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

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376 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
607 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 ...
2
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5answers
144 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
149 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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4answers
88 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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2answers
110 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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4answers
145 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? ...
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1answer
75 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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5answers
141 views

Are these correct headings for a spreadsheet?

The spreadsheet is related to food safety (processing, handling, storage, etc.) ID: 编号 (项目?) Process: 制程 Food category:食品类别 Standard: 标准 Frequency (as in how many times per day or every how many ...
3
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3answers
122 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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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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3answers
117 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?
3
votes
4answers
209 views

How does the particle word “呢” work?

My teacher said that a particle word in Chinese is a function word, but don't quite understand what is means. How does the particle word such as "呢" work? Also, are there any other Chinese particle ...
11
votes
6answers
747 views

What is the difference between 通常,经常,and 常常?

What is the difference between 通常,经常,and 常常? I hear them a lot in conversational Chinese, but I can't pick out the difference in meaning. The dictionaries I've checked don't seem to agree on their ...
3
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1answer
114 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 ...
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votes
1answer
163 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 ...
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3answers
56 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
153 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, ...
6
votes
3answers
174 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.
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3answers
156 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, ...
2
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1answer
56 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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vote
1answer
83 views

What are the common phrases in sports when you win the score?

Sportsmen use some phrases to encourage themselves during the game. So what do chineses sportsmen usually say when they win the score? E.g.: ...
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3answers
279 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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3answers
135 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
243 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), ...
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vote
1answer
48 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 ...
5
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1answer
405 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
219 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.
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3answers
164 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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4answers
578 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? ...
4
votes
4answers
298 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.
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1answer
51 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
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1answer
246 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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vote
2answers
62 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 ...
8
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5answers
181 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
90 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 ...
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votes
3answers
77 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) ...
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votes
2answers
263 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 ...
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4answers
175 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 ...
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3answers
132 views

Meaning/Usage/Translation: 耳膜 vs. 鼓膜?

What's the difference between: 耳膜 and 鼓膜? Apparently they both check out to eardrum in English. 汉语大辞典, even, defines 耳膜 as 耳中鼓膜。 Can 鼓膜 be used in other places then?
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98 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 ...
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votes
1answer
573 views

勇 character on soldiers' uniforms in movies

I don't know much about Chinese military history, but I do see this character appearing on historical uniforms (fictitious or actual) worn by soldiers in movies, some are set in the Qing dynasty some ...
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2answers
75 views

What is the right word order?

I am prepairing to my Chinese exam and have a doubt in using of 有 in describing of things in loction. Could you please correct my word order and explain 有-Usage rules? The task for me is to translate ...
6
votes
3answers
202 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 ...
5
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2answers
181 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?
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3answers
230 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 ...
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3answers
166 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
107 views

Meaning of 莫逮 in Classical texts?

Some examples of 莫逮 found in Classical texts: 三國志.卷二十一.魏書.王粲傳:「昔伯牙絕絃於鍾期,仲尼覆醢于子路,痛知音之難遇,傷門人之莫逮也。」 《南齐书·周盘龙传》 形甚羸訥, 而臨軍勇果, 諸將莫逮。 《宋史•朱弁传》:“叹马角之未生,魂销雪窖;攀龙髯而莫逮,泪洒冰天。” 《荀子·尧问》 ...
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3answers
207 views

How is 青 and 苍 used in classical Chinese to denote colors?

Here is what the dictionary says about 青:  1. 深绿色或浅蓝色:~草。~苔。 Dark Blue or light green.  2. 靛蓝色:靛~。~紫。 Indigo blue.  3. 黑色:~布。~衣。 Black. Similar case is 苍:  1. 深青色,深绿色:~翠。~天。 Dark ...
7
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4answers
300 views

Differentiating between 收 and 受

I've noticed a lot of people have trouble differentiating between 收 and 受. Both their pronunciations and meanings are similar. How to differentiate between the two? What tricks and tips are there ...