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My non-Mandarin colleagues have been using

英文也好,中文也好

lately and I assumed from their context they meant both languages are equal in whatever comparison they were making.

When I looked it up I found it to mean "might as well, whether...or..."

How can I use 也好? Is there more (or less) colloquial equivalents? How is 也罢 different?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Both A也好, B也好 and A也罢, B也罢 construction mean "whether A or B". It is usually spoken to show indifference when faced with two options or when the choice really doesn't matter. The explanation from 汉典 says the following:

A也好, B也好

表示不论这样还是那样都不是条件
Example: 插秧也好,收割也好,都不要误了农时。

A也罢, B也罢

表示不以所列举的情况为条件
Example: 运砖也罢,整地也罢,保证超额完成任务。

When used together, people would normally associate 也好 to a positive choice or action and 也罢 to a negative one. For example:

你去也好,不去也罢,都与我无关。

Note that for this A也好, B也罢 construction, the sequence is always 也好 first followed by 也罢.

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Yes, when using 也好 as "A也好, B也好", it's different than use it alone. I partially confirm the answer provided by Question Overflow, but I don't think there is a different about positive/negative.

If using 也好 alone, like:

A: 我们去公园吧?(Shall we go to the park?) B: 我们还是去购物吧。(I'd like us to go shopping.) A: 也好。(All right.)

this mean the proposal from another is not same as yours but still acceptable.

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Would this meaning be equivalent to "That's (your proposal) also good/good too" ? –  tao Sep 21 '13 at 13:41
    
@tao, You are right but there is a slight different. 也好 is not only meaning that's also good but also to accept the proposal instead. In the example above, the A will go shopping with B after saying 也好. –  Allen St.Clair Sep 24 '13 at 17:25

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