Questions that concern the use of expressions, parts of speech, words, verbs, etc.

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3
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2answers
186 views

Confusion when words are combined

Hello I have been learning Mandarin for only a few weeks, although an issue has been bugging me. It concerns combining words together to make a sentence. For example I have heard that a correct ...
1
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4answers
104 views

Use of 如何 versus 怎麼樣

This is kind of a two-part question: 1) If you say "你如何喜歡你的菜?" are you asking, "how does the food taste to you" or "how do you prefer your food to be cooked"? To me it seems that if you are asking the ...
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5answers
240 views

many ways to say Today

I've seen "today" translated in several ways: "今日", "今天", "本日". Are they all official words? What's the difference among them? Are those words more or less interchangeable in common language? Are ...
3
votes
2answers
373 views

Address people using 生 (e.g. 唐生)

Sometimes I hear people from Southern China address other people using 生, e.g. 唐生 for 张国荣's lover 唐鹤德. I looked it up in the dictionaries and searched online but didn't found any explanation on the ...
2
votes
2answers
214 views

Is this a correct usage of “來日方長”?

I want to say: You still have a long way to go, wish you have a memorable secondary school career And here's my translation to Chinese: 來日方長, 希望你有個難忘的中學生涯 I'm wondering if it is correct to ...
2
votes
3answers
107 views

个 ge usage plus 每 mei

Anybody can explain me the reason why: -we don't say 每个年 but 每年? and, on the contrary, we must say 每个月 and not 每月? -Is there somethig to do with the fact that sometimes we must use 全 (全身)instead of 整个 ...
0
votes
3answers
106 views

Is it appropriate to use 喂 by text?

喂 is used to answer the phone, but is it accepted over text? If not, is there an alternative to 你好 that's in common use (informally, like "hi", "hey", or "yo" in English). Is 嗨 widely accepted in ...
3
votes
3answers
117 views

When is it appropriate to use 剩女?

For the average Chinese woman approaching the age of 27-30, getting married is a fairly high priority, and a large motivating factor to this is the cultural pressure of avoiding becoming a 剩女, or ...
3
votes
3answers
175 views

Does 青龙 not really mean Green Dragon?

People at the Hebei museum, and my friends, and Baidu http://baike.baidu.com/view/606163.htm all agree that 青龙白虎 means "Dragon and White Tiger." (I capitalize because these name specific folk ...
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2answers
77 views

What is the difference between 老X and X老 as a term of address?

Here is an exchange I saw in a WeChat group today: 李xx: 请大家为28号投票! A: 谢谢您,李老! 【抱拳】【抱拳】 B: 谢谢您,老李! 【偷笑】 A: “李老”是尊称,“老李”是称呼! C: 【强】 I'm fairly familiar with the usage 老X as a term of address. And I ...
3
votes
4answers
185 views

哪里 as an answer

I heard from a classmate of mine that 哪里 is not used much among Chinese nowadays like in following dialog: 你的汉语很好! 哪里, 哪里! Is it true that it's considered formal? Are there other ...
2
votes
3answers
117 views

Meaning and usage of 得瑟(嘚瑟)

嘚瑟 [dè·se] (usually written 得瑟 in my limited observation) is apparently 东北方言. I've seen a couple dictionaries/explanations that say it means to "show off". I hear this word fairly frequently, but I ...
3
votes
4answers
152 views

Meaning of 嘛 in this context?

台灣都嘛是做小成本人文電影 I was wondering how 嘛 is used in this sentence. I think the sentence could be translated as something like "Taiwan only makes low-cost movies about the humanities."?
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6answers
102 views

How does 十分/不十分 work?

十分 is an adverb used just as 非常, but while 十分 can be negated (不十分), 非常 can't. (不非常 is unacceptable.) That's the explanation given by my book, which also gives me these sentences as examples: ...
2
votes
2answers
75 views

他很慢地走: why there is 地 if the adjective is monosyllabic?

I can't use 地 after the adjective if the adjective is monosyllabic (他慢地走 isn't acceptable. Then why in this sentence is there 地 after a monosyllabic adjective? 他很慢地走 Is it because I can use 地 if ...
2
votes
4answers
91 views

What does this structure (有 … 才有 …) mean?

My book says the 有 … 才有 structure is the same as 只有 … 才, but it doesn't give me any examples. Are the following both equivalent and correct? 只有他才知道怎么解决这个问题 有他才有知道怎么解决这个问题 If not, how ...
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2answers
82 views

What does this pattern (由 … 而) mean, exactly?

My book says that this structure is used to express the change of something, and it gives me this example: 他脸色由白而红 But I think I didn't understand this structure really well. When ...
3
votes
3answers
445 views

When to use 世界 and when to use 国际

These two terms are broadly speaking translations of "world" (世界), and "international" (国际). Recently, I've been reminded that "international" in English can be used to mean "many nations" rather than ...
2
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1answer
200 views

What's the difference between 只 and 才?

What's the difference between 只 and 才?When should I use 只 and when 才?Can you give me some example? Thank you
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5answers
196 views

Can you apply 男子汉 and 女汉子 to non-Chinese?

The term 汉奸 probably only works for Han Chinese traitors, but what about other '汉's?
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5answers
158 views

What's the difference between 之间 and 中间?

之间 means between (no more than 2), so these are acceptable: 我和他之间 我们之间 (between us two) Not acceptable: 学生们之间 中间 means among (more than 2), so this is acceptable: 学生们之间 And this isn't: ...
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2answers
138 views

Difference between 于是 and 所以

What's the difference between 于是 and 所以? How and when are they interchangeable?
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2answers
66 views

What's the difference between 许多 and 很多? [duplicate]

What's the difference between 许多 and 很多? I have learned that 许多 can't be used as predicate yet in this sentence it seems to have a predicative function 他觉得妻子虽然老了许多 但仍很美丽
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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 ...
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1answer
87 views

Is 未長未短 grammatically correct (in classical Chinese)?

Is 未長未短 grammatically correct (in classical Chinese)? The article http://www.hainan-today.com/2012/201201/web/201201_28.htm uses “未長未短”: ...
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4answers
256 views

What are the differences in usage and nuances between 现在,正在 and 还在?

I think it's pretty hard to tell the differences between these three words, and here's the dialogue: A: 你现在在干什么? B: 我正在做作业。 A: 你怎么还在做作业呀! Can you help me to understand and remember these words? ...
4
votes
3answers
143 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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5answers
162 views

Difference between 察覺 and 覺察

I often use the word 察覺, which, I believe, corresponds to 發現 in colloquial context, meaning "to realize". But I recently encountered the word 覺察 in a similar context as the following: ...
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votes
3answers
131 views

好久不见+了=OK or wrong? What does the “le” add?

"Long time no see" is 好久不见 in Mandarin. I would be inclined towards adding a 了 at the end. Would that be all right? And in that case, what does the 了 add?
5
votes
1answer
235 views

The slang meaning of “Seven/七” in Cantonese

I have heard a few Hongkongers saying seven in a similar, likely identical, context. I assume they are addressing a person because when they say it, they make the L hand gesture. I could be wrong, but ...
4
votes
3answers
62 views

Formality of “悲哀” as opposed to “悲傷” and “哀傷”

From what I have learned, or I remember I have learned, 悲哀, 悲傷, and 哀傷 all mean sadness and are interchangeable. However, as I remember, I have read 悲傷 and 哀傷 in academic/professional writings, but ...
6
votes
3answers
184 views

When to use 一言难尽

When is it appropriate to use 一言难尽? Please supply a scenario where this would be a good reply. I have found this in my dictionary but I want to make sure I use in in the correct context.
2
votes
1answer
199 views

The real meaning of “傲嬌”

Until recently, I have known the meaning of this word as described on the wiki page. I thought it is used to refer to people, particularly female, who are cold on the outside and hot, as in intimate, ...
2
votes
1answer
66 views

Does “些” Work As A Suffix (Ever) In Mandarin Similar To “们”?

些 xiē 【名】 [方言]:们〖-s〗——表示复数的词缀。如:婆娘些;娃儿些;老师些 Although marked as dialect (read: topolect), I'm curious to know if this usage is ever acceptable or found in MSM (Modern Standard ...
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3answers
182 views

How to say “you don't need to.”

In every language I know, the expressions for saying someone does not need to do something are often used to say they had better not do it. Suppose I want to tell someone in an e-mail, in Chinese, ...
4
votes
3answers
351 views

Proper way to address a waiter or waitress

From what I have learned, one should address a waiter or waitress as 先生 or 小姐. However, I have also seen the case (I believe it was in a drama) of addressing them as the general term 服務生 or 服務員. As ...
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1answer
182 views

“惡” vs “噩” vs “厄”

I have seen these three characters forming the "same" words (I cannot think of a better way to phrase this), such as 惡夢 vs 噩夢 and 惡運 vs 噩運 vs 厄運 As I tried googling for the difference, I ...
7
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3answers
191 views

Quotation Marks (“”) and Angle Quotation Marks (《》)

Based on my recent observation, most people use "" to enclose a quote and use 《》 to enclose the name of a book (or a movie?). However, since I began my Chinese study, I have been learning to use 「」 as ...
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1answer
61 views

Appropriate way to reject an offer

I have three case scenarios here: 這是一點心意,請你收下。 Please accept this (gift/money as an) appreciation. 我請你吃飯吧! Let me treat you a meal! 加入我們的團隊吧! Join our team! As far as I know, in ...
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4answers
1k views

A Complex Chinese Character

I randomly saw this character on the blog a while ago and saved a image of it as shown below. Is this even a character? If so, what does it mean? When is it used? What was the origin of it? How do ...
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votes
1answer
239 views

Chinese Chengyu (Idiom): Refute somebody with his own argument

Is there a Chinese Idiom for "Refute somebody with his own argument"? I thought this is not quite the same as "self-contradictory" 自相矛盾. Thank you.
5
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1answer
433 views

“同儕” vs “同僚” vs “同事”

I know that 同事 means colleague, but I have seen 同儕 and 同僚 used in similar context. Below are random examples of each I found on google: 在同儕關係中彼此地位平等、較能相互學習。 由於他過度地自負,同僚們不喜歡他。 Are these ...
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votes
3answers
182 views

“吃飽了” versus “ 吃好了”

One friend advised that after a meal it is more polite for a guest to say "我吃好了" than "我吃飽了." That makes sense but I suppose it could depend on context. Searching the two phrases on Google I see ...
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votes
4answers
621 views

Why do people say “吃飽了嗎”

I have heard my Chinese-speaking friends asking each other 吃飽了嗎? several times when they are done or almost done with their own meal. And I have wondered, "Why would they ask others such question? ...
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1answer
57 views

How to say “a blue-ruled Olympic Exercise notebook” in Chinese?

I wondered what the meaning is in Chinese. Also there are other different types in printing, like Graph ruled, wide ruled. If I can call them "蓝边" "图纹" and "宽边笔记本"? Thanks in advance
3
votes
1answer
319 views

Subway door announcement mystery

I think probably every metro system around the world has to have an audio announcement warning passengers to stay away from the train's doors as they're closing. Here in New York, a pre-recorded voice ...
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2answers
66 views

A question about use of 为止

辣椒对我们饮食的影响是否就到此为止呢? The use of "wei zhi" in this sentence puzzles me. In some contexts it means "until," but I think the sentence basically means, "Does the influence of hot peppers on our diet end ...
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votes
2answers
100 views

How do I say that something is “negative”?

I'm trying to explain to a Chinese penpal that certain word and phrases in English carry a negative connotation and so shouldn't be used in specific situations. I want to say "that phrase is very ...
2
votes
3answers
84 views

Translation: 'Overwhelm'

Overwhelm is a difficult word to deal with. I've seen 难不倒 translated as wouldn't have overwhelmed and XX 劳力 大 as something's power being overwhelming. Oxford has 难以忍受的 (heat, pressure) ...
3
votes
4answers
193 views

Prefacing questions with 请问

When I ask a stranger for directions or other information I begin with 请问. It is especially important for me to use some opening phrase since people do not expect a foreigner to speak Chinese to ...