I'm so confused about this two phrases, I think they can be used interchangeably in most circumstances, but here's the examples:

他们两个长得一样。 Why can't we say 他们两个长得同样?

妈妈点了一杯咖啡,我也一样。 Why can't we say 妈妈点了一杯咖啡,我也同样?

他认识我,同样,我也认识他。 Why can't we say 他认识我,一样,我也认识他?

I feel like my head is going to explode! Could you please give me some detailed explanation? I'd be extremely grateful.

  • cf。"一样"和"同样"有什么区别? zhidao.baidu.com/question/13552260.html
    – user6065
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 1:10
  • 1
    Well, we can't have exploding heads, can we? Makes an awful mess! I don't know the answer, but if you reverse engineer and say 'Those 2 look the same.' or 'Those 2 look equal.', which do you prefer in English? I think that is something like your problem in Chinese. Don't just think they are both the same 'same' with no nuances of difference.
    – Pedroski
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 1:25
  • Related: chinese.stackexchange.com/questions/4900/…
    – NS.X.
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 3:11

1 Answer 1



Here are some differences.

syntactic difference:

  • 一樣 can be a predicate (謂語).
  • 同樣 is only used as a modifier 修飾語, i.e. in front of a noun and connected with 的 (adjectival) , or in front of a verb phrase, or sentence (adverbial).

semantic difference:

  • 一樣 same (identical)
  • 同樣 same (equivalent)

I think these will account for your examples:

  • 他们两个长得同样: V得 here requires a predicate, so 同样 is bad.
  • 妈妈点了一杯咖啡,我也一样: here 一样 is pro-verb (not proverb) which resumes the predicate 点了一杯咖啡; 同样 can't do that.
  • 他认识我,同样,我也认识他: here 同样 is an adverbial; it means 'in the same way'

Another example, that (I think) shows the semantic difference:

  • 我在美國看到同樣的情形: I saw the same (equivalent) situation in America.

I'm a little less sure on this one, but I don't think it has to be an exactly identical situation; just one that strikes me as fundamentally equivalent.

Anyway, nice examples, and good careful thinking!

  • regarding 3:at the start of a phrase 同样 is needed (putting adverb at at the start), it seems very hard to find clauses starting with 一样
    – user6065
    Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 4:23
  • Excellent explanation from the perspective of a native Chinese speaker. Commented Jul 29, 2015 at 4:23

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