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

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4
votes
2answers
278 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
139 views

What are appropriate objects of 制作?

My dictionary, along with many websites I've checked translates 制作 as to make to manufacture What sorts of things may I 制作? The second definition of "manufacture" leads me to believe that, for ...
2
votes
2answers
160 views

What is the difference between 起码 and 至少?

nciku.com states that 起码 is an adjective meaning "minimum" and 至少 is an adverb meaning at least; but the examples seem to use both words interchangeably. Is one more colloquial than the other? Or is ...
1
vote
2answers
211 views

Is '明天你都六点起床不起床?' a correct question?

I want to ask: Will you wake at 6:00 tomorrow?
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Differentiate 不错 and 没错 in these situations [duplicate]

I have been having problems knowing when to use either 不错 or 没错. I think 不错 means 'great'; and 没错 means no mistake. Which should be used to: (a) praise somebody's work? (b) indicate nothing wrong ...
3
votes
3answers
169 views

How can I express the concept “There's nothing of which I'm absolutely sure” in Chinese?

Scientists and philosophers have at various times been quoted as saying: "There's nothing of which I'm absolutely sure" or "I'm not absolutely sure of anything". (Richard Feynman, for example.) How ...
1
vote
2answers
388 views

Politeness in Mandarin

I like to say please sometimes when I want to be polite to someone when asking them for something. Is this customary in Mandarin? For example, if I wanted to ask for some water, I might ask my ...
1
vote
1answer
92 views

Included or Not Included As In “以後” “以來”, etc

Check out the references below, we see that Japanese has the same problem as Chinese: Does "以X" include the word itself, eg. is 1 included in "1以上"? As what I have seen, in old Chinese books, there ...
0
votes
1answer
109 views

how to translate 大脑迅速转动起来? [closed]

When I first came across the phrase "head starts spinning", I thought it meant 大脑迅速转动起来 in Chinese, which means "you start processing a lot info in your head in order to figure out something quickly". ...
6
votes
6answers
402 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.
4
votes
3answers
430 views

Translating the idiom “thinking outside the box”

I normally hate overused catchphrases in English, like "paradigm shift" and "out of the box thinking". But I was recently chatting (in Chinese) with a friend about an earlier situation in which ...
3
votes
5answers
242 views

Proper translation of the word “confidence”

What would be the proper way of translating I don't have confidence in myself to dance on stage. I understand that this isn't a translation service, but my difficulty arises from the many ...
2
votes
3answers
206 views

Translating the word “feelings” for conversational use

When I look for a dictionary translation of "feelings", I see two translations: 情怀 and 情面. Which of these two would be better suited to translate the following sentence The woman rhetorically ...
5
votes
3answers
219 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?
6
votes
1answer
134 views

馅饼 in Cantonese

In the Dim Sum place I usually go to (in the U.S), they call the pan-fried bun stuffed with Chinese chive and shrimp 韭菜馅饼. I came from Northern China and the shape and size of that bun are, by any ...
6
votes
2answers
98 views

How to use 凭 as a preposition

I understand 凭 as a verb to mean rely. But I often read it and the seemingly related 凭着 in familiar contexts but still do not know what function it serves. Seeing example sentences doesn't make it any ...
5
votes
4answers
382 views

Difference between 喜乐 and 快乐?

Dictionaries lead me to understand 快乐 as happy. Whereas 喜乐 as delighted, happiness, joy. In English joy denotes a stronger, deeper emotion. Is the difference in meanings of 快乐 and 喜乐 great enough to ...
2
votes
4answers
315 views

Expressing “Fair enough”

The English expression "fair enough" can be used to concede a point in an argument, or acknowledge the other person's position, without expressing complete agreement. To take an example from ...
5
votes
2answers
250 views

Errors and Unnatural Language in a Translation Challenge

I was recently challenged to translate the following sentence from English into Chinese: You should stay away from that bar. A friend of mine went there before, and he ended up in the hospital after ...
8
votes
2answers
302 views

Difference between 许多 and 很多

What's the difference between 许多 and 很多? For example, in this sentence I found on Jukuu both terms are used: After years of teaching, I have many memories to dwell on in idle moments. ...
7
votes
4answers
472 views

Difference between 合适 and 适合

Both 合适 and 适合 mean to fit/to suit. I know the grammatical form needed for each one is different: 在这个情况下,你在穿的衣服就不合适。 我在找一个适合我的女孩子。 Aside of that, I have been told they cannot be used ...
8
votes
7answers
505 views

What is the difference between using 光 vs using 只?

What is the gramatical difference between 光 and 只? 光剩下2毛钱 does not have the same meaning/context as 只剩下2毛钱 It seems there is more emphasis to the part that comes after 光. When is the right time to ...
3
votes
2answers
313 views

What are the corresponding titles for “Dr.” (in the sense of MD and PhD) in Chinese?

The prefix Dr. in English refers to both medical doctors, and PhD graduates. What are the correct titles for these in Chinese? I believe that 医生 is correct to use as a title for a medical doctor, but ...
5
votes
4answers
205 views

For all I know

There is an expression in English: "For all I know, ...." The following clause often has a modal expressing uncertainty or the hypothetical nature of the assertion, like "might", "may", "could", ...
3
votes
1answer
89 views

What are the differences between the different words for mammoth? 猛犸和毛象有什么区别?

I often pick up relatively esoteric animal names, and I got looking at mammoths one day... I found two words for mammoth: 猛犸 and 毛象. What is the difference between these two words?
2
votes
3answers
212 views

How to say incoming president (国家主席)?

Strangely the Wikipedia article for president 中华人民共和国主席 doesn't mention 习近平 anywhere. I also asked my mother in law just now if she spotted any articles where it mentions him as the incoming ...
5
votes
1answer
235 views

When is it appropriate to use 亲爱的?

In English it perfectly fine in a business context and for someone you have never met before to use Dear XXXX at the beginning of a letter or email. This causes some difficulty when moving to another ...
6
votes
3answers
310 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
346 views

Can I use 我的腿累了 for “My legs are tired”?

I play soccer with a bunch of Chinese friends regularly and I want to say "my legs are tired". I already know 我跑不动了 and 我的腿很酸, but I'm not sure what is the best fit for the Chinese equivelant of "my ...
2
votes
1answer
139 views

How to say “I live at the bottom of a hill”?

I've only ever people say something like 我住在山坡上 but to me 山坡 sounds like the side of a mountain. Google translate gives me 我住在山脚下. In English we use, I live at the bottom of a hill, not I live at the ...
6
votes
2answers
188 views

What's the difference between 証 and 證?

I realized 证 could be 証 and 證. Is there any difference between them?
8
votes
5answers
223 views

What are some ways that I can be self-deprecating about my Chinese speaking ability?

I live in an area where there are many Chinese so I get plenty of opportunity to use my language skills including shopping, eating at restaurants and meeting new people. The Chinese people I meet are ...
9
votes
5answers
551 views

Translation for “sorry” as in “I am sorry to hear that”?

In English we can say "sorry" as an abbreviation for "I am sorry to hear that"/"I feel sorry for you" to express sympathy. Is there a Chinese word or phrase that bears the same meaning? I know one ...
5
votes
2answers
313 views

“If you say so”: Dismissive agreement

I would like to know some ways to agree in a non-committal or dismissive way. For instance, in English, we have: If you say so. Is that so? (with a flat intonation) Really? (flat ...
2
votes
1answer
135 views

Chinese equivalent of the English word candid

I was just reading this news article and I'm interested to know which word or phrase would have been translated from Chinese to English as "candid": China's foreign ministry described Tuesday's ...
8
votes
2answers
339 views

Difference between 接受 and 接收

The first one (接受 jiēshòu) seems far more general and frequent: 我接受邀请。 I accepted the invitation. 他将接受口试。 He will take an oral examination. 他拒绝接受治疗。 He refused treatment. The second one (接收 ...
5
votes
6answers
701 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?
9
votes
3answers
654 views

Difference between 与,和 and 跟?

Do the following three sentences mean the same thing, that is, can they be used interchangeably? 她的父母就来我们家与我的家人见面了。 她的父母就来我们家和我的家人见面了。 她的父母就来我们家跟我的家人见面了。
4
votes
4answers
204 views

What's an appropriate conversational response to 这是什么?

In English, if someone points to a book and says "What's that?", "A book" is a sufficient reply. In Chinese, if someone points to a book and says "这是什么?", can you say "书" or maybe "一本书"? What's the ...
3
votes
4answers
277 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
354 views

Can 下次 mean “again”?

I found a sentence on tatoeba that isn't quite the translation I would expect. I will not do it again. Is translated as... 下次我不做了。 I checked mdbg.net to be sure, and 下次 is only translated ...
2
votes
2answers
163 views

Does 外行的想法 mean “rookie mistake”?

I found this sentence and its translation on tatoeba.org. Is there a better way to translate it into English? 這是外行的想法。 That's a layman's idea. I looked up 外行, and it does mean amateur or ...
5
votes
2answers
245 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
139 views

How do you say “preferences” as opposed to “demands”?

I encounter many situations where I want to ask someone what they would like as opposed to what they need. For example, I wanted to find a restaurant for our class to have an end of the semester ...
3
votes
1answer
160 views

What's the difference between “问一下”,“查询”, “询问”?

In the context of phone conversations with vendors I often default to either: 我想问一下… 请问… I'm looking for a possibly more appropriate way to address someone in this context. Would it be appropriate ...
2
votes
1answer
122 views

(Literally) Seeing Through Things

Earlier today, I ended up in a discussion which somehow involved people who were (literally) transparent. I was somewhat at a loss for how to say "Can you see through him?". After some research, I've ...
2
votes
2answers
232 views

How to describe a puppet show

I want to describe a puppet show we saw. It was in a theatre and performed by professional puppeteers. I found three terms for puppet: 人形, 木偶, and 傀儡. I couldn't find anything for puppeteer. Here's ...
3
votes
3answers
673 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, ...
3
votes
1answer
147 views

Example of using 吧 in conversation

My textbook explains that 吧 is a modal particle, but I'm not a linguist and the "modal particle" article on Wikipedia didn't help. Can you give examples of using 吧 in conversation?
4
votes
3answers
233 views

Questions ending with 么

I was chatting online with a Chinese person and he sometimes added 么 at the end of questions: 你觉得汉语难么? 是因为声调掌握不好么? Can 么 and 吗 be used interchangeably? Do they have the exact same meaning?