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

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3
votes
3answers
358 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
150 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
8answers
260 views

When to use “一下儿”

I know the phrase "一下儿" can be appended to a verb to indicate the action takes short time or less effort, for example "看一下儿". However, some verbs cannot be appended by "一下儿", since the sentence won't ...
3
votes
4answers
232 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
211 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
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6answers
637 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
249 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
798 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
209 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
294 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
4answers
97 views

Can “未” modify descriptive adjectives?

Can “未” modify descriptive adjectives (in either classical or modern Chinese)? I've previously asked about the correctness of the phrase "未長未短", but I think 長 and 短 are used as verbs (instead of ...
3
votes
2answers
139 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
774 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
4answers
165 views

Possessives in Chinese

I used Google Translate for these sentences but I'm not sure they are correct: Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白狗 My mom's white dog 我妈妈的白狗 And it is possible if I say Mom 's white dog 妈妈的白色的狗 My mom's ...
3
votes
3answers
162 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
233 views

Generally speaking, is it not possible to indicate 'was' or 'were' on '是‘?

I was listening to this 听力练习 on this beautiful day, staring at the little mountain outside my window. 莉莉:英子,你不是在一家公司工作吗? I, swift as an eagle, think ‘Yingzi, aren't you working for a company?’ ...
3
votes
4answers
181 views

how to use 受欢迎 in the past tense?

I'm a bit confused on how to use A受的欢迎 in the past tense. Would you say "可是这家餐厅已经受了所有外国人的欢迎。 or 这家餐厅已经收到了所有外国人的欢迎? Thanks for any help in advance!
3
votes
3answers
181 views

How can I express the concept “There's nothing of which I'm absolutely sure” in Chinese?

Scientists and philosophers have at various times been quoted as saying: "There's nothing of which I'm absolutely sure" or "I'm not absolutely sure of anything". (Richard Feynman, for example.) How ...
3
votes
2answers
215 views

What are the most difficult things to learn for a westerner? [closed]

What aspects of the Chinese language are the most difficult to learn for a westerner? In particular I'm interested in thoughts on: What do you find are the main difficulties? Are there any aspects ...
3
votes
4answers
496 views

When to use 我是 vs 我在

In my Chinese class notes these two sentences appear: 我是南非人 and 我在看节目 Why does the one use 我是 and the other 我在? Is there a rule/guidelines to help me decide which one to use? Thanks, Jaco
3
votes
2answers
159 views

The tricky prepositions. . . “in my garden”

I think prepositions are tricky in every language. The other day I was trying to figure out how to write correctly : In my garden there are many fruit-trees. The first sentence I thought of was: ...
3
votes
3answers
166 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
235 views

Is it possible to use 过 with specific time words?

This is somewhat similar to this question: When to use 了 and when to use 过 to express past actions or events. I understand that the 过 particle helps express the idea of having had the experience of ...
3
votes
1answer
213 views

What is the grammar of “用餐曅請隨手整理桌面 座位有限請勿休憩估用”?

In a cafeteria, there is a sign which presumably means something like, "There are a limited number of seats, so please don't sit down with just one person to a table; plan your seating arrangements so ...
3
votes
1answer
173 views

Example of using 吧 in conversation

My textbook explains that 吧 is a modal particle, but I'm not a linguist and the "modal particle" article on Wikipedia didn't help. Can you give examples of using 吧 in conversation?
3
votes
3answers
76 views

How to spot (if possible) if a final 了 is part of an omitted 要 in a 要…了 construction or simply a past information?

There are some examples of sentence 了 that indicate future action which (seems to) have a 要 omitted: 我(要)走了,拜! - I am going to leave, bye! I know context usually helps with the issue of time and, ...
3
votes
2answers
297 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
2answers
174 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“
3
votes
2answers
190 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
110 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。。。。
3
votes
4answers
282 views

How to say “red book”?

I'd like to know how to say "red book" in Mandarin. Can it be 红色 的 书 or 红书? I read a book to learn about color, it used 红色 的 before a noun but I heard in a song it used only 红 before noun. I feel ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

How do I translate “context”?

是不是可以说: 在这上下文,这个生词不可以这样用。 还有, You've taken it entirely out of context. 或者比如有学生问老师个问题,可是问提不太清楚,老师会回答说: Can you give provide some context?
3
votes
2answers
231 views

How do you say “To take a gap year”?

Is there a clear translation for the phrase "Take a gap year" (i.e. take a year off between your last year of high school and college (often for travel, work, etc.))? Thanks for the help!
3
votes
3answers
178 views

How is 得 used in this sentence?

I have always known 得 as an adverb. For example 跑得很快 ,run quickly or run very fast. The following sentence 只有懂得节制欲望的人,才能享受到人生的真正乐趣 means "Only a person that understands (how to) control his ...
3
votes
2answers
404 views

What does 了mean in this sentence?

Could someone please explain this sentence structure? 衣服也落在了房间内. What does the 了 mean here? Is it pronounce le or liao? 谢谢
3
votes
1answer
190 views

Usage of 感动 (active/passive?)

According to mdbg.net 感动 means both 'to move (emotionally)' and 'moving'. But from what I understand from some texts I have '邻居们都很感动' implying a more passive meaning for 感动. Can someone shed some ...
3
votes
2answers
160 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?
3
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
145 views

Why is “连忙” wrong in the following sentence?

My question is as the title. The sentence is: 如果她来了,请你连忙告诉我。 The correct sentence is "如果她来了,请你马上告诉我". Why?
3
votes
2answers
106 views

What is the translation of 托业考试必备 ?

I ve looked up the words: 托 = to entrust (only one possible meaning, i do not know which one makes sense) 业 = enterprise 考试 = test 必备 = essential I can make no sense of this sentence, i even can ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Can 良好 be used as a closing remark?

良好 is translated as be good, or be well in one of my dictionaries. This is a common closing remark in spoken English. Can 良好 be used in the same context in Chinese. i.e. OK, Bye now... Take care, be ...
3
votes
1answer
119 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
1answer
80 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
1answer
108 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
170 views

How to translate the following grammar-pattern: 让/叫 N+V —— N还/ 就真 V (呀)

I know that this is a pattern that expresses a reverse meaning of what is really expressed (some kind of rhetorical question) - and that the speaker is somehow showing a negative attitude. I suppose ...
3
votes
1answer
155 views

Meaning of 差 in sentence

I have difficulties understanding sentence. What is meaning of 差 in the following sentence? 我看一下,现在差一刻九点。 Thanks
3
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2answers
391 views

What effective methods exist for visual learners to get Chinese grammar?

I want to learn Chinese grammar (e.g. sentence structure), however, I am a highly visual person and feel a visual learning process would help me the most. I have already taken a beginner Chinese ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

What is the difference, if any, between 即使 and 無論?

Is a big difference between 即使 and 無論? I was working on a couple of fill-in-the-blanks exercises and the following sentence came up: 你的畫很有特色,(blank)是畫家也不一定能畫德比你好。 I think the right answer ...
3
votes
1answer
143 views

Usage of direction and location (destination) complements (衣服都装进箱子里去了 vs. 衣服都装到箱子里了)

In some situations, it is not clear to me when to use a direction complement or a location (destination) complement. For instance, I read from a book that the sentence "衣服都装进箱子里去了" is correct. This ...
3
votes
2answers
143 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 ...