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When I lived in China, I was often corrected for using grammar improperly or translating too literally. I don't think I ever learned a good response to this. I usually wanted to be courteous and convey that I understood and would use the correction in the future.

My response was usually "喔,知道了!" which I think of as "Got it!" but I think this feels a little brisk and unappreciative of what the person is saying. If I interpreted it literally, I would definitely think saying something like “I know!" is a little rude in English and might even indicate I'm disinterested in learning how to speak Mandarin properly. Does that phrase have any of that connotation for native speakers or is that just English?

I've also thought about saying "是这样吗?" or “是那样吗?" but I actually have no basis in knowing whether Chinese people say anything like this other than people in my family's dialect (Taishanese) saying this to roughly express "Oh really? That's how it is, huh?" Thinking back to my time in China, I almost feel that "是这样吗?" is a little skeptical and would be taking the person's correction for granted. On a grammatical basis, I am also not sure if the 吗 is needed or if I should even add "这样的" to the phrase.

Then later, I saw a video on the internet that used "原来如此" but the context was a comedy video so I don't even know if this is something people actually say in normal situations. It was translated as "So that's how it is" which is actually rather perfect for what I want to convey. Can anybody tell me how that phrase is usually used? I have learned 原来 before but I'ven ever seen 如此 and I have a hunch that it's derived from classical words/definitions, but I really don't know.

Basically I'm looking for a phrase that conveys these feelings: 1. "Thanks for correcting me, I appreciate it" 2. "Oh, I didn't know that before, I'll try to use it like that from now on" 3. Emphasizing the recent REALIZATION aspect of it, so that I might continue to mess up because I may not grasp their correction instantly -- again, I got the feeling people thought I was not at all conscientious about correcting myself, but I basically had a hard time showing people that I was still TRYING -- which is why 知道了!doesn't sound good to me because that sounds to like myself declaring INSTANT grasp of a correction.

  • I've always thought “我知道!” to be "I know!" and can sound a bit rude, but “我知道了!” to be "I know now!" which sounds nicer to me. It acknowledges that their advice had an effect, I guess? – Ming Jan 20 '15 at 22:39
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I would simply add 謝謝你 at the end to soften the tone.

我明白了,謝謝你。 I understand now, thank you.

原來如此,謝謝你。 Ah, so that's how it is, thank you.

"喔,知道了" can sound a little brisk and abrupt depending on your tone of voice. Adding 謝謝你 helps, but I would altogether use a different verb 明白, which is closer in meaning to "I understand now".

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You shouldn't worry about the 知道了 sounding rude as the English equivalent "I know! (you don't need to tell me that)".
That 了 there indicates a change of situation, so it's not quite "I know", but "I know now".

To soften the tone, you could add a 才 before it. 我才知道了! (Just now I got to know it!)

But I really tend to hear Chinese using 原来 to express that idea more often:
原来是这样!

原来如此 sound a bit too formal.

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  1. 感谢您的改正 / 多谢赐教(old maner, only use this in writing)

  2. 从今谨记教诲(This one likes answering to the master's teaching, "I would deeply remember your instructions from now on.") / 洗心革面,痛改前非(You made a big mistake/crime, and now you want to correct it from now on.)

  3. 这个问题对我来说很棘手,难免再犯错。 (This is a hard question for me, not sure if I can solve this again.)

  • I don't think 洗心革面,痛改前非 is a good answer, AFAIK it's usually used to express a very strong emotion of regret. You can google it. google.com/… – mmjang Jan 20 '15 at 15:24
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Very late answer but might still help - in these contexts you can just say 哦,这样,谢谢. It would translate as something along the lines of "Ah, right, thanks"

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The problem as I see it is you didn't ask the question when you were in China. There may be a deeper issue here. Seems to me that just saying "thank you" should suffice and not give offense. When they're correcting you you're not going to trick them into thinking you're a native speaker. Keep it simple. A valuable phrase in any foreign language is "If I make a mistake, please correct me."

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