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

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5
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1answer
555 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
4answers
531 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 ...
4
votes
7answers
449 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
292 views

What's the difference between …的 and 所…的

I believe that both of these constructions create what is called a "subordinate clause". I know that 的 can be used to specify something like: 我喜欢的东西 (those things which I like), 很远的地方 (the place ...
4
votes
3answers
239 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
219 views

How to say “On the phone” (手机里 vs. 手机上)

Prepositions are always a fun part to learn of a language. Right now, I'm running into the difficulty of trying to describe "On My Phone". I've heard people say "手机上“ but, after Baiduing I also know ...
4
votes
3answers
348 views

How does inserting 起来 into 请客 as in 请起客来 changes the meaning?

请客 is a verb-object-verbal phrase (联合词), therefore it is able to seperate both parts and put further structures in between. I read I could put 起 in between together with 来 at the end to form a so ...
4
votes
3answers
446 views

What is the function of the complement 下来 in 买下来?

I know 下来 so far as complement for verbs of motion, e.g. 跳下来,走下来,攀下来,掉下来. In them, the first character of the complement conveys the meaning "downwards", the second the point of view of the speaker ...
4
votes
2answers
512 views

When to use “们”

In Chinese, using "们" after a noun is, in some sense, equivalent to adding an "s" after an English word. Yet I find the rules in Chinese of using 们 to be very puzzling; I am a native speaker yet I ...
4
votes
3answers
254 views

Grammar for counting in Chinese (for non-native speakers of Chinese)

I need to write a program that can insert the count of objects into a text - without knowing virtually anything about the Chinese language. While for English this needs to distinguish between singular ...
4
votes
3answers
238 views

Why is (是) shi4 dropped in this sentence:“我很好”?

I''m a Chinese learner for quite a while, I've been wondering why (是) shi4 is dropped in sentences like this:"我很好" Isn't there supposed to be a verb in every sentences? like 我(是)很好.
4
votes
4answers
195 views

也 When expressing a series does 也 need to be before each object or just the last object

When expressing a series of object does 也 occur prior to each object or only prior to the last object to express the list Example: 我没有房子没有工作没有车也没有朋友。 我没有房子也没有工作也没有车也没有朋友。
4
votes
3answers
226 views

Difference between 什么,什么呢,什么吗 and 什么了?

What is the difference between 什么,什么呢,什么吗 and 什么了? For instance: 你要什么? 你要什么呢? 你在做什么吗? 你做什么了?
4
votes
2answers
194 views

How do you say 'dates back to' in Mandarin?

What is the best way of expressing 'dates back to' in Mandarin? e.g. the family's lineage dates back to 1720..etc
4
votes
1answer
424 views

What is the meaning of 當 and 自強 in 男兒當自強?

男兒當自強 is the title of the main theme in wong feihong, i was told its translation is "a man has to stand one's ground", i do not know how verbatim this translation is. 男兒 is man, 自強 is either "his ...
4
votes
2answers
301 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?
4
votes
3answers
151 views

So technically, the correct usage of 得 for run very fast is 跑得很快 - why are there so many Baidu hits for 跑的很快 and 跑地很快?

Is there 的, 地 and 得 confusion among native speakers as well or am I missing some subtleties of the language?
4
votes
5answers
189 views

What is Mandarin's conversational equivalent of English's “How interesting!” or “That's cool”

In the course of a conversation in (American) English, I often respond to casual observations and statements using a neutral phrase such as "Oh, interesting" "Oh, I see" or "That's cool." I've ...
4
votes
3answers
130 views

difference between 伤痕, 伤疤 and 疤痕?

Recently, I read that someone's 额头上有一个伤痕 。 I knew that the sentence literally meant that there was a scar. But then I thought "Why didn't they say "伤疤” or “疤痕”。 All three of these translate to scar ...
4
votes
3answers
492 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。 ...
4
votes
2answers
182 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“?
4
votes
2answers
128 views

How can I negate time and when to place 在 before time?

I know we can negate place, manner, etc. by just placing a 不 before the verbs (prepositions) that introduce the clauses. 我不在中国工作。 他不坐车去工作。 But how can I negate time, since it doesn't have a ...
4
votes
2answers
301 views

Do nested complements exist in Chinese?

I came across this sentence: 她看清进来为何人时,吓得说不出话来。, the second clause looks to me like a nested complement. i analyzed it this way: 吓得 (说不出话来) --> outer complement 说(不出话来) --> inner complement Am ...
4
votes
2answers
106 views

一眼之念 一念执着 meaning

I want to translate lyrics for 步步惊心 intro song. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vj8kElvozBY) 一眼之念 一念执着 - My Chinese friend told me that meaning is "I fall in love with you from first look" 一眼之念 - ...
4
votes
3answers
107 views

How to translate “range from X to Y”?

In English I would write something such as Low paying jobs range from working at McDonald's to driving a bus. Or another way to put it Low paying jobs include anything from working at ...
4
votes
4answers
213 views

How to use 仿佛 properly?

To give context, this is the sentence: 永远不能忘记的是北京,因为我在那里住的太久了,仿佛树生了根一样。 I am not sure how to render the last bit. I'm guessing it's saying: As if I am a tree, the roots are the same as my ...
4
votes
3answers
155 views

Complement of result:完 or 好

I‘m currently learning how to form the complement of result and what are the translations of some common compound verbs. My book makes this examples: • 看完=to finish watching • 写好=to finish writing • ...
4
votes
2answers
541 views

How to say “Next time” in the past tense?

I'm a bit confused on how to use the expression "The next time" in chinese. I originally wrote (after going to Kigali for the first he realized there were no ethiopian restaurants) 于是, 他下次回基加利时, ...
4
votes
1answer
156 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?" ...
4
votes
2answers
91 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
95 views

Is there a difference between 教训 and 论点 ?

I'm taking a history class in Chinese and my teacher brought up 四五运动的两个教训 。 Then later on he talked about 启蒙的两个论点 。 I know that roughly 教训 is translated as "lessons" and 论点 is a bit more like "thesis, ...
4
votes
2answers
123 views

When to use 了 and 的?

了 is used after verb or sentence to indicate that something has been finished/done or something has changed. 的 is used in many cases, one of which is to indicate the speaker's modality of certainty. ...
4
votes
6answers
321 views

How to parse 没得 + Verb constructions

I've heard phrases of the form 没得V, where V is a verb. Sometimes, the 没得 appears to function like 没, e.g., 我没得选: I don't have a choice. Sometimes, it appears to function like a softer, ...
4
votes
1answer
129 views

Explanation usage of 得 and 地 [duplicate]

Can someone explain me exactly when I have to use these two words? They are both pronunced "de", but I found some difficulties understanding why should I use 得 (or shouldn‘t) in some senteceses. 地 , ...
3
votes
10answers
640 views

What is the difference between “我还没打算” and “我还没决定”

In a question-response practice, the question is "你暑假要去旅游吗"? Why is the right response "我还没决定", not "我还没打算"?
3
votes
4answers
471 views

How do I say “I held my head in my hands”

Recently, I was writing about my time at a funeral. I am trying to express the situation that I was overwhelmed by emotion so I put my head in my hands. (I.e. I rested my head on my hands). Is there a ...
3
votes
3answers
602 views

Is there a difference in meaning between 那年夏天 and 那个夏天

I asked a native speaker whether these phrases were equivalent in meaning and she said no (although agreeing that they both ultimately do "point" to the same concept). I asked if 年 here is basically a ...
3
votes
4answers
124 views

Is 起 too formal to use in day to day writing?

I recently read in a piece of poetry ”从明天起, 我会做一个幸福的人“ - what is the difference between this and say "从明天开始?“. Is 起 significantly more formal? Could I use it in day to day writing? (Say a diary?)
3
votes
3answers
337 views

Is this sentence ambiguous out of context?

My newsletter says this sentence 我五分钟后就回来。 is translated as "I'll be back in 5 minutes". I am curious to know whether this sentence could be translated as "I came back 5 minutes ago", or does ...
3
votes
3answers
135 views

How do you say “A story is set in another place”

Does anyone have an idea of how to translate "This story is set in a small town". I've been looking around but I haven't found a good way to translate "Set in". Thanks again for any help! Cheers, ...
3
votes
4answers
220 views

Weird usage of 不

In this sentence the 不 in the last few phrases seems to mean the opposite. For example 放不下 seems to mean the same as 放下 in this context. Is the Bu just decorative or is there a special structure here? ...
3
votes
7answers
206 views

Can you 伤害 a person emotionally?

Can I say “伤害人” in terms of hurting someone emotionally? Or is there another, better, way of saying this? For example, I'd like to say "最后还为了伤害他把这个秘密告诉给其他的家人" Is that a proper usage?
3
votes
6answers
625 views

What's the difference between 打开 and 开门?

How can I tell when to use 打开 and when to use 开门 in Chinese? For example, in the following sentences: 这扇门打开了 这个书店开门了 Why does the first sentence use 打开 and the latter use 开门? Also, is it ...
3
votes
2answers
239 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
616 views

What does 看得开 and 看不开 mean?

This sentence is very hard for me to translate. 许多事情,看得开是好;看不开,终归也要熬过去。别以为看不开就不会过去 My try: "Have a lot of problems, Kan De Kai is good; Kan Bu Kai, in the end will still be angry (??). Don't ...
3
votes
4answers
200 views

How to ask “is it really so that…”?

How do I ask a question like "is it really so that you're just 18?" or "is it really so that the movie was good?", i.e. a surprised question? My guess is something along the lines of "这是真的,你只有十八岁呢?", ...
3
votes
6answers
271 views

Usage of 了 and 以后

For the sentence 'I watched a movie after I had food', are the following translations equivalent? Additionally, is the 3rd translation incorrect (is the ...了...以后... usage valid)? 我吃了饭看电影。 我吃饭以后看电影。 ...
3
votes
2answers
131 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 store to say hi to the owner". (Imagine in this context I haven't seen him for a certain amount of time, ...
3
votes
3answers
534 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?
3
votes
3answers
158 views

How do I use a pattern like in 一年有春夏秋冬四季?

I understand the meaning of the sentence, but I have difficulties grasping the pattern and how I could extend it to other phrases. Could you please come up with other example sentences with similar ...