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

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67 views

Sound Loans in Chinese

On one comment to a recent question, LulalaBoss made reference to this article on Chinese character classification. When a character is transformed or redefined, is there a comprehensive method to ...
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3answers
352 views

Chinese countable/uncountable nouns (How do they work? Examples?)

I recall in Mandarin class, my teacher would often discuss an idea about countable nouns. I never really understood how one would easily determine when one is faced with a countable vs uncountable ...
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4answers
87 views

Ways to determine whether a noun phrase is plural

So in a recent answer someone told me: 预言 here most likely is not plural - hence the whole 的大 Which brings to mind a question about other ways of determining plurality. Certainly I've heard of ...
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1answer
66 views

Rules on when to read characters in sequence

Maybe the hardest part so far about learning to read Chinese is determining when to read the characters in sequence and when to view them separately. So, in my recent question on 的大预言 for example: ...
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5answers
277 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 ...
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2answers
98 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. ...
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1answer
63 views

How do you say “I quickly forgot…” (As in an emotion you were feeling)

I'm trying to figure out how I could express that I had a feeling/emotion. and then, after a certain event happend/began I "Quickly forgot" that I had that emotion. In english we could say "At the ...
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2answers
72 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, ...
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2answers
302 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, ...
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3answers
127 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
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3answers
67 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. ...
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3answers
237 views

What is the function of 的多 in this sentence?

中国人爱喝茶的多。 I assume the meaning is that "Chinese people love drinking tea a lot", or "...really love drinking tea." Does 的多 act as an adverbial structure here? In what other situations would it be ...
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2answers
293 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 ...
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2answers
189 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"?
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1answer
98 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 ...
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3answers
103 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 ...
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6answers
462 views

Difference between 如果 and 要是?

In the Pimsleur Mandarin course it uses 如果 (rúguǒ) to mean 'if', but the dictionary shows 要是 (yàoshì) to have a similar meaning: 如果: if; in case; in the event that 要是: if Are there any ...
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2answers
120 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“
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1answer
507 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 ...
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4answers
120 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 ...
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3answers
478 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。 ...
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2answers
152 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 ...
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4answers
114 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 ...
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2answers
98 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"
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3answers
81 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 ...
2
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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 ...
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1answer
135 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?" ...
2
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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?
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3answers
652 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?
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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“?
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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!". ...
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2answers
314 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 ...
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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。。。。
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3answers
84 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, ...
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4answers
160 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!
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1answer
53 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
62 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 ...
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2answers
102 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 ...
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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 ...
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4answers
422 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 ...
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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" ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
273 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?
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3answers
53 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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
213 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.
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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 ...
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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 ...
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1answer
67 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? ...