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

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4
votes
5answers
389 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
625 views

What is the status of 什么来的 and 什么来着 in standard and colloquial Mandarin Chinese?

When I first moved to the south of China, I was surprised to hear the phrase "什么来的" used to mean "what," as in  这是什么来的?: "What is this?" As far as I could tell, in many cases there was no ...
5
votes
3answers
367 views

When do you use 唄 instead of 吧 to end a sentence?

I hear a lot of people in mainland China use the former (never from Taiwanese Mandarin) when saying a phrase as a sort of command, but I'm still not sure about why someone would say it.
6
votes
6answers
531 views

What is the difference between 餐馆 and 饭店? Is 饭店 used for restaurant or hotel?

饭店 and 餐馆 can both mean restaurant. My Chinese friend here in Dongguan tells me 饭店 is not commonly used to mean hotel. I want to understand in what contexts both of these words are used. 谢谢.
1
vote
3answers
187 views

時刻 (shíkè) vs 瞬間 (shùnjiān) vs 時候 (shíhòu) for “moment”

As a beginner I'd like to learn the most useful word to express the equivalent to English “moment” meaning “a very brief period of time.” I've found at least three Chinese words and would like to ...
5
votes
6answers
153 views

“醡” and “炸” in “醡醬麵” and “炸醬麵”

I've just noticed that the English Wikipedia gives these spellings for "Zhajiangmian": Simplified Chinese 炸酱面 Traditional Chinese 醡醬麵 Whereas the English Wiktionary gives these: 炸酱面 ...
6
votes
4answers
213 views

What is the difference between 参观 and 游览

What is the difference between 参观 and 游览. I know they have a similar meaning but are distinct in some ways (i.e. you can 参观 some places and 游览 others)?
2
votes
4answers
212 views

Finding the “second character”?

A lot of words in Chinese have been shortened into single-syllable, and thus single-character, words. Often times though these single syllable words are not 'clear' enough in speech, in writing though ...
9
votes
6answers
686 views

被 (bèi) vs. 叫 (jiào) vs. 让 (ràng): regional difference? formality difference?

I know that with a 被 (bèi) sentence, you are allowed omit the object: S + 被 + (O) + Other elements, e.g. 河里的鱼都被毒死了 (Hé lǐ de yú dōu bèi dú sǐ le) whereas, when using 叫 (jiào) or 让 (ràng,) the object ...
5
votes
6answers
952 views

What's the difference between 了解 and 理解?

I've asked some of my Chinese friends what the difference was. Most couldn't explain. Some said that you 了解 people but you 理解 things. What's the difference?
1
vote
3answers
363 views

How to say “totally it was a good day”?

How to say "totally it was a good day"? Can I use 一共 for "totally"? For example: "一共我有了好天"?
1
vote
2answers
152 views

Chinese phrases to encourage better 关系 [closed]

关系 It appears that building strong relationships or guān xì (关系) is very important in Chinese society. Would readers be able to share some scenarios or phrases that would help build such 关系? Similar ...
1
vote
1answer
162 views

Using variants of 那

When to use variations of 那? 那 (nà,nǎ, nèi, núo) has multiple pronunciations. Can someone explain when to use the different sounds? (images courtesy of www.zhongwen.com)
1
vote
1answer
173 views

How and when to consider 面子 when speaking Chinese?

Avoid Losing Face ( 沒面子 ) As a student of Chinese I would like always maintain a respectful tone. It can be very easy when speaking a second language to make mistakes that offend others. I would like ...
3
votes
4answers
306 views

Graceful ways to break away from a conversation

Closing a Conversation I was just in a telephone call with a Chinese person and I attempted to say something like: xiè xiè nín de lái diàn 谢谢您的来电 Had I said this in English, the caller would have ...
1
vote
1answer
230 views

How to say “I got disconnected” and “I'm lagging”?

I'm playing an online game on a Chinese server, and I sometimes get disconnected when the VPN gets congested. When this happens, I have to restart the game and re-enter the map, while the rest of my ...
2
votes
2answers
167 views

Mandarin Equivalent of 啥子树子招啥虫?

Heard 啥子树子招啥虫 used in the same sense as "不是一家人,不进一家门" - I was wondering if there is a similar phrased expression in Mandarin for the first, mentioned, expression.
7
votes
2answers
306 views

What is the difference between these two words 叫做 and 叫作?

What is the difference between these two words 叫做 and 叫作? The dictionary definition is quite similar and when I use this term in conversation I am unaware of which character combination I am using.
5
votes
6answers
320 views

Using 老头 / 老头子 when speaking to others

I'm trying to get some clarification on whether or not it is impolite to use 老头 / 老头子 when speaking outside a group of friends when referring to a third party. From my understanding 老头 is quite ...
1
vote
2answers
86 views

What is the difference between 形成, 构成, 组成, 养成?

According to the dictionary, 成 has meanings of to become or to form, what is the subtle difference between 形成, 构成, 组成 and 养成? Thanks!
7
votes
5answers
277 views

Equivalent expression to: “I don't give a f***”

Is there something in Mandarin like "I don't give a f***", something that expresses the same sense of "I don't care" but with more force.
2
votes
4answers
191 views

Is 帮忙 and 帮助 interchangeable?

I looked up in the dictionary, 帮 means help, and 忙 means busy while 助 also means help, so is 帮忙 (help busy) and 帮助(help help) interchangeable? Or what is the subtle difference between them? Thanks!
8
votes
3answers
404 views

When do I use 确定 versus 决定?

The two words mean approximately the same thing but I find that there is a nuance I'm missing in terms of the appropriate context to use one or the other. How should I think about the difference ...
2
votes
3answers
153 views

What's the English expression that means 感叹词:“坏了”

In Chinese there is a 感叹词:"坏了", means something went unexpected wrong. Example: 坏了,下雨了 坏了,手机忘带了 坏了,迟到了 What are the common English expressions that can express that "astonishing strike"? ...
3
votes
2answers
131 views

Is there any difference between 冰淇淋 and 冰激凌

In what contexts are both used to mean ice-cream? Is one used in more formal occasions?
2
votes
5answers
204 views

What is the difference between 听到、听过 and 听说?

There are 3 听 (hear or listen to), what is the difference between 听到、听过 and 听说?Thanks!
10
votes
4answers
648 views

Confusion about bian 邊 and miàn 面

I'm having a little trouble with learning directions and positions. It seems that most often the word bian is being used to indicate a position: front side 前邊, back side 後邊, etc. But then I see stuff ...
2
votes
1answer
173 views

What is the difference between 突然 and 忽然?

They both have sudden meaning, but what is subtle difference between 突然 and 忽然?Thanks!
3
votes
3answers
1k views

In what instances can use you use 干嘛 over 干吗 (and vice versa)?

I noticed that 干嘛 appears used in various forms of media, such as newspapers, magazines, and movie subtitles. From a pronunciation standpoint, 嘛 and 吗 are different (neutral tone vs. second tone, ...
4
votes
2answers
100 views

Which “if” is appropriate for what situations

As a follow up to "What is the difference between 假如 and 例如?" I've become unclear on the use of the if statement in Chinese. For the most part I would use 如果 as an if statement when ever it's ...
8
votes
2answers
170 views

What is the difference between 有名,著名 and 闻名?

We know 名 means name or famous, what is the subtle difference between 有名,著名 and 闻名? Thanks!
1
vote
2answers
111 views

What is the difference between 差别, 分别, and 区别?

All of them can mean difference. Are all of them interchangeable when used to mean 'difference?'
4
votes
1answer
267 views

What is the difference between 变成、变化、变得、改变、转变?

There are five 变 here, so what is the difference between 变成、变化、变得、改变、转变? Thanks!
5
votes
2answers
404 views

Difference between 别 and 不

I know that a typical way to negate a verb is to stick 不 in front of it. But I learned some phrases that use 别 instead: 别担心, 别客气 and so on, all of them in short polite fixed phrases. I know that I ...
3
votes
1answer
330 views

Is there a difference between 担心 (dānxīn) and 着急 (zháojí)?

They're both verbs, they both have meanings "to worry, to be anxious", they both seem to be able to be used as adjectives also. I just want to know if there's any difference: is one used more in ...
2
votes
3answers
131 views

Difference between 成员 and 会员?

Is there any difference between 成员 and 会员? Both mean member. I encountered this in a Level 2 Chinese workbook. Are they used in different contexts?
3
votes
7answers
476 views

Is 其他人 any different from 别的人?

I guess the question could also be, is 其他 any different from 别的? Is one any more formal, any more slang, any more rude, anything of the sort, than the other? Or are they essentially the same? ...
1
vote
4answers
226 views

differentiation of 交女朋友 vs 找女朋友

For some reason i have these two muddled in my head. Presumably cause they sound similar. Is it possible to 找了女朋友? or does it have to be 交了女朋友 can it be 找着了女朋友? Can someone clear this up for me. ...
1
vote
5answers
274 views

Better ways to translate 积极?

Alright before I get a bunch of crappy answers saying things like: > postive > active > energetic > vigorous > proactive I just want to say these are not the words -or- phrases ...
4
votes
2answers
497 views

Is there a most usual way to say “hand sanitizer” in Chinese?

I'm finding in the non-touristy places in China where I'm spending my time in cheaper places etc that there's often no place to wash your hands, or it's dirty, or there's no soap. I've been ...
2
votes
1answer
142 views

Can we omit subject or some verbs in Chinese?

Could you tell me if we can omit subjects or some verbs in Conversational Chinese? Like these. 叫什么名字? jiào shénme míngzì? What is your name? 什么? jiào shénme? What is your name? 叫 A. ...
10
votes
3answers
971 views

What is the difference between yǐqián (以前) and zhīqián (之前)?

I'd like to have some way to differentiate between yǐqián (以前) and zhīqián (之前), in order to help with memorising them both. Referring to Modern Mandarin Grammar (Claudia Ross, Routledge 2006), it ...
3
votes
1answer
159 views

Say go team in Chinese?

Normally I would say 加油. On my city's news page this morning, they asked 10 people how to say "Go Syracuse (雪城)". There's a video of two men debating what to say, and then they say something like 雪城 ...
5
votes
5answers
261 views

Differences between the two words for each season, such as 冬季 (dōngjì) and 冬天 (dōngtiān)

There seem to be two words for each season. Each pair has the first character in common but for the second character one will have 季 (jì) and the other will have 冬天 (tiān). For example "winter" is: ...
2
votes
5answers
276 views

How do you idiomatically transate 你这个人?

I was typing something in Chinese to a friend including 你这人 (or 你这个人), when I realized that I didn't have a good interpretation of it in English. It just feels like the sort of thing you say to ...
3
votes
4answers
289 views

Tonal difference between 浪费 and 糟蹋

Both 浪费 and 糟蹋 mean "to waste." (I'm not really concerned with the other uses of 糟蹋 right now.) I've seen the collocations 糟蹋粮食 and 糟蹋人才, and 浪费 is very common in phrases like 浪费时间 and 浪费水. Are ...
6
votes
3answers
507 views

When would one use 临时 versus 及时?

Recently I read the following dialogue: A: 今天有转校生要来吗? B: 听说是这样,好象是临时决定的,所以才没有及时通知我们。 As I was trying to make out what they were saying, I noticed that 临时 and 及时 have similar meanings. The ...
2
votes
3answers
532 views

Names of extended family members

In 闽南话/Hokkien (and 启海话, and possibly all dialects) when we call our uncles and aunties we call them by the order of their age and whether they're on our father's or mother's sides, and the ...
7
votes
6answers
404 views

What are the differences between 男女, 公母, and 雄雌?

In what situations would you use one of the following instead of the others? 男女 nán nǚ 公母 gōng mǔ 雄雌 xióng cí Is it a matter of formality or is each term confined to a particular ...
6
votes
3answers
237 views

What's the difference between 蝦 and 鰕?

I found there are two characters for "xia1" (ghra as in Middle Chinese), 蝦 and 鰕. Could someone explain what the difference is?