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I'm interested in what the exact difference is in usage between 检索 and 找 - I know that we can saying 检索资料 but I'm wondering if we could "检索" something that is a bit more concrete.

For example, could I say “检索例句“ or would only 找 work in this context?

Also, is 检索 too formal to use in spoken conversation?

Thanks again for all of your help guys!

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Yes 检索 is a little too formal in spoken conversation, and sounds like a jargon -- its object is usually a database or a library catalog. – Stan Jul 31 '14 at 16:53
i think comment of @Stan could be an answer :p – Marson Mao Aug 1 '14 at 2:13
檢索 is too formal for normal usage in daily conversations. We normally use 找 in Mandarin (or 搵 in Cantonese) – Derek 朕會功夫 Aug 2 '14 at 15:12
up vote 5 down vote accepted

As @Stan said, 檢索 is usually used with database(資料庫) or library catalog(圖書目錄).

You must have some reference (a catalog, or a list...etc) to be able to 檢索. It's not only formal but more restricted. Whereas 找 can be used very widely.

For example one would say "在資料庫裡檢索資料", "在圖書目錄裡檢索資料", and "在網路上找資料", "在圖書館裡找資料", ...etc.

So you can search (or find) (找) for information in any suitable places (or under certain conditions). But you would look up (檢索) for information only in restricted places like database.

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检索 is more formal and often used with an abstract object such as information, or abstract information of some objects, such as books (you don't really 检索 the physical existence of the book, instead you 检索 the information of the book, like title, author etc). You can see it as a query.

找 is simply "to look for". And it's not very formal since modern Chinese prefers words with at least two characters unless it's proper noun, or in existing collocations.

Here are some examples:

You can 检索:

  • Data
  • Books
  • Newspaper
  • Mail
  • Ads

You can't 检索:

  • Desks
  • Cars
  • Coffee

Unless you are trying to 检索 their information.

But colloquially you can 找 information.

So in summary: You 检索 to 找 (look for) something by examine their information, e.g. the title of a book, the manufacture of a product, the subject of an article.

You 找 simple to look for or seek something. You can see 检索 as a subset of 找

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In chinese, 检索 always use with Article, Periodicals and library. And sometime we located the word '检索' after them,like 期刊检索,图书检索,论文检索.

In normal life when we want to find something, We use 找,For example, 找东西,找朋友,找某个地方

BTW, 找例句 :)

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