Questions about the rules that govern and structure the language, and the composition of clauses, sentences and expressions.

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2
votes
2answers
274 views

How informal can 为 someone 服务 be?

Recently, I've heard the phrase " 为你们服务 “ used in a number of contexts. It seems like a relatively formal phrase, but I'm wondering how widely it could be used. Could I say, for example, ...
3
votes
2answers
46 views

How to say “Say hi to someone” as a description?

So, I've been trying to figure out what is the best way to describe the sentence "I went to the story to say hi to the owner". (Imagine in this context I haven't seen him for a certain amount of time, ...
7
votes
4answers
241 views

What are the rules in Chinese for adjective order when multiple adjectives describe a noun

See http://english.stackexchange.com/questions/1155/what-is-the-rule-for-adjective-order for the equivalent question in English. I didn't find any discussion online of the order for multiple Chinese ...
1
vote
3answers
121 views

combining noun and measure word

I have read article which show this sentence 一本书, then if want to make it plural, it becomes 书本, so my question is it for all noun and measure word ? Example : 一首歌 becomes 歌首
2
votes
3answers
63 views

How to ask whether you left A in B

I'm trying to figure out how to say "to leave" as in to leave something behind somewhere. Would you say one, two, or three? How to say “left my bag in the car” 1. 丢了我钱包在出租车里 2. 留了我得钱包在出租车里 3. ...
2
votes
2answers
288 views

the meaning of 算什么 in 《我爱台妹》

I have recently been listening to MC Hotdog's seminal 2006 hit 《我爱台妹》 I am a little confused by the second and fourth lines of the chorus 我爱台妹,台妹爱我 对我来说,林志玲算什么 我爱台妹,台妹爱我 对我来说,侯佩岑算什么 I understand ...
3
votes
2answers
184 views

Are there relative pronouns in Chinese

Are there words for relative pronouns, for example: The man, who was walking to the shop, was tall. Is there a Chinese word for the bolded "who"?
3
votes
1answer
97 views

How to say “this?” interjection in chinese?

For example of a case: (I was in home walking holding a jar of chocolate candy, I was gonna go to upstairs) Mom: (She saw me and she called me from behind) "Where did you buy that?" Me: (I was a bit ...
3
votes
2answers
117 views

How to say “Catch a plane”

I'm interested to see if there is a translation for "catch a plane". I know that 赶不上飞机 is an expression - but could you say "今天我有很多事。 最要紧的是赶上飞机“
5
votes
1answer
505 views

How to say “A Person's Strength”

Is there a good translation for "strengths" in Chinese? I am trying to say strengths as in 'We should try to improve our strengths, not our weaknesses'. I know that 强项 is one phrase that has a ...
4
votes
3answers
477 views

Can you 关心 an object?

So, I've used 关心 consistently with people - 关心别人, 关心我的妹妹, but can 关心 be used for object or a phrase?? Example for a phrase 我们关心的应该是房子应该有几间屋子? Example for an object 吃饭时, 我关心的是调味。 长得怎么样, 我都不管。 ...
2
votes
2answers
150 views

Difference between 月 and 月份 for the noun “A month”

So, I'm trying to figure out what is a better way to simply translate "An important month". For example if I wanted to talk about the month of Ramadan I originally said "斋月是穆斯林非常重要的一个月“ but a ...
2
votes
2answers
95 views

Difference between 尊敬 and 尊重

So, I know that chinese has (at least) two common words for "Respect" - 尊敬 and 尊重 . Is there a clear way to divide the two ? What if I wanted to say "Respect a teacher" or "Respect the law"
2
votes
4answers
113 views

Should you ever repeat the subject "我“ in a sentence?

So, I struggle with a common construction in Chinese where I don't know whether I should use the subject twice or not. For example, in the sentence "After I finished talking with her I went to ...
2
votes
4answers
113 views

追忆 vs。怀旧 how to say “To reminisce”?

For a while, I've been trying to express a good translation for the english "to reminisce". Reminisce means, in general, to spend time with friends/family thinking about happy things that had happened ...
2
votes
4answers
52 views

I did (Something) as much as I would in (X amount of time)

In english there is a common expression that is "I did (something) as much as I would in (A period of time)". Generally in this pattern the period of time is a large period of time - and the ...
2
votes
1answer
54 views

Would you say 当动词 or 是动词?

I am back to the classic 当 vs。 是。 I've heard some people say “这个词也可以是动词” however could I also say "这个词 也可以当动词“ - if so, which sounds more common/colloquial?
2
votes
3answers
79 views

How to say “to found”?

I've been struggling for a while with how exactly in Chinese to say "to found". Recently, I learned that 创办 could have that meaning? (I.e. 北大是1898年创办的) - but, I also know that words like 创始 also ...
4
votes
1answer
112 views

怎么… with 的 and 了

So it is said that if you find 的 after 怎么, the sentence represents 'How', and if you find 了 after 怎么, the sentence represents 'Why'. How : 你怎么来的? "How did you come?" Why : 你怎么来了? "Why did you come?" ...
8
votes
3answers
651 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?
4
votes
2answers
170 views

How do you describe a vegetarian item? As in a vegetarian burrito?

So, in english when describing whether something is friendly for vegetarians or not we say "vegetarian object_____". Is there an equivalent in Chinese? For example could you say "素的墨西哥卷“?
1
vote
4answers
170 views

How do you use translate “You can't miss this opportunity"?

So, I'm trying to figure out how to encourage someone to take a risk/try something new in Chinese. In english we often use the phrase "miss an opportunity" as in "You can't miss this opportunity!". ...
3
votes
3answers
79 views

When do I need 的?

Why do I need 的 for 爸爸 but not for 爸 ? me: So if I said "your father is....", it would be 你的爸是.... me: Right? friend: No 的 if you use 爸 friend: we say 你爸是。。。 friend: Or 你的爸爸是。。。。
2
votes
3answers
83 views

Difference between 检索 and 找

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, ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

How Formal is 为期 (wei2qi1)- to last?

In a recent podcast I've been listening to - imandarinpod - the term 为期 was mentioned. It was loosely explained to mean "to last" as in for a period of time. I know that we can say something like ...
2
votes
1answer
61 views

Can 余 (more than) go after the measure word?

I've just learned a new formal word 余 and I'm trying to understand it's placement. I know that roughly it means 多 but in a more formal way. If for example, I was saying "more than 500 people" I think ...
5
votes
2answers
312 views

How to say “unsurprisingly” as in “Someone unsurprisingly did something”

I'm trying to figure out how to say unsurprisingly; I know that 果然 generally implies that you expect that something is going to happen, but in some contexts I'm not entirely sure if it is most ...
1
vote
4answers
157 views

Can you use 丰富 to describe a day?

So, I'm trying to figure out how to use 丰富 most correctly. I know that youcan say 今天的晚餐很丰富。 But how else could it be used? Could I say “今天过得好丰富?“ in say a written diary? Thanks for the help guys!
4
votes
4answers
420 views

How to use “whether” in Chinese - do you need to say 如果?

I've always had a bit of difficulty with statements with the term "whether" in Chinese. In this sentence I would like to say "I asked him whether or not he had met Mark." - I translated this in my ...
2
votes
1answer
65 views

How do you say “to do” When asking a kid what he wants to do when he grows up?

The classic question (at least when speaking english) is to ask a child what he wants "to do" when he grows up. Now this "to do" is very vague - and, in a lot of instances, doesn't actually mean "do" ...
2
votes
3answers
83 views

How do I say “right at that time”?

I'm trying to explain a situation I was in recently in written Chinese. How would I say "Luckily, right at that time Mark heard my voice" Would it simply be 幸亏, 她正好那时候听到我的声音,马上叫了起来“ Thanks for ...
3
votes
2answers
101 views

How do you say “Take the next right” when giving directions

I'm interested to see if anyone can help me out. I was talking to a chinese friend and I was trying to give them directions - however, I was struggling saying the simple phrase in english of "Once you ...
5
votes
3answers
672 views

How to say “being” as in “Being jewish”

I've always had some difficulty trying to translate the english "being" as in "being Christian" or "being American". I'd like to say "in the U.S. being Jewish isn't difficult." Should I say ...
3
votes
2answers
182 views

Difference between 看作 and 看成

Recently, I've been listening to a chinese podcast and in the podcast I heard someone say "中国人常常把谦虚看作一种美德“。 I have also heard the term “叫作” within the podcast - I'm wondering, is there a clear ...
4
votes
2answers
271 views

How do I say “Have you spoken to A about B yet?”

Quick question, how would I say "Have you spoken with your parents about me staying at your house yet?" Could it simply be 我问一下,关于我在你们家住几天, 你跟你的家庭说了没 ? or does 关于 sound too formal?
1
vote
3answers
102 views

How do I say “The things I do”

I've been working a bit on writing lately, and I'm trying to figure out how best to translate the classic english statement "The things I do". For example, I would like to say "Sometimes the things I ...
2
votes
3answers
51 views

How do I say “It didn't help that..”

In english, we often use the transition "it didn't help that" to indicate that something bad had happened, and that there was another factor that potentially made it even worse. Ex. He was already ...
5
votes
6answers
2k views

How do you say the noun version of 'programmer'?

I know that a couple of variation of "coding" or programming are 编程, or 写代码. How would I refer to that person who does the coding/programming? Is it 编程家? or is there a more colloquial way of saying ...
4
votes
2answers
78 views

Can You use "非常非常‘ to emphasize how much you think something?

I'm trying to figure out if a common english usage I really really Verb something is used in Chinese. Could I say 我非常非常喜欢这首歌? Could I use this in spoken Chinese? Could it be written this way if it is ...
3
votes
2answers
70 views

Usage of 去 and 來 : is “context switching” allowed?

I am often confused with the use of 來 and 去. I made a picture synthesizing my current understanding of 來 and 去: 去 is used in the context when someone is going far away from A. 來 is used in the ...
1
vote
1answer
210 views

How to say “in my opinion” in chinese?

For example, "In my opinion, this music is very good". The translation indicated by Google, 在我看来, seems rather dodgy to me.
1
vote
1answer
65 views

How to say a “strong flavor”

I know that currently people in Chinese would say "很重的味道“。 But I'm wondering if there are any other ways of saying it. Could I say "很大的味道 “ or ”很浓的味道“ if I'm referring to something like a hot sauce? ...
11
votes
2answers
939 views

Does an Alarm clock 吵醒 or 叫醒?

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 ...
0
votes
1answer
207 views

Sample Mandarin Grammar (Sentences)

First, thank you to everyone for taking the time to read this question. I am curious whether knowledgeable native speakers could assist me with the following grammar questions: I am aware of the ...
6
votes
6answers
872 views

Is it correct to say “在手机”?

Would it be correct to use the phrase "在手机”/“在手机上”, etc to express that I am doing something on my phone? For example, could I say “我听音乐在我的手机上。”? Or can 在 only be used for my actual physical location? ...
9
votes
6answers
507 views

被 (bèi) vs. 叫 (jiào) vs. 让 (ràng): regional difference? formality difference?

I know that with a 被 (bèi) sentence, you are allowed omit the object: S + 被 + (O) + Other elements, e.g. 河里的鱼都被毒死了 (Hé lǐ de yú dōu bèi dú sǐ le) whereas, when using 叫 (jiào) or 让 (ràng,) the object ...
3
votes
3answers
327 views

Differences between 咱们 and 我们?

我们,咱们 both means: we, but when I should use 咱们, 我们? What is the difference?
1
vote
2answers
104 views

我一個晚上開銷就不只三萬了. What's 了 doing?

我一個晚上開銷就不只三萬了. What's 了 doing?
2
votes
5answers
123 views

Which sentence is correct?

Wondering where to put a time frequency word in a Chinese sentence? Which one of the following sentences is correct? 我每个星期去四次大学 or 我每个星期去大学四次? Thanks!
1
vote
1answer
83 views

How and when to consider 面子 when speaking Chinese?

Avoid Losing Face ( 沒面子 ) As a student of Chinese I would like always maintain a respectful tone. It can be very easy when speaking a second language to make mistakes that offend others. I would like ...