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I was trying to explain the meaning of the phrase "hang out" to a Chinese friend, and the first thing that came to mind was 一起做什么了, with me intending 什么了 to mean "something". He seemed to understand what I was trying to say, but I'm pretty sure I didn't speak correctly.

This turn of phrase came to mind because I'm pretty sure I have heard someone say 什么什么了 as a placeholder to mean "whatever" or "something", signifying that the speaker doesn't care what the actual thing is.

Is this expression correct?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

First you were right by using 什么 to mean "something" in Chinese.

However, 了 is a past tense indicator, which was not supposed to be there because you didn't hang out yet.

The correct way to say “Do something together” in Chinese is:




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Have you ever heard this expression "什么什么了" used? I can't remember where I heard it, and I think I may have just dreamed it up. That was why I instinctively said 一起做什么了 instead of 一起做什么. – Meta Jul 4 '14 at 13:41
As a native speaker, I never heard of "什么什么了". One possible you had heard could be 管它怎么怎么了 (literally mind it how and how), which means (I don't) care how it happened. – Jul 4 '14 at 23:55

By no meaning of bad,among the friends you can say:""or""
在朋友家混”,"hang out in friend's place"
在酒吧混”or“泡吧”,"hang out in the bar"
我们今天去泡游泳池”,"We are going to hang out in the pool"
"晃悠"also express "hang out"
他和朋友在广场晃悠”,"He is hanging out with friends in the square."
When you invite friends on the phone,you can say:“今天出来晃晃?”,or“出来兜兜?”

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Why don't you say "一起去玩" / "一起去走走" / etc.?

There is no need to stress the phrase "doing something" in this case.

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I wanted to stress genericity of action. "Hang out" can include both playing and walking (though I'm not proficient enough in Chinese to know if either of your suggested sentences are just as generic or not). – Meta Jul 7 '14 at 18:32
If you are referring to the meaning "spend a lot of time in a particular place or with particular people" (Longman Dictionary 2003), I think you can use the term "混", as mentioned by meeming. If it is just to relax, I suggest "玩" or "走走". – Henry HO Jul 8 '14 at 2:52

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