A phrase is a group of words that form a single unit in the syntax of a sentence.

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What is the verbatim translation for “都什么时候了” ?

"什么时候" means verbatim "what time" But, when i add 都 (adverb meaning "all") and 了(particle indicating either change of state or completion), i can not grasp what meaning is conveyed by this phrase. ...
0
votes
1answer
24 views

What is the order of different prepositional phrases?

Chinese Syntax is: S V O there are different prepositional phrases, for instance: p.p. that express a place, time, objective, mean ... How do i know the proper order of the different prepositional ...
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1answer
37 views

What is the difference between 听 and 听力|?

Hellom I'm learning Chinese and I would like to know when I have to use only 听 and when 听力? Thanks for the answer. :)
2
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1answer
52 views

“振聾發聵” in English?

This question is about possible translations of "振聾發聵" in English. Figuratively, this phrase is used to describe someone's article is penetrating and insightful. I know this. Nevertheless, I am ...
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2answers
71 views

“做學問” in English?

This question is about the translation of "做學問" in English. If I am asked to translate "做學問", then I would say "doing research". But somehow I feel that such translation of mine is insufficient to ...
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2answers
105 views

Is the phrase “on a scale of 1 to 10” used often if at all?

Just wondering since it does seem to me like a more western phrase, in Google translate it comes out as 上规模的1到10, I'm just wondering if there is a more common way to ask someone to rate a particular ...
3
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5answers
375 views

Explanation for the meaning of 八竿子打不着?

The modern colloquial phrase "八竿子打不着" is used as an adjective to describe "very distant, unrelated". Example: 这是八竿子打不着的事情,怎么能联系上呢? It literally means "couldn't hit with even eight poles". I can ...
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3answers
91 views

How to express this idea in a better way?

I'd like to say something like "...but my heart belongs to Hong Kong" as a possible response to "where do you live?" So the full context might be "I live in X but my heart belongs to Hong Kong". ...
2
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1answer
268 views

What does 狗吃连帮 mean?

I heard people say this phrase once or twice, in derogatory tone. It sounds like 狗吃连帮 or 狗吃粮帮. Internet search gives no result, but it didn't sound like some local dialect to me. I heard people say ...
3
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2answers
118 views

Phrases with most popular characters?

I found a table of characters (about 3000) in which most popular characters go first. Here are first 20: 我的 高的 是的 目的 的确 不 不是 人 在 有 他 这 中 大 来 上 国 自个 到 说 道 子 为 和 and I would like ...
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6answers
691 views

犬子: who's the dog?

犬子 (literally, dog + son) is an archaic, self-depreciatory term to refer to your son (occasionally it's used to insult other people's sons). This answer raises a question though; who is the dog ...
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3answers
115 views

Chinese: Old Wives Tales

A long time ago I heard someone say: "玩火会尿床" Which I instantly recognized is very similar to some 'old wives tales' in English. In English there are things like: from Wikipedia: Cracking ...
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2answers
205 views

Chinese Metaphor 八字沒見一撇

Simple Words I recently came across this phrase: 八字沒見一撇 I understand each character but the meaning was still lost on me. So I asked someone about this and they informed me that it is somewhat ...
3
votes
1answer
218 views

大风绝尘而去 in idiomatic English

"大风绝尘而去" In a weather report document, such as http://news.163.com/14/0528/18/9TBR0KOI00014Q4P.html, does this phrase mean that the gale is going to 'stay away and leave' ? or 'A large storm will ...
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3answers
180 views

Explanation of why 棋 is included in 琴棋书画?

I feel like this is a case of One of these things is not like the other. The Four Arts of the Chinese Scholar are 琴、棋、书、画 ... Therefore, 琴 : Musical instrument = great 书 : Calligraphy = ...
4
votes
1answer
82 views

荷兰猪、天竺鼠、豚鼠 ——What's the deal?

So these terms for Guinea Pig all seem to be fairly common and in use, at least as far as I know, but the question(s) are: where do the different terms come from? is there any actual difference ...
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3answers
143 views

What's the English expression that means 感叹词:“坏了”

In Chinese there is a 感叹词:"坏了", means something went unexpected wrong. Example: 坏了,下雨了 坏了,手机忘带了 坏了,迟到了 What are the common English expressions that can express that "astonishing strike"? ...
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3answers
366 views

How to translate “很不起眼儿” in English

What's the best (传神) translation of "很不起眼儿" in English? 例句: 不认识他的人觉得他很不起眼儿,认识他的人觉得他很优秀。 辨析: A more formal term that related to "很不起眼儿" is "其貌不扬", but "其貌不扬" will normally be "很不起眼儿", yet ...
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3answers
137 views

Any Phrases About Trees Growing From Peoples Graves?

I'm looking for any phrases (成语/俗语/谚语, 等) that talk about the meaning of tress growing out of graves/tombs/resting places (of the dead). Apparently having a tree growing out of someones grave is ...
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7answers
446 views

What's the difference between 对不起, 对不住 and 不好意思

When I was in China, I heard people using 不好意思 to apologize casually. I also heard the expression 对不住 in TV series and movies. Is there any differences?
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2answers
323 views

Are “好饱了” and “好包了” both correct?

"好饱了" and "好包了" both seem to be used to mean "I'm full". I'm pretty sure that "好饱了" is definitely correct but they both get lots of Google hits and if I combine the search with the English "full" ...
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4answers
135 views

Is “酷比” an actual used word in any Chinese-speaking location? (Including colloquial and slang)

I've been looking at some very cheap tablet computers made in China and one goes by the English brand name "Cube" or "Alldocube" or "cube51". Their Chinese brand name is "酷比魔方" (Kù bǐ mófāng). I see ...
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5answers
415 views

“不客气” (bù kèqì) vs “谢谢你” (xièxiè nǐ)

At home in Australia my neighbouring shop owners are from Shanghai and taught me some Chinese. From them I learned two ways of responding to "谢谢" (xièxiè): "不客气" (bù kèqì) "谢谢你" (xièxiè nǐ) So I ...
2
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1answer
117 views

Common (and good) ways to ask for hand in marriage

The popular song goes, "今天你要嫁给我好吗" but I feel something like "你愿意嫁给我吗" sounds more like a question, rather than just adding "好吗" at the end of a statement. Does anybody have any critiques or ...
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4answers
222 views

Is “我爱辣” (Wǒ ài là) a correct/understandable/idiomatic way of saying I like my food spicy?

When I'm buying food in China, especially in the street but sometimes also in restaurants, people often ask me if it want "là". I know that means "spicy" and I really enjoy spicy food. As there's not ...
2
votes
3answers
140 views

Is “可以来 (ke3 yi3 lai2) …” an idomatic way to say “please bring me …”?

The vocabulary flashcard website "Memrise" has in one of its Chinese menu learning modules as entry: Word: 可以来... Definition: please bring... (food or dish) But one of the comments says: I ...
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1answer
137 views

Are there some greetings or phrases particular to the Hui people?

I'm in Yunnan and have noticed lots of Chinese muslims and ate at one of their restaurants today. I was aware of Turkic-speaking muslim ethnic minorities in the far west of China but now I know those ...
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1answer
373 views

Usage of the phrase '不错用' in Taiwan Mandarin

I heard my Taiwanese friends use the Mandarin phrase 不错用 more than once, but didn't have a chance to ask them: Is it widely used in Taiwan, or is it used by a certain circle/type of person? What's ...
6
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2answers
194 views

Regional variations of “柴米油盐酱醋茶”

When I was very small, my grandparents mentioned there are regional variations of the phrase 柴米油盐酱醋茶 which is widely known to the local population (instead of made up by nobody and only used by a ...
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1answer
110 views

how to translate 大脑迅速转动起来? [closed]

When I first came across the phrase "head starts spinning", I thought it meant 大脑迅速转动起来 in Chinese, which means "you start processing a lot info in your head in order to figure out something quickly". ...
4
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1answer
92 views

给我站住: Idiom or common meaning

给我站住 I assume this means something like "wait for me!". But I still have a couple of questions. Google translate gives the meaning "Nothing to say" which implies that 给我站住 may be an idiom. If ...
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4answers
329 views

Expressing “Fair enough”

The English expression "fair enough" can be used to concede a point in an argument, or acknowledge the other person's position, without expressing complete agreement. To take an example from ...
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4answers
213 views

For all I know

There is an expression in English: "For all I know, ...." The following clause often has a modal expressing uncertainty or the hypothetical nature of the assertion, like "might", "may", "could", ...
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3answers
469 views

爱老虎油 - is it slang?

Seen this phrase written by a Chinese person: 爱老虎油 [ài lǎo​hǔ yóu] What does it mean? Failed to find it in dictionaries. Is it some slang or 白话?
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5answers
240 views

What are some ways that I can be self-deprecating about my Chinese speaking ability?

I live in an area where there are many Chinese so I get plenty of opportunity to use my language skills including shopping, eating at restaurants and meeting new people. The Chinese people I meet are ...
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3answers
1k views

What are the normal forms of valediction in Chinese?

For example, how do they normally sign off letters? We normally use 'Yours Faithfully' or 'Your Sincerely' but we might not be so formal in emails and instead just 'Regards'. What is standard ...
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0answers
95 views

What does “吃你的豆腐” mean? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the exact meaning of 吃豆腐, and where does the expression come from? Someone made a joke with this phrase during dinner. What does "吃你的豆腐" mean other than the ...
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3answers
5k views

What is the exact meaning of 吃豆腐, and where does the expression come from?

I'm not talking about eating tofu, but the expression that means something more like taking advantage of someone. What exactly does 吃豆腐 mean, and where does this expression come from?
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6answers
6k views

Does 危机 really mean both crisis and opportunity?

A lot of people, mostly those who haven't studied Chinese, like to claim something along the lines of "In Chinese, the word for crisis 危机, also bears the meaning of opportunity." This is usually ...