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

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3
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2answers
105 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
1answer
110 views

Differences Between 通过, 经过, 透过, 穿过, etc

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 as in writing. This ...
3
votes
2answers
127 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
86 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
110 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
3answers
116 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
4answers
168 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
608 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
3answers
124 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?
2
votes
5answers
266 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
224 views

Difference of 不可. 不要. and 别

In Chinese, 不可, 不要, and 别 can all mean "don't". I am wondering about the differences between them. For example these sentences: 1. 不可吃。 2 别哭了。 3 你不要打扰!
2
votes
2answers
164 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
138 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
1answer
151 views

Are there any differences between these Chinese terms for “French fries” / (hot) “chips”?

I just felt like some French fries for the first time since I've been in China so I bought some from a Dico's here in Zhangjiakou. I ordered by pointing at the menu becuase I'm just beginning at ...
2
votes
3answers
208 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
117 views

Ways to say “more”

I know a few ways to say "more" or "in addition", and I'm wondering which to use when translating this sentence. I came across the following English sentence and its Chinese translation on ...
2
votes
3answers
131 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"? ...
2
votes
1answer
129 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!
2
votes
3answers
195 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. ...
2
votes
3answers
215 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
204 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
116 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. ...
2
votes
3answers
204 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 ...
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
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
3answers
107 views

What is the difference between 演奏, 弹 and 奏?

There are several words that seem to be related to playing musical instruments (specifically 演奏, 弹 and 奏), and I would appreciate an elaboration on the nuances between them. Are some used in specific ...
2
votes
1answer
90 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
136 views

Correct use of 惹人心烦

I am not sure if I used the idiom 惹人心烦 correctly. This is the sentence I used, 好啊,然而我不要惹人心烦。 Would that be a good use of it or is there a better way of saying you don't want to be a pain in the neck ...
2
votes
2answers
129 views

Which term and which counter to use when ordering simple meals?

When ordering food at a cheap simple eatery in China, which words with which counters should I use that would be something vaguely like English "serve", "serving", "helping", "plate", "bowl". For ...
2
votes
3answers
292 views

When can I use 透?

I came across these sentences 我浑身都湿透了。 这些芒果熟透了。 And MDBG lists these: 坏透,烂透,恨透,干透。 Should 透 only be used with these adjectives?
2
votes
2answers
241 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
319 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
129 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
166 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.
2
votes
3answers
436 views

Is there a Chinese equivelant of the word stress

I don't remember hearing anyone use an equivalent of "stress" or "stressed" in a conversation, what I usually here is something like 压力很大 which in English would translate roughly to "I have a lot of ...
2
votes
2answers
166 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
136 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
128 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
144 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
145 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
240 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
76 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?
2
votes
1answer
50 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
113 views

What is the difference between 很 + adjective and adjective + 得很

Since learning the adjective + 得很 rule I have only seen it once in writing with a two syllable adjective。 What are the differences in register and/or meaning between 很 + adjective and adjective+得很?
2
votes
1answer
144 views

What is the purpose of 制 in this sentence 夏时制开始

Just received this in a message from a friend trying to determine what time we meet this coming Sunday. 星期天几点开踢? 夏时制开始 Daylight savings starts early this Sunday at 2am. So what is the purpose ...
1
vote
4answers
127 views

Can 窝 be used for grouping any zodiac animal?

I have heard the saying 一窝猪 Yī wō zhū when describing a family or group of people who are all 属猪 (have pig as their zodiac sign). Is this something that can be applied to other animals e.g. 一窝龙 or ...
1
vote
4answers
306 views

How to say “I can't help but…”

From a lesson in a Chinese text book was the following sentence: 他不由得哭 (Tā bùyóude kū) He could not help but cry I've never heard 不由得 used in a sentence, and I want to know if it is common and ...
1
vote
5answers
139 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!
1
vote
3answers
149 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
4answers
147 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 ...