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

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2
votes
1answer
62 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?
8
votes
3answers
657 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
171 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
183 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!". ...
5
votes
2answers
316 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
81 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
87 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
4answers
162 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!
1
vote
1answer
54 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
64 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
86 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
445 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
66 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" ...
3
votes
2answers
187 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
681 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
282 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?
2
votes
3answers
59 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
222 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.
3
votes
2answers
72 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
79 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
71 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
958 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
638 views

Why does the construction of 要是…的话 mean “if”?

I know other words like 如果 also mean "if", but why would 要是...的话 mean "if"? An example sentence: 要是你喜欢汉语(的话),你该听中国的音乐。 If you like Chinese, you should listen to Chinese music.
6
votes
3answers
164 views

Position of 面熟 in this sentence

In my textbook I found this sentence: 常常看着一个人面熟却叫不出名字来。 If 面熟 is an adjective, why is it used after 人 (to indicate a "familiar-looking person")? Can 一个人面熟 be rewritten to 一个面熟人 without ...
3
votes
2answers
144 views

Why can't 了 be used to complement 到?

I have been taught that the sentence 我刚到了 (wǒ gāng dào le) is not correct because 了 cannot be used as a complement of 到. Is this right? If so, why?
9
votes
2answers
155 views

Using 一样 instead of 同一 for “the same school”

In my study software, I recently had the following sentence: 我想我们会上一样的学校. The context (a girl speaking to another girl who had just moved into the neighborhood) made it seem like the correct ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What software can detect the parts of speech of written text?

What software or online tools can detect the parts of speech in a piece of written text (e.g. to predict if a word is a verb, adjective, etc.)?
10
votes
2answers
240 views

Why is it possible to replace 都 with 也 in 什么都没有?

I know 也 only as "also", but I see it now and then used in ways difficult to understand, especially in some negative statements. Why is this so? Does 也 also have some meaning not mentioned in ...
5
votes
1answer
223 views

What does the classical construction X 何由 Y mean?

I almost never see this construction in classical prose. (In fact, I'll venture I've never seen it.) However, it's in two of my favorite poems. In this one, it's from the poem "晨詣超師院讀禪經" by 柳宗元: ...
3
votes
1answer
947 views

What software can check for grammar mistakes?

I need some software that can check the grammar of some Chinese passages. Are there any programs capable of identifying grammar problems? I'd prefer something for Linux, but other platforms would be ...
15
votes
2answers
587 views

How do I decide whether to use 還是/还是 or 或者

還是/还是 (háishì) and 或者 (huòzhě) seem to have very similar meanings: 還是/还是: or; still; nevertheless 或者: or; possibly; maybe When I want to say 'or', how to I choose which to use, and are ...
6
votes
4answers
171 views

How to indicate plurality/singularity

I'm aware that basic Chinese grammar tends to lack distinction between the plural and singular forms of many nouns. For example, 我的朋友是中国人 could either mean "my friend is Chinese" (singular) or "my ...
5
votes
3answers
264 views

Sentence structure “I'm [doing something] because [reason]”?

I am familiar with the sentence structure "因为。。。所以。。。," but what is the correct way to say "I am [doing something] because [reason]"? For example, "I am asking this question because I am clueless." ...
5
votes
3answers
185 views

What is 和 used for in this sentence?

I know how to use 和 to link one or more nouns or noun phrases, but in this sentence I don't understand what purpose does it serve at the beginning of the sentence? 和西方人过圣诞节差不多,这是一个全家团聚的节日。 (This ...
14
votes
2answers
472 views

Tense and use of 了

I struggle a bit to get my head around tenses in Mandarin, and in particular when I need to use 了 (le). Do you have any tips, examples or resources to help me out with this?
0
votes
1answer
249 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
875 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? ...
2
votes
4answers
236 views

How to correctly order the words in this sentence?

This is a question from an exercise book that I'm currently working through, to rearrange the given words into the correct order. I believe the format is along the lines of "The person who was [doing ...
9
votes
6answers
517 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
105 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?
3
votes
3answers
372 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?
2
votes
5answers
124 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
96 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
96 views

How do Chinese judge the right sound quality (softness, awkwardness, respectfulness (面子), negativity)

Please note that I have re-written this question for clarity. Subjective Comprehension In a number of questions asked here on CLSE, I have noticed answers that include responses about how ...
3
votes
3answers
126 views

Are These Equivalent Grammatical Syntax?

Chinese Grammar I am studying many sources for Chinese grammar. I understand that literally these two sentences mean slightly different things. Are there any implications or reasoning for using one ...
14
votes
4answers
410 views

How do I decide whether to use 可以, 会 or 能?

According to every dictionary I've seen so far, there is a big overlap in these: 可以 = can, may, be able to 会  = can, be able to, able 能  = can, may, able, capable How do I properly choose which ...
4
votes
7answers
350 views

When you use 在 with a time, where does 在 go in the sentence?

So, if I wanted to say, "Last week I saw my friend in Japan," where would the location (Japan) go in this sentence? I thought it would go like this: 在日本,我上个星期看朋友。 Is that correct or does the ...
2
votes
4answers
328 views

Is verb+点儿 an adverb?

My friend asked me about the following sentence that appears in NPCR 1, Lesson 12: 你要多穿点儿衣服. I understand that it means "You should wear some more clothes." However, she is confused about the word ...