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

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6
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3answers
578 views

Difference between 曾经 and 已经

In this question I was asking about 曾经 and one answer says it means 'already'. What's the difference between 曾经 and 已经? Do the two sentences below have the same meaning? 他曾经在北京学过两年汉语。 ...
6
votes
2answers
495 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
553 views

Idiomatic expressions for attitude (agreement or disagreement)

I have recently seen two phrases which, in my understanding, looked very similar to each other: 再看吧 [zài kàn ba] 考虑考虑 [kǎo lǜ kǎo lǜ] However, I've been told that the first one means almost ...
6
votes
3answers
259 views

Phases to acknowledge being corrected in Mandarin

When I lived in China, I was often corrected for using grammar improperly or translating too literally. I don't think I ever learned a good response to this. I usually wanted to be courteous and ...
6
votes
5answers
701 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
842 views

What is the ancient Chinese one-character name for woman like '子’ means man?

青青子衿,悠悠我心。但为君故,沉吟至今 Here: 子,对对方的尊称 子 implicitly implies the poem is addressing a man. The poem talks about how a lady misses a man. I just wonder if there is a corresponding word for Chinese. (i.e. ...
6
votes
7answers
785 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?
6
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3answers
438 views

What's the difference between 了, 著 and 到 when used as verb complements?

I need help with sorting out the difference between 了, 著 and 到 when used as verb complements. I have learnt most of my Chinese in Taiwan and in my experience, Taiwanese people don't use 著 as a verb ...
6
votes
2answers
174 views

Can you use "非常非常‘ to emphasize how much you think of something?

I'm trying to figure out if a common English usage such as the one below is used in Chinese. I really really <verb> something Could I say something like this? 我非常非常喜欢这首歌 Could I use ...
6
votes
2answers
419 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?
6
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1answer
124 views

When should I use the 是…的 construction?

I've been told that 是...的 is used to put emphasis on something, but I'm not sure when or why I should use it.
6
votes
1answer
180 views

How euphemistic is 傢伙?

傢伙 (an example of a Chinese lexeme that does not map bijectively between simplified and traditional characters, the simplified word being 家伙) is translated, in the only translation Wang Xiaobo's work ...
6
votes
4answers
279 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), ...
6
votes
1answer
315 views

Connotation of 吗 questions vs. affirmative/negative questions

Is there any difference in connotation/region/modernity/etc. between questions ending in 吗 and affirmative/negative questions? For example, does: 你很累吗? connote something different than: 你累不累? And ...
6
votes
2answers
248 views

Differences: 别的 vs 其他 vs 另外 (other)

Well, the question is in the title... I'd be very thankful for an explanation, but also: Could you give examples of cases where they are and are not interchangeable? Can I use them for "where are ...
5
votes
3answers
516 views

Difference Between 学校 and 学堂

What's the difference between 学校 and 学堂? I've heard that 学堂 has more classical usage, is that correct? I know that 学校 is more commonly used these days.
5
votes
5answers
396 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
763 views

When to use “们”

In Chinese, using "们" after a noun is, in some sense, equivalent to adding an "s" after an English word. Yet I find the rules in Chinese of using 们 to be very puzzling; I am a native speaker yet I ...
5
votes
7answers
541 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
5
votes
5answers
515 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
324 views

How do you ask how old a building is?

I know to say to a person how old they are you can say "你多大" or "你几岁". But, how could you express "how old is this building?" Would you say "这楼有几年的历史?" Or would that only be used for something grand ...
5
votes
5answers
517 views

What are the common ice-breaker sentences in Chinese?

There are sentences in English like "What's up?" "What's going on?" "how have you been?" to begin a conversation with or to greet people (friends or relatives) So what are the common ice-breaker ...
5
votes
4answers
377 views

Why is (是) shi4 dropped in this sentence:“我很好”?

I''m a Chinese learner for quite a while, I've been wondering why (是) shi4 is dropped in sentences like this:"我很好" Isn't there supposed to be a verb in every sentences? like 我(是)很好.
5
votes
3answers
604 views

Sentence structure “I'm [doing something] because [reason]”?

I am familiar with the sentence structure "因为。。。所以。。。," but what is the correct way to say "I am [doing something] because [reason]"? For example, "I am asking this question because I am clueless." ...
5
votes
2answers
192 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
269 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
votes
2answers
401 views

Difference between 两个都 and 我们俩

Pimsleur's Mandarin course teaches 'both of us' as 我们两个都 (wǒ men liăng ge dōu), but in another question I asked here I recently found that 我们俩 (wǒ men liă). Are these always interchangeable, or are ...
5
votes
1answer
691 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
429 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
521 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
192 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?" ...
5
votes
2answers
460 views

In what contexts would I use 由?

I know that 由 means through/via or from but I'm not sure exactly what contexts to use this in. For example the dictionary has this example sentence: 运输问题由他们解决。 I understand this but I would have ...
5
votes
3answers
246 views

What is the function of 已 in 好像她已出去好几天了。

What is the purpose of 已 in the following sentence? 好像她已出去好几天了。 The English translation given is: It looks as if she's gone away for a few days. Or is this an incorrect-character, supposed ...
5
votes
1answer
172 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?" ...
5
votes
2answers
144 views

Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big?

Does one imply a much greater frequency? What about register? Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big, or is it in all cases quite close?
5
votes
2answers
195 views

Chinese words for “accent”

The English word accent, as in the flavor of one's speech, is typically translated as 口音 or 腔调. What is the difference between these two Chinese expressions?
4
votes
8answers
610 views

How does “多” work in this describing sentence “多好看啊!”?

I know 多 means many. But in some cases, it is used as in this sentence, such as this one: "多好看啊!" How exactly does it work? Thanks!
4
votes
6answers
316 views

Difference between 资料库 and 数据库

Recently, I've come upon two words to say "database" - 资料库 and 数据库. What is the main difference between two? Which one is used in the context of programming? Thanks for the help!
4
votes
2answers
325 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
265 views

How to say “On the phone” (手机里 vs. 手机上)

Prepositions are always a fun part to learn of a language. Right now, I'm running into the difficulty of trying to describe "On My Phone". I've heard people say "手机上“ but, after Baiduing I also know ...
4
votes
3answers
83 views

Do people say 有能力 <do something> or 有 <do something> 的能力

I've always been a bit confused about the order of using 有能力 and I'm hoping someone can clarify. Do people say "有能力 do something" or "有 do something 的能力"? For example, could I say "他没有能力写代码?”
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votes
3answers
272 views

What's the difference between 快 and 快要?

I started to learn Chinese like one month ago and I'm facing a first misunderstanding. In my book it says that 快 can be used to say "soon" but 快要 is also used to express the same thing. Is there a ...
4
votes
3answers
192 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
70 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
113 views

Describing Characters: AB的A/B

When trying to describe what specific character one is talking about, people often use the following method: AB的A/B For instance: 包: 书包的包 宇: 宇宙的宇 My questions: What is this thing ...
4
votes
4answers
356 views

How strict is pronoun gender applied in writing

I noticed that my sougou pinyin program doesn't even have 她们的 in the choices, how strict is this gender difference applied in writing, Maybe some specific questions. If I refer to a group of people ...
4
votes
1answer
159 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
113 views

Is 在瞬间 something like 'at some point'?

The phrase 在瞬间 zài shùnjiān seems literally to mean 'in an instant'. But usage-wise, is it more like 'at some point'? Or am I off the mark?
4
votes
1answer
251 views

What is the usage of 蔑 as a negation word in classical chinese?

I read someone mentioning 蔑 as a negation word in classical Chinese, but unfortunately without explaining how it works or an example sentence. So I looked it up in my dictionary and it only showed me ...
4
votes
3answers
243 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, ...