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I'm trying to figure out whether an alarm clock 吵醒我, or 叫醒我。 I'd like to say the sentence my alarm clock woke me up at 5:30 today my translation so far is 今天早上五点半, 我手机的闹钟叫醒了我。 Can 叫醒 be done by inanimate objects? Is this construction used in chinese?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Yes, that is fine; it is quite common to use 叫醒 with alarms.

In fact you can use both 吵醒 and 叫醒 here, although there's a small difference in connotations. It isn't a very strong distinction though, so you needn't be overly concerned.

Anyway, 叫醒 normally means the action was intended to wake you. In contrast 吵醒 carries the sense that being woken up is unplanned or unwanted, i.e. some noise woke you (implying you aren't happy about it). For example, if your neighbours' alarm woke you, you'd normally use 吵醒. If the hotel's morning call woke you, that's normally 叫醒.

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Great explanation. –  deutschZuid Jul 20 at 22:13
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Would this be a better translation of the entire sentence: 今天早上五点半我被手机闹钟叫醒了。 ? IE use 被 to say I was woken BY the alarm? –  Daniel Howard Jul 21 at 15:55
    
@DanielHoward yes, that flows better imho –  Semaphore Jul 21 at 16:45

Is depend how you what to tell others on the clock. If you set the alarm and you like to tell your friend about it, and you mentioned

I need alarm to wake me up then use '叫醒' You not intend to wake up but someone accidentally turn on alarm for you then you use '吵醒'

So

'叫醒' use when you need someone to wake you

'吵醒' use it when you don't intend wake up but someone/something disturb your sleep.

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