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

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洗尘: why is a welcome banquet “washing dust”?

洗尘 refers to the traditional Chinese custom of holding a banquet to welcome visitors from afar. However, the literal translation is "to wash dust", which has nothing to do with eating, and I'm also ...
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4answers
63 views

Correct/natural way to say “在我的咖啡可以加糖吗?”

I'm wodering about the correct, or natural, way to say "could you please add some sugar to my coffee?" My unnatural-sounding way would be 在我的咖啡可以加糖吗, but I feel like a Chinese speaker is unlikely to ...
3
votes
2answers
59 views

How to say “That looks delicious”

In company, or at someone's house, how might I say "That dish looks delicious?" or "That looks good"? My inclination is to say 那看起来好吃, or maybe 那看地好吃, but both seem like too much of a direct ...
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4answers
87 views

phrase for “It happened just as you finished talking about it”

I was pointing at a thundercloud and saying that lightning may strike, and my Chinese friend said a 4-syllable phrase that meant that it happened just as I finished talking about it. Do you know this ...
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1answer
72 views

Are there any Chinese phrases that have embarrassing meanings if their tones are mispronounced? [closed]

For example: "问(wèn) ask" and "吻(wěn) kiss" 我可以问你吗? wǒ kěyǐ wèn nǐ ma? It means "Can I ask you?" 我可以吻你吗? wǒ kěyǐ wěn nǐ ma? It means "Can I kiss you?" Could you please give me more examples?
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3answers
141 views

Meaning of 所 in “有所…”

As far as I know, 所 has the following meanings: a place, as in 派出所 (police office). a counter, as in 一所科學中心 (a science center). a passive voice indicator that pairs up with 被(為), as in 被(為)愛所糾纏 ...
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2answers
71 views

What is a proper explanation of “working knowledge” in Chinese?

Though I myself am a native Chinese speaker, up to now I still have not yet figured out an appropriate explanation of the phrase "working knowledge" to any one that is not highly educated. The ...
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4answers
121 views

The slang(?) phrase “乾掉了”

As I remember, the phrase was used in response to a certain scenario. Unfortunately, as I tried to look it up on Google, all I find is drying out, which is certainly not the meaning I am looking for. ...
4
votes
1answer
103 views

What does “蕊屁” mean?

At https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyNNvgW1dSg&lc=z13jt1khfxr4zzw0k225sjfzzyn1hhebs04, someone wrote: 看完電影後整晚都在蕊屁OST Another person wrote in reply: +1 瘋狂蕊批 What does "蕊屁" mean?
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2answers
169 views

Why “保重” means “take care”?

As far as I have learnt, for each Chinese word with more than one character, its meaning is formed from that of each character which it comprises. However, I cannot understand how the meaning of 保重 is ...
2
votes
4answers
360 views

What is the meaning of “拜了个拜”?

I heard this phrase from some Chinese-speaking stranger. I assume it's related to farewell since the stranger was waving hand to someone else, but what does it mean exactly? Is there a certain context ...
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votes
1answer
111 views

What is an idiom that describes aiming for high achievement or success but not forgetting one's roots?

What is an idiom/phrase/saying that describes aiming for high achievement or success but not forgetting one's roots? Something like 展翅高飞 and 饮水思源 combined
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1answer
53 views

Can someone translate this to Chinese simplified? “Capital Stacks”

This is a financial term, and I'm hoping for the most professionally used term. Capital Stacks A description of the totality of capital invested in a project, including pure debt, hybrid debt,and ...
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1answer
63 views

Origin: of the phrase 不让[能]踩门槛

Looking for something authoritative. What is the origin of the 不让[能]踩门槛 phrase? Earliest usage?
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1answer
119 views

What does 唐乐乐 mean?

In the context of "唐乐乐睁开眼睛,看着头上陌生的天花板。" What would be the meaning of the phrase "唐乐乐"? While I understand the rest of the sentence perfectly, this bit makes no sense to me. Thanks for any help!
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1answer
82 views

What's the different between 不好意思 and 对不起? [duplicate]

What's the different between 不好意思 and 对不起? Where should I use which?
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2answers
101 views

What is the Correct Sense of 隔空喊话 in English?

Baidu defines it literally as "not directly engaging with [someone/thing] when talking, rather talking with no person in mind." I'm curious whether it can be close to how we say in English, "[two ...
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5answers
160 views

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. ...
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1answer
44 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
72 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. :)
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1answer
104 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
87 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
133 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 ...
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5answers
392 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
99 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
votes
1answer
341 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 ...
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2answers
151 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
735 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
146 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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279 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 ...
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1answer
220 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
196 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 = ...
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1answer
86 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
157 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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462 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
152 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
564 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
343 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
190 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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925 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 ...
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1answer
148 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
255 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 ...
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3answers
177 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
159 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
451 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 ...
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231 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
113 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". ...
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1answer
105 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
389 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 ...
6
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4answers
255 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", ...