I know how to use 和 to link one or more nouns or noun phrases, but in this sentence I don't understand what purpose does it serve at the beginning of the sentence?


(This sentence is from a text about 春节)

  • (中国人过年)和西方人过圣诞节差不多……
    – Zhang
    Jan 2, 2020 at 7:39

5 Answers 5


Here the use of 和 and 差不多 is similar to the phrasing "Like how" in English.

"Like how Westerners celebrate Christmas, this [Chinese New Year] is a holiday when the entire family gets together."

  • I feel like it's worth pointing out that the sentence constituents before and after the comma can be completely swapped without changing the overall meaning of the sentence. That makes it a lot easier to understand what 和 means in this sentence i.e. 这是一个全家团聚的节日,和西方人过圣诞节差不多
    – Marko
    Jan 2, 2020 at 3:56

A literal meaning of 和 is "with." But here, the context is not a literal with. It's more like "similar to." That could be "with" in a figurative sense.


The best way to translate the 和 in this sentence is using "how".

The sentence roughly translates to "Spring festival is similar to how Westerners spend Christmas, this is a festival where the whole family gets together."

However, this is more of a contextual translation. 和 should be closer to "with" but it doesn't make exact sense to say Spring festival is similar to being with Westerners at Christmas...

Normally you would see something like this:


Eating with Westerners


Spend Christmas with Westerners

  • Did you perhaps mean "Spring festival is similar to how Westerners celebrate Christmas, ..."? It is strange that I cannot find this meaning of 和 in any of my dictionaries! Dec 13, 2011 at 21:59
  • @drHannibalLecter - Sorry, I forgot to add the "spend" or "celebrate" to the sentence, I edited it just now. Thanks! See my notes below on it being an 'in context' translation. I notice this a lot with Chinese. You can't translate it character for character, you need to get the whole meaning.
    – going
    Dec 13, 2011 at 22:01
  • "The whole meaning" is tricky for beginners like me! :) Related to my other question here, can 和 be replaced with 跟 in your example sentences? Dec 13, 2011 at 22:07
  • Yes, example from a Yahoo article: 跟西方人学怎么浪漫
    – going
    Dec 13, 2011 at 22:11

"和" here means "and".

The subject is omitted. Usually it is "This", "I", "We", "My something" or "Our something".


is the same as




For simplicity, you can understand this way.

(The way of) Our festival and Westerners' Christmas are pretty much the same.

The omission is pretty common in Chinese languages like Mandarin, Cantonese, Classical Chinese. The omission part is mentioned before or can be understood by context.

Other example:

Classical Chinese : "與你何干?" and "與你把臂同遊。"

Cantonese : "同你食飯"


和 means compared to here and 差不多 means similar. You could also have ”和西方人不同的是,中国人认为...“ meaning contrary to westerers, the chinese think...

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