Take the 2-minute tour ×
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. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Both 合适 and 适合 mean to fit/to suit.

I know the grammatical form needed for each one is different:

在这个情况下,你在穿的衣服就不合适。

我在找一个适合我的女孩子。

Aside of that, I have been told they cannot be used interchangeably but depending on the context either only one or the other may be used. Is that correct? How to know when to use each one?

My question refers only to the semantic context each of them is used in, not to the grammar itself.

share|improve this question
add comment

4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The biggest differences between the two are:

  1. 合适 is an adjective while 适合 is a verb.

  2. 合适 can be used as an attributive modifier. E.g., 合适的机会

    适合 cannot. I.e., you cannot say 适合的工作

share|improve this answer
    
I've heard that although both can be used as a predicate. E.g., 这种工作对他很合适 and 这件衣服适合你的体形 If 合适 is used as a predicate, it cannot be followed by a object. While 适合, must be follow by an object or another word when it is used as a predicate. I've seen conflicting uses of this online so I cannot be sure. –  Krazer Dec 12 '12 at 15:27
    
适合 is also an adjective (just looked it up on nciku.com because what you said didn't sound right to me). –  Dan Dec 12 '12 at 16:30
    
@Dan Please tell me what doesn't sound right. Under "Comprehensive Chinese-English Dictionary" in the entry you mentioned it says that it is a verb,under the Collins it's an adjective. The Contemporary Chinese Dictionary remains the most authoritative and popular account of the modern Chinese language. –  Krazer Dec 12 '12 at 16:45
    
@Dan Can you show an example where it's an attributive modifier? –  Stumpy Joe Pete Dec 12 '12 at 16:47
    
In spoken language, the object of 适合 can be omitted when the context is clear. 我要找一份适合我的工作 becomes 我要找一份适合的工作, which may leave you the impression of 适合 being used as an adjective. But in serious proofreading, I would definitely point out 适合的工作 as a wrong usage. –  NS.X. Dec 12 '12 at 18:34
add comment

As I've heard it:

适合: shi4 he2 is a verb.

那件衬衫适合你. That shirt suits you!

合适: he2 shi4 is an adj.

那是一件很合适的衬衫. That is a very suitable shirt!

Also, you are correct... they shouldn't be used interchangeably

share|improve this answer
add comment

OP, look at it this way, I feel that typically "适合" has a bit of a verb meaning, having a "适". I feel that this statement is the equivalent to a verb.

With regards to your first two statements, the first one works fine with "适合", but the second one, if you say "我在找一个合适我的女孩" (~I am looking for a girlfriend that I find suitable) is passable in colloquial speech, though it might stand out awkwardly.

The former is more like an adjective.Notice its "适" after "合",Chinese expression(“适合” and "合适"are two Chinese expression)

For us the second word is like a “助词”(auxiliary word and it's like a modal particle) at least for me,so the sencond word has no means.

It's a habit when you express emotion or something use a expression with at least two similar word together that the real meaning of this Chinese expression only with the first word(sometimes it maybe the others,it depends the situation and your comprehension)

For convenient,you only need to think the first word “合” or "适".

"合" in these expressions is a adjective, when you use it in expression most of the time it is a adjective,so think what adjective used for will help you understand it.(It also has mean of verb but you need not to know this time)

And I feel that the 适 in the latter can sometimes have the meaning of a verb. (Looking for what they have discussed in the second hyperlink they also get confused about these word now and then)

This is a Baidu discussion of the two

This is another form discussion on the differences between the two from Baidu Post Bar

I hope this helps you. Chinese is a language you have to pay close attention to ponder its meaning.

楼主,是这样的,我感觉一般"适合"有点动词意味,有一个"适"字,这个词我觉得相当于是个动词,就你那两句而言,第一句用适合也是可以的,但是第二句,就感觉而言如果你说“我在找一个合适我的女孩”这样口语也说的过去,就是显的有些别扭。前者更像一个形容词,后者的"适"我感觉有时候做动词意义。

中文有的时候有两个意义相近的词表示一个意思,这个时候第二词更像是一个虚的(没有实际意义),注意其中一个词的意思即可,一般来说第一个为真正本意的概率大一些(当然,其他情况也是有的)

所以这里你注意两个词组的第一个词即可.

这是百度关于二者区别的一个连接

这是某贴吧的讨论

希望对你有帮助,中文更讲究一个语境和形义思维。

share|improve this answer
    
Can you please edit your answer to provide with an English version? –  bytebuster Dec 13 '12 at 0:21
    
I added a rough translation... I hope this helps. –  Krazer Dec 13 '12 at 3:36
    
I have added some expression in English with my own comprehension and I think it will be helpful –  frame99 Dec 13 '12 at 5:05
add comment

Two cents here,

To be safe, always use 适合 + 我/你...,比如说适合我,适合你,适合他,适合妈妈,适合爸爸,适合弟弟,适合妹妹,适合某某某…… 适合后面必有介词。

合适作为形容词,修饰名词的时候,会加上“的”字,合适的人,合适的衣服,合适的女朋友,合适的话,合适的场景。

合适也常出现在一句话的尾部,比如说,“这个电脑合适”。

合适在生活口语中,常常之前加上其它修饰副词,例如,真合适,太合适了,十分合适,极其合适,超合适 ……

PS: 附带一个成语——“正合我意”。

For instance, when someone propose to go to a restaurant to do lunch, and you like the idea, and you could exclaim with "正合我意",or “正中下怀”!

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

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