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

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3
votes
4answers
342 views

去出回 Where is it appropriate to use each

So these three have always threw me through a loop 去 - Qù - Means to go to a place 出 - Chū - Means to go out 回 - Huí - Means to go back The only case I know to not use 去 (Qù) as a way of going ...
3
votes
4answers
165 views

Difference between 新 and 生?

Until now, I thought 新 meant 'new' in all contexts. In class recently, our tutor showed a slide in which he used 生词 for 'new words'. My dictionary gives the meaning of 生 when used as an adjective as ...
3
votes
3answers
243 views

Is it 說 /说 / shuō or 講 / 讲 / jiǎng for “to speak a language”?

I've realized that I still don't know the way to talk about "speaking a language", for instance the Chinese equivalents to sentences like these: Do you speak English? I can speak a little Chinese. ...
3
votes
4answers
221 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
189 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
123 views

我住宅在一座橋樑 的 附近。Does this sound idiomatic and natural, or stilted and artificial?

I want to convey the idea: My residence is in the neighborhood of a bridge. Initially I got: 我住宅在附近的一座橋樑。 Wǒ zhùzhái zài fùjìn de yīzuò qiáoliáng. But after listening to myself saying that, I think ...
3
votes
3answers
181 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
292 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
177 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
541 views

Different Ways to Say “Hometown”

I have encountered both 老家 and 家乡 for referring to one's hometown. What are the differences? That is: When should each one be used? When should one or the other be avoided? When can they both be ...
3
votes
5answers
142 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
votes
1answer
173 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?
3
votes
2answers
166 views

What is the nuance of 很好?

Beginning textbooks say 很好 means "very good," but soon add that 很 is usually just there to balance the phrase and does not really mean "very" in this context. S.Rhee's comment cites a much fuller ...
3
votes
1answer
201 views

Children's play equipment and 儿童乐园

On the weekend I asked my mother-in-law how to say "children's play equipment" in Chinese, the answer I received was 儿童乐园. I want to get some clarification on this and want someones help on ...
3
votes
1answer
251 views

Difference between 觉得 and 认为

I know both 觉得 and 认为 can be used to mean "to think", like: 你认为这篇文章怎么样? 你觉得这篇文章怎么样? But most people would translate 觉得 to "to feel". Does 觉得 express more of what someone thinks based on ...
3
votes
3answers
317 views

Difference between 而, 但 and 和

和 means 'and', and so does 而. What is the difference between the two. I also know that 而 means 'but', and the second question is what is the difference between 而 and 但. Give me an example sentence, ...
3
votes
1answer
169 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 ...
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, ...
3
votes
1answer
84 views

Why is 情结 used here?

然后该文作者笔锋一转,接着就指出了中国这种民族主义自豪情节的另一个方面. But then, the author of this article accurately points out another aspect of this Chinese nationalistic pride. I thought "自豪" alone is good enough, because it ...
3
votes
2answers
66 views

Help to understand this phrase?

作者首先提到了中国 媒体对于西方世界民主制度的一贯批判手法 The writer first mentions that the Chinese media have always been critical of one thing in the Western World’s democracies. I don't get "一贯批判手法." I suppose it means ...
3
votes
2answers
535 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
94 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?
3
votes
2answers
159 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?
3
votes
3answers
153 views

承認 for confessing admiration

Is 承認 appropriate when describing the following situation? I've known a girl a while and she recently confessed that she liked me. I know "承認" is used for admitting that you have committed a crime or ...
3
votes
4answers
273 views

Refreshing or Rude: addressing an older woman as 小姐

太太,奶奶,大姐,阿姨,女士,and many other variations are commonly used to address older women. 小姐 is used to address young women. Would it be a complement or an insult to address a middle aged or elderly woman as ...
3
votes
2answers
139 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?
3
votes
1answer
212 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
243 views

Differences between 征, 伐, 讨, 侵, 袭?

These characters all mean "to attack" or "to invade", but what are the differences between them? When should one be used and not the others?
3
votes
2answers
293 views

How to address fellow students junior to oneself (学妹,学弟)?

I have sometimes wondered what would be the appropriate way of addressing (fellow) students that are junior to oneself. Given name? Full name? Name + 妹/第? Are there even cases where one can use 哥/兄 ...
3
votes
2answers
198 views

How do you translate “hover over”?

I would like to say something like "Please use your mouse to hover over the attribute icon," but I do not know the Chinese equivalent for "hover over" in terms of technology. Would 停留 be understood, ...
3
votes
2answers
215 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
152 views

What is the difference, if any, between 即使 and 無論?

Is a big difference between 即使 and 無論? I was working on a couple of fill-in-the-blanks exercises and the following sentence came up: 你的畫很有特色,(blank)是畫家也不一定能畫德比你好。 I think the right answer ...
3
votes
4answers
409 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
237 views

你好啊? or 你好吗? Which is more common?

I have recently come across the phrase 你好啊 and I was curious about its usage. It was in the FSI Chinese course with a meaning of 'How are you?', but I have only heard 你好吗 on other courses and when ...
3
votes
2answers
220 views

Differences Between Classes of *过 Verbs ( 通过, 经过, 透过, 穿过, etc. )

Original Question Although 通过 is the goto expression for passage through or across a space in informal, spoken Mandarin, there are specific alternatives used in more formal, spoken Mandarin as well ...
3
votes
1answer
108 views

difference between two words for balance of account

I want to pay off the remainder of my credit card bill. Can someone help me differentiate between 余额 and 尾数 Thanks
3
votes
2answers
111 views

Use of 蓝 (Blue) in a Specific Context?

There is a song sung by William So whose title is 《有人喜欢蓝》 (Yǒurén xǐhuan lán - There are people who like blue.) What does 蓝 (blue) mean in this context? Is it a reference to the sky, sea, a mood, or ...
3
votes
3answers
229 views

In novels, what would be a good english translation for “師祖”?

師祖 As in heads of martial schools, or masters of martial schools. I suppose "founder" can do, but it doesn't sound right. "Elders" is taken by another word, and "master" only seems to work for a ...
3
votes
1answer
36 views

Sect vs School for “宗門”

宗門 In the context of ancient China times, and in a fantasy novel, where people collect disciples for martial arts and whatnot. Would xx sect be better or xx school? Or even xx faction instead of ...
3
votes
2answers
138 views

How to translate “doesn't lift a finger” and “without lifting a finger”?

I recently same across this stumbling block in conversation; in one case I wanted to say "doesn't lift a finger" and in another "without lifting a finger". These phrases mean that someone is extremely ...
3
votes
2answers
90 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
125 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
365 views

What is the meaning of “拜了个拜”?

I heard this phrase from some Chinese-speaking stranger. I assume it's related to farewell since the stranger was waving hand to someone else, but what does it mean exactly? Is there a certain context ...
2
votes
3answers
145 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: ...
2
votes
5answers
236 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!
2
votes
4answers
216 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!
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Various ways of saying OK?

I mean OK as in said in agreement with what someone has suggested. A: We should go to the park. B: OK. If someone used the verb 不 verb structure I would think you should use the same verb in ...
2
votes
5answers
192 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?
2
votes
1answer
134 views

一单字动词,表示给食物过冷水,是哪个字? / a single-character word meaning to submerge food in cold water

北京话里有个单字动词,表示给食物(比如刚煮熟的面条、蔬菜等)过冷水。华北其他地区可能也说。请问这是哪个字?以前经常听人说,现在记不清了。 There is a single-character verb in Beijingese Mandarin, meaning to submerge food (like boiled noodles, vegetables, etc.) in cold ...
2
votes
3answers
589 views

How to ask girl for number?

In my Chinese class we haven't really discussed how to ask people for their number, only business cards "Zhao pian" what would be the proper way to ask a girl for a number? I am thinking "wo keyi you ...