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

learn more… | top users | synonyms

2
votes
4answers
62 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
195 views

When not to use 厕所 when asking for the toilet?

I've noticed sometimes in polite company or in the company of strangers some people will saying they are going to wash their hands 去洗手 (qù xǐshǒu) instead of going to the toilet 去上厕所 (qù shàng cèsuǒ). ...
4
votes
2answers
330 views

Is there a single word for “無用”

I wish to know is there in Chinese language a single word for "無用"?
11
votes
5answers
557 views

How widespread is the use of 妳?

When addressing a female, do I have to use 妳 instead of 你? How common is the usage of 妳?
4
votes
3answers
155 views

Difference between 继续 and 接着

I learned 接着 a while ago, and the CEDICT definition is as follows: to catch and hold on / to continue / to go on to do sth / to follow / to carry on / then / after that / subsequently / to proceed ...
5
votes
2answers
114 views

Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big?

Does one imply a much greater frequency? What about register? Is the difference between and saying 有时 and 会偶尔 very big, or is it in all cases quite close?
11
votes
5answers
375 views

Difference between 如果 and 要是?

In the Pimsleur Mandarin course it uses 如果 (rúguǒ) to mean 'if', but the dictionary shows 要是 (yàoshì) to have a similar meaning: 如果: if; in case; in the event that 要是: if Are there any ...
4
votes
2answers
276 views

一起 vs 一块 - what's the difference?

一起 vs 一块, are these two expressions the same in Chinese, or is there a certain situation where one is more appropriate than the other? Can anyone explain what the difference might be? For example: ...
3
votes
4answers
169 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
141 views

Beginning of the week / end of the week

It is possible to say: 三月初 (the beginning of March) 三月底 (the end of March) Example: 我三月底要回国 You can also refer to: 年初 and 年底 But is there something you can use to convey the beginning or end of ...
3
votes
2answers
85 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
290 views

Difference between 曾经 and 已经

In this question I was asking about 曾经 and one answer says it means 'already'. What's the difference between 曾经 and 已经? Do the two sentences below have the same meaning? 他曾经在北京学过两年汉语。 ...
3
votes
4answers
283 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
88 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
143 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?
9
votes
2answers
150 views

Using 一样 instead of 同一 for “the same school”

In my study software, I recently had the following sentence: 我想我们会上一样的学校. The context (a girl speaking to another girl who had just moved into the neighborhood) made it seem like the correct ...
18
votes
6answers
849 views

How polite is too polite?

I've noticed in China that people don't tend to use as many 'polite' words as we do in western languages, like 'please' or 'thank you'. I want to make it clear that I'm not complaining about this; I ...
2
votes
1answer
75 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?
6
votes
3answers
319 views

Writing “Please Recycle” in Mandarin

How can one write "Please Recycle" in the context of an office paper room? I have tried: 请回收利用 but my friend says this is only for recycling batteries.
14
votes
2answers
554 views

How do I decide whether to use 還是/还是 or 或者

還是/还是 (háishì) and 或者 (huòzhě) seem to have very similar meanings: 還是/还是: or; still; nevertheless 或者: or; possibly; maybe When I want to say 'or', how to I choose which to use, and are ...
7
votes
3answers
347 views

Difference between 想 and 要?

I know both of them mean "want to" but have usage in differente contexts. When should I use each one? For example: 我要厺上海市 and 我想厺上海市 What's the difference in the meaning between them? Also, ...
5
votes
1answer
599 views

Use of Honorifics

In Chinese films I've often heard characters refer to each other using some of these honorifics: 大姐 dàjiě (big sister; auntie) 大哥 dàgē (big brother) 师傅 shīfù (master) In what kind of ...
5
votes
2answers
77 views

Do 衣服 and 衣饰 carry different connotations or are they synonyms?

衣服 and 衣饰 both mean "clothing"; but are they truly synonymous or is the use of each term confined to its own specific context? Or is it simply a difference between colloquial and formal speech or ...
2
votes
3answers
125 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
131 views

Differences between 蝉 and 知了?

What are the main differences between 蝉 (chán) and 知了 (zhīliǎo) both meaning cicada. Do they both refer to the same species? Will either saying be understood by the majority of native speakers? Is ...
6
votes
2answers
208 views

What's the difference between 房子 and 屋?

It seems like "house" is usually translated as 房子 (fáng zi) in standard Chinese, although 屋 (wū) is also a common translation, especially in Cantonese. Is there a difference between the two? When ...
9
votes
1answer
90 views

Chinese for “vote-up”, “vote-down” and “vote to close”

What are the correct Chinese words to use for the following: Vote-up Vote-down Vote to close I assume these will have been included in certain social platforms in China.
7
votes
3answers
499 views

How to Say the “something” in the phrase “Do something”

I was trying to explain the meaning of the phrase "hang out" to a Chinese friend, and the first thing that came to mind was 一起做什么了, with me intending 什么了 to mean "something". He seemed to understand ...
9
votes
4answers
213 views

Difference between 对 and 双

For a pair of rabbits there is: 一对兔 yī duì tù And for a pair of shoes there is: 一双鞋 yī shuāng xié And for twins there is: 双胞胎 shuāngbāotāi How can I be sure when to use 对 and when to ...
14
votes
12answers
2k views

Is there a difference between 愿意 and 肯?

Is there a difference between 愿意 and 肯 in the following sentence? Are you willing to go to China for work? 你愿不愿意去中国工作? or 你肯不肯去中国工作?
3
votes
5answers
303 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
510 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
300 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
392 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
154 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
141 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
178 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
197 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
506 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
681 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
97 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
115 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
148 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
82 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
243 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
88 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
165 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
199 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
304 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
80 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!