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I know that 东西 translates to "something" in English. So I would like to know, can both 一些东西 and 一点东西 be used? If so, what are their differences in meaning?

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一些东西 refers to "some stuff" in a general sense. However 一点东西 is subtly different: because 一点 can mean either "some in a general sense" or "(only a) few", when you say 一点东西, the listener would probably feel you suggest "things are few". Thus I don't hear "一点东西" often. "这是我的一点心意" is a good example which shows the nuance. To be humble, native speakers prefer "一点心意" to "一些心意" here. – Stan Sep 1 '14 at 6:34
    
cf。"实用汉语近义虚词词典"一点(数量)/一些(数量)[相同]都是数量短语,以下情况常可互换:1。都表示不确定而有不多的数量,作宾语或定语。不过"一点"表示的‌​数量更小:1你那么多苹果,分一点给我吧?(一些✓)2希望我们的生活多那么一点乐趣。(一些✓)3你等着,我去买一些吃的。(一点✓)4冰箱里还有一些水果,你自己去拿吧‌​。(一点✓)5只剩这一些了,怕不够吧?(一点✓)2。都可以在形容词之后作补语,或者组成"有一点、有一些"放在形容词或动词之前,表示不高的程度。通常都可以互换,不过‌​"一点"表示的程度更低。此时"一"可以省略:♦ 胖一点 长一点 简单一点 高兴一点 。(一些✓)♦ 有一点胖 有一点长 有一点冷 有一点激动 有一点难过 有一点紧张 。(一些✓)1让工作轻松一些,让生活简单一些。(一点✓)2他准备的时间更长一些。(一点✓)3小林比以前胖了一些。(一点✓)4今天的确有(一)点冷。(一点✓)5他‌​刚才有(一)些激动。(一点✓)[不同]1。"一点、一些"都可用于抽象事物;"一些"还可用于人,"一点"不用于人:♦ 一点意思 一点问题 一点困难 一点时间 (一些✓)♦ 一些人 一些朋友 一些亲戚 一些学生 一些老师 一些医生(一点✗) 1还有一点时间再坐会儿吧。(一些✓)2我还有一点问题,想向您请教。(一些✓)3我的一些学生已经找到了工作。(一点✗) – user6065 Nov 28 '15 at 16:30
    
4一些医生对工作不负责任,引起了病人的反感。(一点✗) 1还有一点时间再坐会儿吧。(一些✓)2我还有一点问题,想向您请教。(一些✓)3我的一些学生已经找到了工作。(一点✗)4一些医生对工作不负责任,引起了病人的反感。‌​(一点✗)2。形状小的具体事物"一些、一点"都可用,形状比较大的具体事物用"一些",不可计算数量的事物用"一点":♦一些钱 一些水果 一些饭 一些米 一些菜 一些纸 一些药(形状小,一点✓)♦一些树 一些建筑物 一些学校 一些房子 一些商店 (形状大,一点✗)♦一点风 一点水 一点雨 一点雪(不可数,一些✗)1站在这里,对岸的一些建筑物看得很清楚。(一点✗)2太热了,要是有一点风就好了。(一些✗)3你先喝一点水,慢慢说。(一些✗)3。"一些"‌​主要表示数量不确定,"一点"主要表示数量很少;如果表示数量不确定但不表示少,要用"一些",不用"一点":1周先生在公司里曾担任过一些重要职务。(一点✗)2刘主任回‌​答了一些大家关心的问题。(一点✗)3张丽丽给了我一些和专业有关的书。(一点✗)4这个网站提供了一些六留学信息。(一点✗)4。可以说"没有一点。。。"、"一点都不(‌​没)。。。;"一些"不能这么用:1这里没有一点节日的气氛。(一些✗)2家里没有一点吃的东西了。(一些✗)3几年过去,他的毛病一点都没改。(一些✗)4工忙了一天,可‌​是一点都不觉得累。(一些✗) – user6065 Nov 28 '15 at 16:31
    
also see grammar books, e.g."实用现代汉语语法"第二编 词类 第三章 数词和量词 第二节 量词 一、名量词 4。不定量词:表示不定数量的量词有两个:些、点儿。"些"和"点儿"前一般只能用数词"一",如"些"、"一点儿"。一般来说,"一些"比"一点儿"表示的数量要多。"‌​些"和"点儿"前还可以用指代词"这"、"那"、"这么"、"那么"。"这么些"、"那么洗"表示数量多,"这么点儿"、"那么点儿"表示数量少。(1)"(一)些"的用法 "(一)些"可以用在名词前,表示不定量。例如:1你去上街买些吃的吧,我饿了。2你刚才都说了些什么呀?太没有礼貌了!3这些书你快拿走吧,放在这儿太碍事了。"些"前‌​可以用"好"表示"多"。如"好些(个)人"、"好些(间)房子"、"好些(本)书",些"后的量词多省去不用。"(一)些"也可以用在形容词和动词后,表示不太高的程度。‌​如"他的病好(一)些了"、"说话小声些"。表示程度时,"(一)点儿"比"(一)些"更常用,而且更加口语化。表示程度的"(一)些"可以用于比较句。例如:1他比我瘦一‌​些。2小张花钱比以前注意一些了。(2)"(一)点儿"的用法"(一)点儿"用在名词前表示事物的数量少。例如(1)A:你刚才上街买什么了?B1:买了点儿水果。(水果不‌​多)B2:买了些水果。(水果应该不少)"(一)点儿"在祈使句或者在"想"、"要"等能原动词后, – user6065 Nov 29 '15 at 19:55
    
可以起缓和语气的作用,使说话更客气。例如:2你喝点儿什么?3我饿了,想吃点儿什么,你有吃的吗?"(一)些"没有这个用法。"点儿"前面除了可以用"一"外,还可以用‌​"半",表示的数量比"一点儿"更少,如"你半点儿本事都没有,还想跟人家比?"(一)点儿"也可以用在形容词和动词后,表示程度,意思是"略微"。如"好一点儿了"、"多‌​一点儿"、"高一点儿"、"注意一点儿"、"少声一点儿"。当与某一标准比较时,"(一)点儿"要放在形容词或者状态动词的后边,不要用"有"。例如:1你妹妹好像比你高一‌​点儿。2今天比昨天冷点儿。3这间房子你们两个人住稍微小了点儿。4这双鞋瘦了点儿,我穿不了。5穿黑衣服会显得人瘦一点儿。6你以后花钱得省一点儿。7你走近一点儿,我看‌​不清楚。8她们姐儿俩,我更喜欢妹妹一点儿。9这件衣服颜色深了一点儿,我不想买。(3)"有(一)点儿"的用法 前所述,"(一)点儿"与形容词或者状态动词一起用时,可以表示较低的程度。但是应该注意的是,当不进行比较、用的又是负向形容词时(参见本编第五章第二节"形容词的分类‌​"),通常要把"(一)点儿"放在形容词或状态动词前,"(一)点儿"前一定要"",即要说"有(一)点儿。。。。例如:1今天有一点儿冷,你多穿点儿衣服吧。不能说"今天‌​一点儿冷"。2她好像有一点儿不高兴,怎么了?3我有点儿累了,先走了。4这个人有点儿不讲理,你不要跟他说了。 – user6065 Nov 29 '15 at 19:57

Yes, 一些东西 and 一点东西 are both OK. 一些东西 means something that the quantity can be either many or less, while 一点东西 means something but not many.

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You can say both, but they apply in different situations.

一些 means a small number of countable things. Use it when you would say "some" or "a few" in English.

For example:
一些蛋糕 "some cakes" is appropriate to talk about three or four cakes in the bakery window.
一些汽水 "some sodas" is appropriate to talk about a few cans of soda on the table.
一些自行车 "some bicycles" is appropriate to talk about some bicycles outside your school.

On the other hand, 一点 means a small amount or "a little bit" of a "mass noun".

For example:
一点蛋糕 "a little bit of cake" is appropriate to talk about a portion of a single cake.
一点汽水 "a little bit of soda" is appropriate to talk about how much is left in your glass.

The difference is very clear when you try to say 一点自行车 since a bicycle cannot be portioned out "a little bit" at a time.

tl;dr To make it easy to remember, if you can count how many you have (apples, kittens, phones, etc.) then use 一些, otherwise, go with 一点。

明白了?

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Shouldn't it be 明白吗 or 明白了吗? in this context – Huangism Jan 8 '15 at 19:33
    
@Huangism Nah, I used a Western-style question mark to indicate my application of an extended second tone, which, to the shock of many, is often used in place of a question marker. ;c) Academically, it needs a 吗, but the 了 is necessary for change of status here. Points for that catch. – Andrew Kozak Jan 9 '15 at 2:36
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I'm not sure I get Andrew Kozak's answer to @Huangism 's question… but 明白了? here is like "You get it?" in English. – Vibius Vibidius Zosimus Nov 29 '15 at 17:09

一些means "some", but 一点 means "a little".

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In math, 一些東西 is more than 一點東西.

Just like "some" is more than "a little".

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Be careful with the assumptions you're making here. In English, "some" and "a little" are not well-defined. Asking someone for "some" water or "a little" water is likely to yield the same amount of liquid in your glass. Even saying "I'll have some more" versus "I'll have a little more" makes no difference. – Andrew Kozak Oct 19 '14 at 21:57
    
@AndrewKozak it is also the case in Chinese. Asking for 一些水 and 一点水 is also likely to yield the same amount of water. – Wang Dingwei Jan 8 '15 at 1:03

I've been studying chinese for a couple of years and this is the most difficult subject I have bumped into with difference. It's like a stone in the road I can't jump over. All those answers are right in a superficial and practical level but implies a western approach to something far more complex.

Many natives have told me that chinese people don't make a distinction between countable or uncountable nouns, and that I should approach the subject of indefinite measure words with a chinese mind. 一点 doesn't always means "a little" of a mass noun. It can be used sometimes with countable nouns in english like for example "advice" (一点意见 = a few advices, not a little bit of advice) but we can't say 一点锚 (some cats). That would be incorrect. Which leads me to think that chinese DO really make a distinction between countable or uncountable things (ok, maybe this way of naming it is misleading as everything can be counted with it's appropriate number and classifier, let's called them common nouns VS material nouns, or individual nouns VS mass nouns, whatever...)

On the other hand, you say that 一些 means "a few", but it can also be used with things that for an english speaker would be mass nouns like sand, water, gold or rice, (like "a few waters!") in the same way we do with 一点. So, the boundaries between countable and uncountable nouns seem to be quite blurred and confusing and I still find some inconsistencies even when I try to think as a native chinese.

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I would read those as "several things" and "a bit of stuff", respectively. As others have noted, 一些 is almost always used with a countable noun and 一點 is typically (though not quite as universally) used with a mass noun. The situation for the latter phrase is not that different from the confusion between "fewer" and "less" in English; although "less" should not be used with countable nouns, you'll find it (and 一點) used with them anyway, from time to time.

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