Questions about what word fits better in a certain context or situation.

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1
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1answer
83 views

When to use 这道 for “this kind”

The answer at http://chinese.stackexchange.com/posts/9675/revisions offers "这道菜" to say "this kind of food". This looks like a very useful phrase, which I had not seen before (and if I've heard it, ...
7
votes
4answers
831 views

What is the Difference Between 方法 and 办法?

Both have comparable definitions of "method", "manner", "means", etc. and describe or define a way of doing something. The phrase 没(有)办法 is often used to deflect responsibility by claiming ...
7
votes
3answers
780 views

How to say “giving someone the benefit of the doubt” in Chinese?

This expression connotes that one is willing to not insist on accusing someone of a mistake despite most evidence pointing to that someone as being responsible. As in a legal proceeding where the jury ...
6
votes
4answers
726 views

Can I use "我知道“ to say I know some kind of food?

There are kinds of foods, such as malaxiangguo, that people often suspect a foreigner will not know and will not like. I can say "我吃麻辣香锅" (wo chi malaxiangguo). Is that the best thing to say? And I ...
1
vote
4answers
180 views

When can 尔 (er3) be used instead of 你 (ni3)?

I got a letter from a new penfriend in Hong Kong, written in 普通花. I think their first language is Cantonese. Mostly the letter uses simplified characters, with the occasional traditional one. It ...
5
votes
3answers
454 views

What's the difference between 江 and 河?

My daily newsletter contained the following sentence: 长江是中国最长的河。 According to the dictionary, 江 and 河 both mean "river", but they seem to be used differently. Am I right in assuming that 长河是中国最长的江 ...
4
votes
1answer
138 views

Explanation usage of 得 and 地 [duplicate]

Can someone explain me exactly when I have to use these two words? They are both pronunced "de", but I found some difficulties understanding why should I use 得 (or shouldn‘t) in some senteceses. 地 , ...
8
votes
4answers
209 views

Why 又 is used there instead of 再?

In this dialogue: A: 现在恢复得怎么样了? B: 没问题了,又可以爬山了。 Why is 又 used there and not 再? As far as I know (I might be wrong), both 再 and 又 are used for describing recurring actions, but 又 refers to ...
1
vote
1answer
310 views

I'm sorry I don't understand

I have a series of useful phrases from Jukuu, that assist learners in developing conversations and learning new word/phrases. Which of these would be more appropriate for talking to a stranger? Would ...
4
votes
2answers
108 views

How to express: Get

I struggle with how to translate (generally informal) sentences containing the word "get." It seems that sometimes you can use 拿, or even 带, but for some reason it feels wrong, or that this is not ...
2
votes
3answers
144 views

Difference: 帘 vs. 帷?

Came across the character 帷 for the first time the other day, in the word 窗帷. Oxford, KEY and Adstrotrans define 帷, simply, as: curtain ABC and A Chinese-English Dictionary define it as a: ...
6
votes
5answers
784 views

Should one write “妳好" when addressing a female?

With traditional Chinese characters it is correct and proper to address a female as “妳”. If I have a simple question, I think it's clear I should use the female form. 妳最近好嗎? But to say "hello", ...
4
votes
3answers
227 views

How to exclude an ingredient when ordering food?

I know I can order food using phrases like 我(想)要/请给我一份... But how would I exclude an ingredient, e.g. if I don't like garlic? 我要一份青椒肚片无大蒜。 我要一份青椒肚片不要大蒜。 我要一份青椒肚片没有大蒜。 Would any of those be ...
1
vote
3answers
96 views

How to express this idea in a better way?

I'd like to say something like "...but my heart belongs to Hong Kong" as a possible response to "where do you live?" So the full context might be "I live in X but my heart belongs to Hong Kong". ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

What am I going to do with you?

There is an expression in English of sort of dramatic frustration, but in a very familiar, and almost endearing way. So, for example, if your girlfriend/boyfriend does something that is kind of ...
5
votes
1answer
98 views

Which of these words for “to carry” are actually used?

I compiled a list of different words for what we in English generally would translate to "to carry". Now, the fact that I found them doesn't necessarily mean that they are actually in common usage ...
14
votes
6answers
638 views

Difference between 如果 and 要是?

In the Pimsleur Mandarin course it uses 如果 (rúguǒ) to mean 'if', but the dictionary shows 要是 (yàoshì) to have a similar meaning: 如果: if; in case; in the event that 要是: if Are there any ...
8
votes
3answers
699 views

What is the difference between 免费 and 无偿?

I'm trying to sort out the difference between 免费 and 无偿 as adverbs. Would you say 水果店的老板免费送了我六个苹果。 or would it be 无偿送了?
4
votes
4answers
137 views

How to express: I wish…

大家好! I had a question that I have often asked my native-Chinese speaking friends, but I have not been satisfied with the answer. In English, I find myself often saying, "I wish..." For example: I ...
2
votes
5answers
176 views

difference between 为难 and 矛盾?

Recently, I ran into the word "为难“ which means roughly that someone is in a dilemma/is having difficulty deciding . The sentences that was used as an example was 离开还是留下, 他很为难。 Could some explain ...
2
votes
5answers
117 views

凤毛麟角 - How to use?

I think that the 成语 "凤毛麟角" is pretty awesome, and I would like to learn how to use it. Could you please help me? My teacher said I could use it to describe a person who is truly unique, but when I ...
10
votes
3answers
244 views

When not to use 厕所 when asking for the toilet?

I've noticed sometimes in polite company or in the company of strangers some people will saying they are going to wash their hands 去洗手 (qù xǐshǒu) instead of going to the toilet 去上厕所 (qù shàng cèsuǒ). ...
4
votes
2answers
390 views

Is there a single word for “無用”

I wish to know is there in Chinese language a single word for "無用"?
12
votes
5answers
802 views

How widespread is the use of 妳?

When addressing a female, do I have to use 妳 instead of 你? How common is the usage of 妳?
4
votes
3answers
174 views

Difference between 继续 and 接着

I learned 接着 a while ago, and the CEDICT definition is as follows: to catch and hold on / to continue / to go on to do sth / to follow / to carry on / then / after that / subsequently / to proceed ...
5
votes
2answers
131 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?
4
votes
2answers
350 views

一起 vs 一块 - what's the difference?

一起 vs 一块, are these two expressions the same in Chinese, or is there a certain situation where one is more appropriate than the other? Can anyone explain what the difference might be? For example: ...
3
votes
4answers
207 views

成语 or expression for perservering

I am looking for an expression (maybe a 成语) which can describe the idea of, "I know I have a long way to go, but if I keep trying, I can succeed." For example, "我的发音还差得远,可是" Meaning, "My ...
9
votes
2answers
145 views

Beginning of the week / end of the week

It is possible to say: 三月初 (the beginning of March) 三月底 (the end of March) Example: 我三月底要回国 You can also refer to: 年初 and 年底 But is there something you can use to convey the beginning or end of ...
3
votes
2answers
88 views

Correct word to use for a suburban fence?

What should I be using to describe a suburban fence? Here is an image of what I am trying to find the right word for: Author: Greg O'Beirne - source I guess I might go with 篱笆 or 栏杆. Could I get ...
6
votes
3answers
380 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。 ...
3
votes
4answers
352 views

Correct terms for a roadside gutter and gutter on a roof

What is the correct terms for both a roadside gutter and a gutter on a roof? For the sake of making me look bad, my guess would be 水沟 but I've seen that applied to a large canal so I'm not sure if it ...
2
votes
1answer
94 views

What are the uses of 什会 and from which area?

In restaurants in Australia we quite often have Chinese dishes which are combination for example Combination Satay or Combination Fried Rice. These contain several types of meat as opposed to ...
3
votes
2answers
158 views

Why can't 了 be used to complement 到?

I have been taught that the sentence 我刚到了 (wǒ gāng dào le) is not correct because 了 cannot be used as a complement of 到. Is this right? If so, why?
9
votes
2answers
167 views

Using 一样 instead of 同一 for “the same school”

In my study software, I recently had the following sentence: 我想我们会上一样的学校. The context (a girl speaking to another girl who had just moved into the neighborhood) made it seem like the correct ...
19
votes
6answers
1k views

How polite is too polite?

I've noticed in China that people don't tend to use as many 'polite' words as we do in western languages, like 'please' or 'thank you'. I want to make it clear that I'm not complaining about this; I ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

Is 搏杀 used in jest in this sentence?

In December, I read this in a social network post: 今年剩下一个星期了,继续努力搏杀! In English slang, one might say "killing it" to mean performing well. Is this use of 搏杀 figurative, literal, or humorous?
6
votes
3answers
472 views

Writing “Please Recycle” in Mandarin

How can one write "Please Recycle" in the context of an office paper room? I have tried: 请回收利用 but my friend says this is only for recycling batteries.
15
votes
2answers
725 views

How do I decide whether to use 還是/还是 or 或者

還是/还是 (háishì) and 或者 (huòzhě) seem to have very similar meanings: 還是/还是: or; still; nevertheless 或者: or; possibly; maybe When I want to say 'or', how to I choose which to use, and are ...
8
votes
3answers
447 views

Difference between 想 and 要?

I know both of them mean "want to" but have usage in differente contexts. When should I use each one? For example: 我要厺上海市 and 我想厺上海市 What's the difference in the meaning between them? Also, ...
5
votes
1answer
762 views

Use of Honorifics

In Chinese films I've often heard characters refer to each other using some of these honorifics: 大姐 dàjiě (big sister; auntie) 大哥 dàgē (big brother) 师傅 shīfù (master) In what kind of ...
5
votes
2answers
88 views

Do 衣服 and 衣饰 carry different connotations or are they synonyms?

衣服 and 衣饰 both mean "clothing"; but are they truly synonymous or is the use of each term confined to its own specific context? Or is it simply a difference between colloquial and formal speech or ...
2
votes
3answers
138 views

Which tone is it (in pinyin)?

Following on from this question Asking "what's the pinyin/character for X?". I've had difficulty previously asking native speakers which tone I should use for a particular character if ...
5
votes
4answers
159 views

Differences between 蝉 and 知了?

What are the main differences between 蝉 (chán) and 知了 (zhīliǎo) both meaning cicada. Do they both refer to the same species? Will either saying be understood by the majority of native speakers? Is ...
7
votes
2answers
280 views

What's the difference between 房子 and 屋?

It seems like "house" is usually translated as 房子 (fáng zi) in standard Chinese, although 屋 (wū) is also a common translation, especially in Cantonese. Is there a difference between the two? When ...
9
votes
1answer
96 views

Chinese for “vote-up”, “vote-down” and “vote to close”

What are the correct Chinese words to use for the following: Vote-up Vote-down Vote to close I assume these will have been included in certain social platforms in China.
7
votes
3answers
764 views

How to Say the “something” in the phrase “Do something”

I was trying to explain the meaning of the phrase "hang out" to a Chinese friend, and the first thing that came to mind was 一起做什么了, with me intending 什么了 to mean "something". He seemed to understand ...
9
votes
4answers
274 views

Difference between 对 and 双

For a pair of rabbits there is: 一对兔 yī duì tù And for a pair of shoes there is: 一双鞋 yī shuāng xié And for twins there is: 双胞胎 shuāngbāotāi How can I be sure when to use 对 and when to ...
14
votes
12answers
2k views

Is there a difference between 愿意 and 肯?

Is there a difference between 愿意 and 肯 in the following sentence? Are you willing to go to China for work? 你愿不愿意去中国工作? or 你肯不肯去中国工作?
4
votes
5answers
388 views

What is the most common way to say 'indecisive' in Mandarin?

I have heard a range of different terms meaning 'indecisive' in Chinese - I'm not sure if they were in dialect, or there are several options for saying it in Mandarin, and so I'm curious to learn what ...