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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

4
votes
3answers
255 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?
4
votes
2answers
314 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 ...
4
votes
7answers
318 views

不得不, 必须, 只好, 应该: what's the difference?

This is what I'm thinking: 不得不 pm. "cannot but, have to" this seems colloquial, and the fact that dictionaries think of this as a set phrase/fixed expression makes me think so. Also feels like ...
4
votes
1answer
247 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 , ...
4
votes
2answers
255 views

What's the difference between 不停 and 不斷?

What's the difference between 不停 and 不斷 (不断) ? Both mean incessant or unceasing. According to what I know, 不停 is an adverb, while 不斷 (不断) can be an adverb or adjective. However, this sentence seems ...
3
votes
6answers
194 views

How should a professor address a woman student?

Several answers on this site suggest addressing a woman as 大姐 but that seems wrong for a professor speaking to a woman student. To be clear, by professor here I mean a university professor speaking ...
3
votes
2answers
178 views

Difference between 清水, 淡水 and 自来水

My main aim is to try and find the best word to use when describing a freshwater lake. But what if any is the difference between the following: 清水, 淡水 and 自来水
3
votes
4answers
281 views

What is the polite/proper way to address elderly whom I am not familiar with?

I was wondering what is the polite way to address elderlies I do not know. Take the following context for example. Perhaps I visit a store and there is an elderly woman running the register and I ...
3
votes
4answers
367 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
341 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!
3
votes
5answers
490 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 ...
3
votes
7answers
371 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
262 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!
3
votes
7answers
603 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? ...
3
votes
4answers
340 views

What is the difference between 课 and 班级?

Is there any difference between 课 and 班级? As far as I know, both mean class in school. Some of example sentences I read are below: 这个班级上数学课的时候用计算机 他正在准备历史课的作业 这是一个高中的班级 他们正在上法语课 我的班级是在学习念英文 我想要教画画课 ...
3
votes
5answers
369 views

What is the difference between 列车 and 火车

What is the difference between these two words? Both mean train. Is there any difference? Are they used in different regions?
3
votes
4answers
385 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
3answers
301 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
3answers
190 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
7answers
212 views

和 or 或? When to use “and”s and “or”s

A very short, isolated question: No hopes or dreams In English, it's very clear that this is "neither hopes nor dreams" i.e. there are no hopes, and also no dreams. In Chinese, which word, 和 or ...
3
votes
4answers
230 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
213 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
125 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
4answers
300 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
204 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
674 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
145 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
193 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
3answers
204 views

How do you say “rock a baby to sleep” in Chinese?

当一个小儿子在哭泣而妈妈为了让他睡觉就拿他上来而用胳膊轻轻的动他,这用汉语叫什么? When a young child is crying and the mother in order to make him sleep takes him up and gently move him with her arms, what do you call that in Chinese? PS ...
3
votes
1answer
296 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
288 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
369 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
176 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
4answers
2k 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
228 views

How to say when a university was established

Chinese universities can use 建立于1926年 or 创立于1926年 or 创办于1926年to say "established in 1926." Are there significant differences between these? Also, is there any standard short form comparable to the ...
3
votes
1answer
86 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
70 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
4answers
320 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
1answer
98 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
167 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
2answers
209 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
242 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
157 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
453 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
117 views

Why is 的 used with 是 sometimes to answer in the affirmative? As in 是的

I've seen 是的 used multiple times as a "yes" answer to a question. As in the following interaction: A: 这只猫是你的吗? B: 是的。 How is it different than just 是 by itself? Thanks!
3
votes
3answers
313 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
243 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
112 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
121 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
242 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 ...