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

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2
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4answers
109 views

What is the difference between 退欧 and 脱欧?

On RFI Chinese Radio, they often have a topic about what I got to understand is Brexit, a current issue in England. They often use at different time the terms 退欧 and 脱欧 to talk about the issue. From ...
1
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2answers
67 views

爱、采 ( A trivalent verb takes 2 objects )

(my 1st post) Could someone give me a sample sentence containing 爱 taking 2 objects? I'm guessing it's << I'd love him to [do ...] >> type of construction? Thank you. HH (from Wikipedia)...
7
votes
5answers
1k 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: 我舅舅是个无照画家,和别人不同的是,他总在忙些正事。有时他在作画;有时他卖画,并且因此蹲在派出所里。他作画时把房门锁上,再戴上个防震耳罩,...
0
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3answers
73 views

Spoken Cantonese | using '緊', and difference between continuous and progressive aspects

I'm told that 緊 serves the general purpose of '-ing' (according to HK native speaker, who also uses '梗' to represent this idea in text). This is supported by what I've found online, except with a ...
1
vote
1answer
117 views

Where is the right place of the 的 in this sentence

I am not sure where I have to put the 的 in this sentence, if someone could explain me 我的西班牙语只学了半年 or 我只学了半年的西班牙语
8
votes
1answer
157 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.
0
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3answers
116 views

“to slice or cut (a finger)” in Traditional Chinese / Spoken Cantonese?

Haven't managed to find a usage that speaks specifically to cut or slice open a body part. Also seeing contradictions (or perhaps information gaps) between CantoDict and Pleco. Some notes: ...
0
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3answers
53 views

Is this usage of 不 before a noun acceptable?

In the first episode of the Chinese-Japanese anime collaboration 一人之下, we see Zhang Chulan (张楚岚) in a classroom at his university. Just prior to this, we see a still of a university building, with a ...
3
votes
3answers
87 views

Classical Chinese grammar help: 蓋將自其變者而觀之,則天地曾不能以一瞬

The second clause is translated as some version of: "If you look at it from the point of Change, then heaven and earth never stay the same for even a moment". Here's what I think I know: 不 negates a ...
4
votes
4answers
426 views

表达 vs. 表现 vs. 表示 vs. 显示

These four words all express (get it, because they all mean express ha ha ha) similar meanings: to express/show/display/manifest/demonstrate/convey/indicate etc. I'm sure there are subtle differences ...
1
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3answers
131 views

Difference from 趁着 and 就

I already knew 趁着 meant "to take advantage of a situation". But I just came along 2 examples using 就 in the same sense. Are there any differences between them? 老师可以就学生的年龄再练习一下。/老师可以趁着学生的年龄再练习一下。 ...
1
vote
1answer
116 views

Verbs to indicate animals walking?

What are the various verbs that can be used to indicate walking for animals? Saying something like 老虎开始走向巴士 or 小猫在街上走着 sounds odd to me.
1
vote
2answers
142 views

Is the Cantonese diminutive (粒) the same as the Mandarin (子)?

Is the Cantonese diminutive (粒) as in 鸡粒炒饭 the same as the Mandarin (子)? Is that the right character to use? UPDATE: Sorry for the mistake, I really did mean 粒, not 里.
19
votes
6answers
1k views

How do I decide whether to use 可以, 会 or 能?

According to every dictionary I've seen so far, there is a big overlap in these: 可以 = can, may, be able to 会  = can, be able to, able 能  = can, may, able, capable How do I properly choose which ...
3
votes
5answers
903 views

When to use “他的太太” and when “他太太”?

I've read the two different sentences, of which one uses "他的太太" and the other uses "他太太". How can I tell the difference between the two? For example, in the following sentence: 现在他想他的太太。 现在他想他太太。 ...
2
votes
4answers
195 views

Differences between 凉 and 冷,冻 and 冰

I was wondering whether anyone could tell me if these words are completely interchangable all situations. If not, how am I to discern which to use?
0
votes
1answer
40 views

Unclear expression in Pimsleur 3 “here is a small gift”

In the audio course Pimsleur Mandarin III an expression is taught which you can say when giving someone a gift. The expression itself is unclear to me, which one of these is it? yī diǎnr shǎo yì sī ...
1
vote
2answers
87 views

Getting my eyebrows done = 修眉 (xiū méi); how do I use this?

Getting your eyebrows done is different in China than in the West. In China, it involves shaving (rather than waxing or threading), trimming, and plucking. Consequently, I have been asking for 刮眉毛 (...
8
votes
3answers
384 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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2answers
114 views

What is the difference between 诡异 and 奇诡?

According to Google Translate it is "Strange" and "Strangeness" But I saw a native speaker post "好诡异", which would be "how strangeness?" When would you use one or the other?
2
votes
3answers
161 views

Usage: Spaces in Chinese

I asked a similar question about Japanese here. Chinese names are sometimes stylized last name + space + first name. Here the author's name 马骥 is stylized, last name + space + first name: 马 ...
3
votes
2answers
973 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
229 views

“She” (她) for inanimate objects in Chinese(?)

She in English (as this is the main language of the site) sometimes has the following function: Used in place of it to refer to certain inanimate things, such as ships and nations, ...
2
votes
5answers
170 views

What is the difference between “比照” and “比较”?

I started learning Chinese not too long ago but have come across these expressions (比照 and 比较) when comparing things. I am confused as to whether I'm using it correctly. Would anyone be able to help ...
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3answers
96 views

不比 vs 没有 comparison usage

If my understanding is correct, then: 他没有我高。= he's not as tall as me, i.e. he is shorter. 他不比我高。= he's either as tall as me or shorter, i.e. he's at most as tall as me. Is that correct? If so, in ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

Chinese Speaker

What's the best way to say "Chinese speaker" in Chinese? There are the terms 母语者 and 非母语者; there are 华语学者 and 中国通 and 能说中文的人. None of these terms seems to encapsulate the simple "Chinese speaker," ...
0
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3answers
143 views

What is the Mandarin term for great godparents?

What does my child call my godparents? Do my godparents become "great godparents" now that I have a child, similar to my parents becoming grandparents?
10
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7answers
536 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
124 views

What is the difference between 比如 and 例如

I know both can mean "for example/such as/for instance". They are most likely synonyms but even synonyms have slight subtle differences in precise meaning and usage. I know that 例 can be used alone: (...
1
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1answer
103 views

Km/liter or liter/100km in China? 公里/公升? 公升/100公里?

In America we describe the fuel consumption of a car with miles/gallon. I know in some countries people use liters/100 km. Some countries use km/liter. Which format do Chinese people use, L/100 km or ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Usage: analogically simplified (类推简体) vs. original characters

Are there any (style(?)) guidelines as to using analogically simplified versus its original (traditional(?)) character? Any rules as to using analogically simplified Chinese characters?
1
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3answers
236 views

What is the difference between 只要 and 如果?

What is the difference between these two sentences? 只要明天不下雨,我们就去爬山。 如果明天不下雨,我们就去爬山。 They seem very close in meaning.
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3answers
528 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.
0
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2answers
78 views

钻法律的空子和钻法律的漏洞有差?

我上课时遇到了这两个词, 但我还不太理解这两个有没有差别? 我知道它们在英文里指的都是”loophole“ I'm still not clear on what the difference is between these two! If you could give an example of how to use either, that would be really ...
0
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2answers
99 views

Can 丢 refer to people?

I'm looking for the right word to use in the situation where you are looking after a child and they wander off. In English I would say "I lost my child!" Is 丢 the proper word? Google wants to say "...
2
votes
1answer
101 views

Homonyms in the context of humor or satire

Because my study of Chinese is mostly based on intermediate videos I think I am missing something. Now that I have a sense of the large number of homophones in Chinese, the potential for double-...
3
votes
6answers
230 views

Can I say 没 to negate future events?

I saw this sentence in a book: 明年这个时候你还没有毕业呢 I thought the sentence was wrong at first, but it says the sentence is grammatically correct and that there's nothing wrong with it. As you know, ...
2
votes
4answers
135 views

Are 总是, 平常, 通常, and 经常 all interchangeable?

I've recently started using Glossika to learn Chinese and have noticed that these words are defined differently in their sentences. 总是 - always 经常 - usually 通常 - often From what I understand, they ...
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2answers
86 views

What are the flavors of all those “systems”:系统,体系,制度

All those "systems": 系统, 体系 制度 体制 装置 How one should differentiate between them? I think that 系统 has something to do with unite, gather, tangle flavor. So this word is a bit abstract. Should be ...
2
votes
4answers
221 views

Do I have to include 是 in 你的生日(是)什么时候?

I would like to know if the verb 是 (shi) is optional? 你的生日是什么时候? (Ni de shengri shi shen me shi hou?) 你的生日什么时候? (Ni de shengri shen me shi hou?) Which of those two sentence used more?
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1answer
130 views

Difference between 不得不, 不免 and 必然?

All of these words mean must or inevitable, but is there a difference between them?
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1answer
142 views

Why use 交货 in the sentence?

我们可不可以把有些数量提前到三月交货 Why do we use 交货 here? Can we do without it?
2
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2answers
188 views

What is the function of 是 in this sentence: 你是怎么学习英语的?

Am I right to assume that the question is about the other person's personal method of studying English? And would omitting the 是 make the question more general? (Is this an example for the topic-...
2
votes
5answers
157 views

Is 多早晚 wrong or right

In that site it says 多早晚 means "When". I asked a friend from Singapore, she told me that no one uses that, and it's a mistake. I would like to know if you use it, and in which context. https://...
2
votes
2answers
128 views

In Cantonese, what is a less “childish” way to call one's own parents?

I know the standard ways of calling one's parents—"媽媽/母親" or "爸爸/父親", mother and father respectively, the former more familiar and the latter more formal; or the more familiar/childish way—"媽咪" or "爹哋"...
0
votes
3answers
157 views

What's the difference between 礼仪,惯例,规矩?

In a section of my textbook I recently covered, I came across 3 vocabulary words that are very similar and I'm not sure how and when to use each. From what I understand: 礼仪: protocol/etiquette. The ...
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2answers
130 views

How to use 可爱,properly?

My understanding of the word is "lovable or cute". Can someone give me the context when it might be appropriate to use this term? For example, lots of folks find kittens lovable or cute. A sample ...
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votes
7answers
1k views

Is it correct to say “在手机”?

Would it be correct to use the phrase "在手机”/“在手机上” etc. to express that I am doing something on my phone? For example, could I say 我听音乐在我的手机上。 Or can 在 only be used for my actual physical ...
9
votes
5answers
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 ...
6
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3answers
473 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 ...