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大约 means "approximately", 差不多 means "almost". 大约 is normally used as an adjective or adverb in phrases like: 大约四英尺厚的雪 snow that is approximately 4 inches thick 差不多 can be used in a similar way, but it's more commonly used as an adjective-verb: 这两本书的内容都差不多 these two books' contents are about the same However, 这两本书的内容都差不多一样 (with 差不多 as an adverb) means ...
她离开了三年了: She had been away for 3 years. (She could have been back now or could have not been back.). 她离开三年了: She has been away for 3 years (have not been back). 她离开了三年了 could be the abbreviated version of 她离开三年了 and is used to describe the same thing, and it could also be different.
这里 开了 家 医院。 Here opened a hospital. They opened up a hospital here. Translating is also a task of creation. Translators can change a bit the original meaning so the sentence sounds better in the target language.
说着 could be either a verb (said) or an adverb (while saying). But as I understand it these are pronounced differently. In most cases 说着 reads 'zhe' and means while saying. 说着(zhao2) is a rare usage only in colloquial language in the Northern dialects, where 着 means hit the target, e.g. '被你说着了' means 'spot on'. The non-dialectal version is '被你说中了'. ...
Question 1. Does the 一下 mean how many the speaker smacked her/his child, only one time in this case, or act as an adverb like 'a little bit'? It means only once here. Note that 一下 might mean a little bit too, depends on the context. 附於動詞後面，有略微的意思。如：「想一下」、「看一下」。亦作「一下子」。 => Attached after the verb, means a little. (Note: In some instances, depends ...
The term 差不多 can easily be understood by direct translation. 差（v）＝ differ ， 不多 ＝ not much. Thereby, we can see that it means "not to differ by much" which logically corresponds to almost. In certain context 差不多 and 差点儿 means the same. The same logic applies here also, as 一点儿 means "a little", being the same as "not much". The word 大约 can best be translated ...
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