I found this sentence on tatoeba.org:


I just don't know what to say.

I understand most of the sentence, but what is "些" doing there? I've always seen it used to mean "a few".

  • +1 I was getting tired of seeing so much jianti on here...
    – magnetar
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 14:51
  • I'm chinese. Pyko'S answer is correct.
    – grace
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 16:16
  • sorry for hijacking a question for private message: i just noticed that we both have John Skeet in our g+ circles...have you met him personally?
    – Laguna
    Commented Jan 31, 2012 at 22:19
  • Sorry for the late reply, @Laguna, but no, I've never met him personally.
    – Don Kirkby
    Commented Jul 17, 2012 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


You are correct, "些" is used to mean "a few" and it also applies in the example you gave above - ie. you can't even find 'a few' words to say.

I believe you can also leave out "些" and it will still mean almost the same thing. To me, with/without "些" the sentence means the same thing but has a slightly different emphasis/tone to it.

For me, with "些" it feels a bit 'softer'...as if you are genuinely out of words (maybe you saw something and suddenly lost for words); whilst without "些" it sounds like you are frustrated (someone has annoyed you, did something stupid) and you don't know how to comment/what to say to them.

ps. I would personally say:


pps. I'm also learning Chinese, so confirmation from someone who is a native speaker would be nice :)


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