This tag is for asking help in differentiating between characters, pronunciations or syntax.

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19
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the difference between 狗 and 犬?

狗 (gǒu) and 犬 (quǎn) both mean "dog" and both seem relatively common, but is there any difference between them? When should I use one and when should I use the other?
16
votes
12answers
2k views

Is there a difference between 愿意 and 肯?

Is there a difference between 愿意 and 肯 in the following sentence? Are you willing to go to China for work? 你愿不愿意去中国工作? or 你肯不肯去中国工作?
13
votes
2answers
381 views

What is the difference between 总是 and 一直?

I've always (no pun intended) wondered what the difference is between the two words. I thought they both meant always, but I've never quite grasped in what context they should be used. Could anyone ...
12
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the difference between 绿 and 青?

What is the difference between 绿 and 青? Do they refer to different shades of green? I know 青 can be used in many more contexts; it can be used to mean 'young' or 'immature'. I find it boggling how 青 ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

What is the difference between 哈哈, 呵呵, 嘻嘻, and 嘿嘿?

I always see 哈哈, 呵呵, 嘻嘻, and 嘿嘿 in WeChat, QQ, etc, but I don't really understand the subtle differences between them and when to use them appropriately, especially 呵呵. I use 呵呵 myself now, but I'm ...
10
votes
6answers
616 views

What is the difference in use between 完 and 了?

If I understood correctly, both 完 and 了 can be used to indicate a completed action, so what is the difference in use? How do we properly use 完 in a sentence? Which contexts would be valid?
9
votes
2answers
408 views

What's the difference between 咁 (gam3) and 噉 (gam2)?

What does "gam" mean in these two contexts, and why is a different character used in each? Note 咁 used in this sentence 我睇見你坐喺梳化椅處, 唔停咁同張太太,何太太,王小姐佢哋傾偈。 (ngo5 tai2 gin3 nei5 co5 hai2 so1 ...
9
votes
2answers
186 views

What is the difference between 有名,著名 and 闻名?

We know 名 means name or famous, what is the subtle difference between 有名,著名 and 闻名? Thanks!
9
votes
3answers
531 views

What's the actual difference between 文 and 语?

Both mean "language" with some other related meanings. A friend of mine told me that while 文 refers more to the written language, 语 is more related to the spoken one. Is this a difference and is it ...
8
votes
7answers
321 views

早已 and 早就: what's the difference?

To my understanding, both hold the meaning of "already happened long ago". What are the nuances though? Are they interchangeable? Examples: 他早已打定主意了。 (He made up his mind long ago.) 他早就搬走了。 (He ...
8
votes
2answers
385 views

Difference between 接受 and 接收

The first one (接受 jiēshòu) seems far more general and frequent: 我接受邀请。 I accepted the invitation. 他将接受口试。 He will take an oral examination. 他拒绝接受治疗。 He refused treatment. The second one (接收 ...
8
votes
3answers
706 views

What is the difference between 免费 and 无偿?

I'm trying to sort out the difference between 免费 and 无偿 as adverbs. Would you say 水果店的老板免费送了我六个苹果。 or would it be 无偿送了?
8
votes
1answer
132 views

Difference between 实际, 现实, 确实, and 实在

These 4 words (实际, 现实, 确实, and 实在) all mean different combinations of 'real', 'indeed', 'practical', 'really', and 'reality'. Is there any easy way to distinguish, remember and understand the ...
8
votes
1answer
376 views

What's the difference between 看起来 and 看上去?

I see them both used in the same way and both seem to get equal hits in Baidu. Here are some sample sentences containing each. http://www.dictall.com/st/60/37/60372038C00.htm ...
7
votes
5answers
940 views

“不客气” (bù kèqì) vs “谢谢你” (xièxiè nǐ)

At home in Australia my neighbouring shop owners are from Shanghai and taught me some Chinese. From them I learned two ways of responding to "谢谢" (xièxiè): "不客气" (bù kèqì) "谢谢你" (xièxiè nǐ) So I ...
7
votes
5answers
428 views

When native Chinese refer to China, what's the difference between 大陆, 中国 and 中国大陆?

Do they generally mean the same thing? Is one more formal than the other? Both 大陆, 中国 seem to have the same number of hits on Baidu.
7
votes
3answers
276 views

What is the difference between 夸张 and 过分

I often hear both used to describe a person or a person's action. The direct translations aren't the same, but from my experience, when used in context, I can't tell when to use one over the other. ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there differences in writing between Chinese languages, such as Mandarin and Shanghainese

There are already many questions about the different spoken languages that can be called Chinese. This question on the other hand asks about the written one(s?). Well, to start, is the written ...
7
votes
3answers
179 views

Quotation Marks (“”) and Angle Quotation Marks (《》)

Based on my recent observation, most people use "" to enclose a quote and use 《》 to enclose the name of a book (or a movie?). However, since I began my Chinese study, I have been learning to use 「」 as ...
7
votes
3answers
429 views

What's the main difference between 为 and 是?

It seems like both 为 and 是 mean "to be". In which cases is one used but not the other? Is it something like the difference between "estar" and "ser" in Spanish and Portuguese? (In the sense that one ...
7
votes
2answers
273 views

What is the difference between 依然 and 仍然?

What is the difference between 依然 and 仍然?
7
votes
3answers
360 views

Difference between 各 and 每?

I'm used to using 每 for every. However, 各 came up one day and appears to me to have the exactly same meaning. Is there a contextual difference between the two that I am missing or can they be swapped ...
7
votes
1answer
305 views

Macau Cantonese, any differences from HK?

Does anyone know how Cantonese from Macau differ from HK if there are any? Any slangs or terms used in Macanese Cantonese that is rarely used or heard in HK? Maybe some sinicised portuguese words? ...
7
votes
1answer
212 views

What is the difference between 傻瓜 and 笨蛋?

May sound like a silly question, but is there a difference between 傻瓜 and 笨蛋?
7
votes
2answers
288 views

What is the difference between 升, 陞 and 昇?

There are some characters in Chinese which give me severe headaches, especially those that have the same pronunciation and mean more or less the same thing. I have learnt three characters which are ...
7
votes
1answer
338 views

Is 上下 always interchangeable with 左右?

Example sentence 1: 他的汉语能力已经达到了HSK 11级左右的程度。 Example sentence 2: 他貌似30岁上下年纪。 While 左右 sounds more natural (to me) in 1 and 上下 in 2, we can interchange them and the two sentences would ...
7
votes
1answer
178 views

“惡” vs “噩” vs “厄”

I have seen these three characters forming the "same" words (I cannot think of a better way to phrase this), such as 惡夢 vs 噩夢 and 惡運 vs 噩運 vs 厄運 As I tried googling for the difference, I ...
6
votes
5answers
395 views

What does 出来 mean in this sentence: 真看不出来你是外国人?

What does 出来 mean in this sentence: 真看不出来你是外国人? Doesn't 出来 mean "come out of ..."?
6
votes
4answers
551 views

Differences between 饭,菜, 食 and 餐

I was always wondering, what is the difference between 饭,菜, 食 and 餐 . Basically all mean food. But I know those are sometimes used in a diffetent curcimstances. What is then the most common word for ...
6
votes
6answers
586 views

What is the difference between 餐馆 and 饭店? Is 饭店 used for restaurant or hotel?

饭店 and 餐馆 can both mean restaurant. My Chinese friend here in Dongguan tells me 饭店 is not commonly used to mean hotel. I want to understand in what contexts both of these words are used. 谢谢.
6
votes
3answers
519 views

When would one use 临时 versus 及时?

Recently I read the following dialogue: A: 今天有转校生要来吗? B: 听说是这样,好象是临时决定的,所以才没有及时通知我们。 As I was trying to make out what they were saying, I noticed that 临时 and 及时 have similar meanings. The ...
6
votes
3answers
491 views

When to use 看 and 见?

I know 看 and 见 both mean "to see". But they are used differently in different words. Like 看书 看电影...etc. and 见面 见识...etc. (Or do Chinese people say 见书 见电影 or 看面 看识?) Is there a rules to use them ...
6
votes
3answers
272 views

Difference: 小气 vs. 小器?

Especially in the sense of stingy, miserly. What's the difference between 小气 and 小器? I remember being told that one is more "correct", than the other, but I can't quite recall which. The search ...
6
votes
3answers
152 views

What is the difference between 目前 and 現在?

In my research, 目前 and 現在 seem all mean now or present. So native speakers or Chinese advanced learners, is there any difference between 目前 and 現在?
6
votes
5answers
222 views

Difference between 别人 and 人家

Looking on Commercial Press' 现代汉语词典 we have the following definitions: 别人 - 人称代词。指自己或某人以外的人:~都同意,就你一人反对 人家 - 人称代词。指自己或某人以外的人;别人:~都不怕,就你怕 So, they are pretty much the same. Are there any subtleties ...
6
votes
5answers
637 views

What is the difference between 看不起 and 看不上?

The two have very similar meanings and can both be used to mean "detest, despise, look down upon" but there seems to be a subtle difference. According to these entries: 看不起 ...
6
votes
6answers
586 views

Usage of 无 compared with 没有

I just stumbled across a new phrase 无消息。 This is the first time I've encountered 无. How it is used, and how it is different from 没有,as in 没有消息?
6
votes
1answer
153 views

What's the difference between 同样 and 一样

I'm so confused about this two phrases, I think they can be used interchangeably in most circumstances, but here's the examples: 他们两个长得一样。 Why can't we say 他们两个长得同样? 妈妈点了一杯咖啡,我也一样。 Why can't we ...
5
votes
2answers
855 views

What does 狗改不了吃屎 mean?

What does this mean? I think it is a proverb. Something do to with god? In my research, is it similar to 江山易改,本性难移?
5
votes
5answers
308 views

What is the difference between 投诉 and 抱怨?

is there a difference between 投诉 and 抱怨? All I know is that they both mean "complain".
5
votes
7answers
869 views

Accidentally Saying Chinese Swear Words

So I saw a video on youtube about a guys experience in china. He said that people can often accidentally say swear words if they say the tones wrong. Like the word "ma" It can heard as mother but ...
5
votes
3answers
261 views

How formal is 如何 in the context of 最近如何?

I was told by friend who is a native mainland speaker that "最近如何", or anything using "如何" to inquire about the state of a person, is a very ancient/formal way of speaking. This was quite a shock to ...
5
votes
3answers
167 views

Is there a difference between 復習 and 複習?

Both words have the same pronunciation, and cdict and some other dictionaries list them as variants of each other. I note that when I try to type it on Google Pinyin Chinese IME, 複習 comes up and 復習 ...
5
votes
5answers
277 views

Differences between the two words for each season, such as 冬季 (dōngjì) and 冬天 (dōngtiān)

There seem to be two words for each season. Each pair has the first character in common but for the second character one will have 季 (jì) and the other will have 冬天 (tiān). For example "winter" is: ...
5
votes
2answers
165 views

How to use 过 and 了? [duplicate]

How to use 过 and 了? What is the difference between them? Are my sentences correct? 今天我学习了汉语。Today I studied Chinese. 我学习过汉语。 I have studied Chinese. 我学习了三个月中文。 I studied Chinese for three months. ...
5
votes
2answers
388 views

What's the difference between 番茄 and 西红柿?

There are 30m more hits on 番茄 in 百度. Search results are pretty much the same for both. Is one version used more in different regions than others?
5
votes
3answers
274 views

What's the difference between 词典, 辞典, and 字典?

I don't think they are necessarily different kinds of dictionaries, but is there a subtle distinction? Or maybe their etymologies?
5
votes
1answer
424 views

“同儕” vs “同僚” vs “同事”

I know that 同事 means colleague, but I have seen 同儕 and 同僚 used in similar context. Below are random examples of each I found on google: 在同儕關係中彼此地位平等、較能相互學習。 由於他過度地自負,同僚們不喜歡他。 Are these ...
5
votes
2answers
155 views

What's the difference between 否则, 要不, 不然, and 要不然?

They all mean "otherwise", and beyond that 要不 is more colloquially used I'm not sure how they differ in usage or meaning.
5
votes
3answers
185 views

What is the difference between 撒谎 and 说谎?

As far as I know, 撒谎 and 说谎 have the same meaning of "telling a lie". Is there a difference between them?