omission part is mentioned before or can be understood by context.

Other example:

Classical Chinese : "與你何干?" and "與你把臂同遊。"

Cantonese : "同你食飯"

share|improve this answer

和 means compared to here and 差不多 means similar. You could also have ”和西方人不同的是,中国人认为...“ meaning contrary to westerers, the chinese think...

share|improve this answer

protected by user3306356 Dec 5 '14 at 4:45

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.