I'm trying to accurately translate an abstract use of "saw."

Example: the Korean War saw fighting between America and the PRC.


Now, I have no idea if that sentence is correct or not, but it demonstrates what I'm trying to get at. Is this an acceptable use of "saw" in Chinese? Is there another word to demonstrate this abstract use? Or do I need to find a more concrete way to say this?


  • 1
    Very interesting question, have an upvote! I'm working on it, I have my own translation, but I am alone today, so I want to check it first with someone Chinese and they are all sweeping tombs! This use of 'saw' = 'During ...........there was' so maybe you could just use '有了,有过‘, but that's not what you are after, right?
    – Pedroski
    Apr 6, 2015 at 3:21
  • Right, I was considering something along those lines as a more concrete way of phrasing it. I'm just interested to find out if this abstraction carries over from English, since I've never really encountered it. Happy Qingming. :)
    – user9657
    Apr 6, 2015 at 3:30
  • appears to be a dictionary question,i。e。 answered by online dictionaries (confirming answer #1:见证 )s。e。g。iciba:see: 9. VERB 目睹;经历;见证 If a period of time (or a person) sees a particular change or event, it takes place during that period of time (or while that person is alive)
    – user6065
    Apr 6, 2015 at 5:37

2 Answers 2


I think you need 'witness' = ‘见证’


  • I'm marking this one as correct in keeping most with the original text. No one else has taken any objection to it. Thanks!
    – user9657
    Apr 6, 2015 at 5:41

From your sentence and according to the Chinese grammar, yours isn't a right saying. "朝鲜战争" is an object of no life, which cannot have organs to "see" or "sense". We can say this better below:

透过朝鲜战争我们看到了美国和中国之间的战斗。(We see the REAL battle between China and USA through the Korean War).

In fact, the sentense you mentioned above has missed a subject. And it's ONLY used in the oral Chinese. We also have such things (This also occurs in English sometimes):

水壶开了!(The kittle is boiling).

实际上,是水壶的水开了(In fact, it's the WATHER in the kittle boiling!)


  • I see. So is this type of abstraction non-existent in Chinese? What about the answer given by @Pedroski, is that correct?
    – user9657
    Apr 6, 2015 at 5:11
  • The sentence provided in this answer roughly translates to "From the Korean War we see the conflict/ fighting between America and the PRC." It is very different from the OP's sentence, which is "The Korean War saw fighting between America and the PRC."
    – monalisa
    Apr 6, 2015 at 5:27
  • Mona, o thee of enigmatic smile, thou mayst replace 'saw' with 'witnessed' in the aforementioned sentence, not one jot of a nuance of a meaning thereby changeth.
    – Pedroski
    Apr 6, 2015 at 8:14

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