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

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5
votes
2answers
327 views

What is the difference between 工作上 and 工作

那个是我工作上的东西 Why is there a 上 in this sentence? How does it change the meaning? Ie, what's the difference between 工作的东西 and 工作上的东西? When should 工作上 be used as opposed to 工作?
3
votes
5answers
818 views

Why is 未有 used here?

While reading a news article from Hong Kong, I noticed the sentence: XXX 未有回覆传媒查询。 (I replaced specific details that aren't relevant to my question with "XXX".) This I take to mean that: XXX ...
1
vote
1answer
105 views

(Cantonese) What's the right context in which to say, “三九唔識七”?

What's the right context in which to say, "三九唔識七"? Would like to know how to properly use this phrase.
6
votes
4answers
582 views

What's the difference between 舅舅 and 叔叔?

My favorite short story in modern Mandarin, 2015 by 王小波, is basically a long, humorous digression about the author's 舅舅: ...
3
votes
2answers
121 views

When should 之 be used as a particle?

When should 之 be used as a particle? There doesn't seem to be a straightforward answer on Nciku. On Wiktionary, the entry states: Indicates that the previous word has possession of the next one. ...
10
votes
2answers
430 views

Addressing women as “小姐” in Northern China

I heard that it is not appropriate to call women or girls "小姐" in northern China. That it is considered rough and has a meaning close to "hooker". So I never address girls or women as "小姐" in the ...
8
votes
2answers
179 views

Where is the correct place to use 您 when addressing others?

Almost every foreign text book I've seen mentions 您 as a polite or formal address to others, however I rarely hear it said and rarely see it written except when addressing customers and occasionally ...
11
votes
6answers
456 views

When is it appropriate to address a lady as 先生?

Chairman Mao addressed Soong Ching-ling as 宋庆龄先生. Yang Jiang was also addressed as 杨绛先生 by the public. My dad used to tell me to address some of his female colleagues as 先生 too. I wonder why a lady ...
4
votes
3answers
176 views

Usage of 師傅 in Mandarin

In Cantonese 師傅 will often be used to refer to some sort of specialized worker (e.g. a plumber, or a renovator) or some sort of "master" or "teacher" (not in the sense used in a school setting), ...
3
votes
3answers
272 views

The meanings of 不好意思

In response to kindnesses I sometimes say "不好意思了" and I don't think there has ever been a misunderstanding. But as an English speaker I feel unsure how this is different from saying "不好意思" for a bad ...
10
votes
6answers
473 views

What is the difference in use between 完 and 了?

If I understood correctly, both 完 and 了 can be used to indicate a completed action, so what is the difference in use? How do we properly use 完 in a sentence? Which contexts would be valid?
7
votes
3answers
266 views

冰雪聪明… only for girls?

Is the expression 冰雪聪明 (bīng xuě cōng míng) really only used for girls? The literal translation is "snow smart" and I understand it means something along the lines of "extremely smart" but the times ...
1
vote
1answer
153 views

Chinese symbols on a Murakami painting? [closed]

Recently at an art gallery, I was introduced to some works of Takashi Murakami. On quite a few of his paintings were symbols which looked like Chinese, some sort of a seal perhaps. There was a ...
3
votes
1answer
294 views

How to say things are different from one another

Lately I have been confused on how to say different in Mandarin. I learned 不同 and 不一样 but am not confident on their usage. I am also unsure of the grammar. I found 与众不同 but this seems to also have the ...
5
votes
5answers
258 views

what's the difference between 羡慕 and 妒忌?

Can someone tell me the difference between these to words. Are they both regularly used? They seem to both indicate jealousy. I've seen 羡慕 on different occasions and I'm used to that one, but I've ...
3
votes
2answers
133 views

Deciding when to use 就像 vs 像是 vs 像

I may be mistaken, but if I use 就像 , 像是 or 像 in any of the sentences, they are pretty much the same. Is there a difference? “他们说‘电视直播’时,就像我说‘报税’一样无可奈何 “They say ‘live TV’ the way I say ‘doing my ...
9
votes
3answers
198 views

What grammar makes 同 品 項 第 2 仵 6折 mean “Buy one, get the second at 60% of base price”?

So in the convenience store, there were bottles of iced coffee with the slogan: 同 品 項 第 2 仵 6折 I was told that this meant: "Buy the first item, get the second item at 60% of base price." I was ...
3
votes
4answers
129 views

Does 住 人 mean “people living in the area” or “real live people, as opposed to puppets and fictions”?

I see various written sentences that refer to 住 人 . The dictionary says this means "living people," but 住 seems to be "live" in the sense of "I live in Beijing," or "I reside in Beijing." So if the ...
10
votes
3answers
383 views

Why is 我很要… an invalid statment

Why is it that to say I very much or really want something I have to say 我很想要... and not just 我很要... So if I wanted a cup of coffee I would say 我要一杯咖啡 But if I want to say I really want coffee ...
3
votes
4answers
169 views

Usage of word 到 in 我很高兴见到你

Why do one need to write a word 到 in statement 我很高兴见到你? Can we omit it? It's like being complete without that word for me. Why do we need to use it? I found this phrase in this book.
10
votes
2answers
233 views

Implications of “旧的不去,新的不来”

I found this idiom while looking for another idiom my friend told me about like 回去回来 or 回来回去. I'm wondering about the implications of 旧的不去,新的不来 though. Can this be used for people who hold onto broken ...
5
votes
1answer
147 views

is 趁早 the same as saying as soon as possible? Can I use it by itself?

is 趁早 the same as saying as soon as possible in English? The dictionary defines 趁早 as "as soon as possible", but can I use it by itself in a sentence? For example , if someone asks me "你什么时候想去吃饭?" ...
3
votes
3answers
315 views

Different Ways to Say “Hometown”

I have encountered both 老家 and 家乡 for referring to one's hometown. What are the differences? That is: When should each one be used? When should one or the other be avoided? When can they both be ...
5
votes
5answers
573 views

What is the difference between 看不起 and 看不上?

The two have very similar meanings and can both be used to mean "detest, despise, look down upon" but there seems to be a subtle difference. According to these entries: 看不起 ...
9
votes
3answers
390 views

What's the actual difference between 文 and 语?

Both mean "language" with some other related meanings. A friend of mine told me that while 文 refers more to the written language, 语 is more related to the spoken one. Is this a difference and is it ...
8
votes
3answers
263 views

When do I use 着 to indicate action in progress?

It seems like for some verbs (正)在 is used to indicate action in progress, but I have also encountered 着 for some, like 穿着. When should it be used, is there a rule to follow?
3
votes
7answers
364 views

Should Chinese text be grid aligned in game dialogs?

Title says it all, should I have my text using a variable width font, or fixed width. I didn't know if it is easier to read if its aligned on a grid? So here is my dialog with fixed width, one issue ...
3
votes
2answers
177 views

How do you translate “hover over”?

I would like to say something like "Please use your mouse to hover over the attribute icon," but I do not know the Chinese equivalent for "hover over" in terms of technology. Would 停留 be understood, ...
1
vote
0answers
52 views

Usage of 吗 vs 嘛 in Informal Questions [duplicate]

A friend wanted to know what I was doing so sent a message with this question: 你在干吗呢, then immediately corrected herself by typing: 你在干嘛呢. I found it interesting that Google translate seems to do a ...
5
votes
7answers
439 views

What does 土 mean in this sentence 这个名字有点土?

I heard this mentioned about someones name recently. Can someone explain the meaning and any connotations of "土" in the sentence: 这个名字有点土
4
votes
2answers
278 views

What's the difference between …的 and 所…的

I believe that both of these constructions create what is called a "subordinate clause". I know that 的 can be used to specify something like: 我喜欢的东西 (those things which I like), 很远的地方 (the place ...
6
votes
2answers
245 views

Why don't all questions have the “ma” 吗 particle at the end?

I've been using this site to get my basic foothold in Mandarin. If you scroll down you'll see a section entitled "WHAT", including some questions like "What's the matter?" and "What did you say?" and ...
2
votes
2answers
139 views

What are appropriate objects of 制作?

My dictionary, along with many websites I've checked translates 制作 as to make to manufacture What sorts of things may I 制作? The second definition of "manufacture" leads me to believe that, for ...
3
votes
3answers
318 views

Why is 的 used in these sentences?

I have the following sentences: 你是哪一天出生的? (sentence 1) I'm trying to understand why 的 is being used in this sentence. I know it is used to express possession, but I'm not sure that's the case is ...
7
votes
3answers
95 views

How common is the use of “瞧” and which region?

I've seen 瞧 used every now and then in written Chinese, but I've rarely heard it said in spoken Chinese except for the occasional mention of 瞧不起. A couple of days ago I was watching Kung Fu Panda and ...
1
vote
2answers
111 views

How to say properly translate “circulation”?

I know that 通风 means to ventilate, but how does one say circulation? Two specific sentences I'm having trouble translating are: He wanted to save energy, so he turned on the circulation fan ...
5
votes
5answers
349 views

webpage loading.. 加载 vs 载入​​​​​​​

What words should we use when we want to say "a webpage is loading"? In Gmail, when I change my settings to simplified Chinese, Google says "正在加载". However, when I change my settings to traditional ...
3
votes
2answers
183 views

How to use 了 as a modal particle?

I'm having a hard time understanding when to use 了 as a modal particle (instead of as an aspect particle). For example, what is the difference between the following two sentences. 现在几点? 现在几点了? ...
0
votes
1answer
134 views

Can you help me to understand the technical text translated from Chinese to English? [closed]

I am translating the user manual to Russian. It is in English but translated from Chinese and about Chinese video security system (chinese software and hardware). Probably the native Chinese ...
5
votes
2answers
163 views

Correct usage of “behind schedule”

What I would like to know is the proper way to say "I am behind schedule" in the general sense similar to "I am running two hours late for the meeting", or "This project is two weeks overdue". When I ...
2
votes
3answers
156 views

Mixing of 你 and 您 a stylistic device?

I found this text on the ubuntu.com website. There are what seems to be 2 different levels of politeness mixed together. Or is this a stylistic device? 下载并安装Ubuntu桌面操作系统,你 只需要一张空白的光盘或U盘。无论 您 ...
6
votes
3answers
319 views

What's the main difference between 为 and 是?

It seems like both 为 and 是 mean "to be". In which cases is one used but not the other? Is it something like the difference between "estar" and "ser" in Spanish and Portuguese? (In the sense that one ...
2
votes
3answers
203 views

Translating the word “feelings” for conversational use

When I look for a dictionary translation of "feelings", I see two translations: 情怀 and 情面. Which of these two would be better suited to translate the following sentence The woman rhetorically ...
9
votes
2answers
278 views

What's a precise definition of 人家

I've gathered from context, that “人家” can be used like “我” with the following differences: "人家" seems more immature/cute. I often hear it in cartoons or children's shows or said by children in ...
8
votes
7answers
493 views

What is the difference between using 光 vs using 只?

What is the gramatical difference between 光 and 只? 光剩下2毛钱 does not have the same meaning/context as 只剩下2毛钱 It seems there is more emphasis to the part that comes after 光. When is the right time to ...
2
votes
4answers
178 views

回去回来 回来回去 来来回回 来来去去 Are they the same?

In this post, Juckele mention two terms completely new to me : 回去回来 and 回来回去. I know 来来回回 Things keep going in circle, usually use to describe situation in life 来来去去 Same as above But what about ...
9
votes
2answers
163 views

Difference between 生前 and 死前

Literally, 死前 means before death while 生前 means before life. They seem to bear the opposite meaning. However, in most cases, they actually mean the same thing, i.e., when someone was still alive. ...
4
votes
1answer
132 views

What is etymology for 沙龙?

I've noticed that hairdressing shops are usually called 沙龙 [shā-lóng]. Obviously, it's not a "sand dragon", but a direct transliteration of English "salon" instead. What is the reason for using a ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Why 福 is often used upside down?

On Chinese houses, people often place scriptures for luck, health, wealth, etc. Often, they use the word 福 [fú] turned upside down, like this: What is the reason for it?
2
votes
2answers
145 views

“一块” versus “一块儿” in Beijing

From some experience in Beijing, some on CCTV 9, and some reading, I begin to suspect that in Beijing the pronunciation "一块" is more often used for the count noun, and "一块儿" is more often used to mean ...