I was practicing the usage of prepositions and made the sentence 我走通过城市。 This sentence was intended to translate back to "I walk through the city.", which it did. However, adding the word with the intention to say "I am afraid to walk through the city", apparently now the word has the context of "go" in the sentence 我怕走通过城市。, so now it translates to "I am afraid to go through the city."
Why does the word change in this sentence?
NOTE: I do know that the words 'go' and 'walk' generally have similar meanings in English, I'm just wondering why it is changed.

  • Who translate it? And 走通过城市 is weird, you can say 走过城市 and 我害怕走过城市. – songyuanyao Oct 23 '15 at 1:39
  • 1
    走通過 is very close to ungrammatical. On the other hand, confusion as to what 走 means is common, so I'll give it a shot. – wpt Oct 23 '15 at 4:05
  • The difference is a matter of English translation, not something intrinsic to the Chinese. – brannerchinese Oct 30 '15 at 0:48
up vote 1 down vote accepted

There are really three words you need to figure out here: 走,去,離開。 去 usually means to go 'toward' a particular place, which is not my current location, or not the location of the topic of the sentence. This is NOT the same as English.

As an example of the difference, in English, we say 'Go away' when we want someone to leave our immediate vicinity. In Chinese we cannot use 去 (unless you say 去你的, which is very rude, close to **** off); instead we must use 走(開). 離開 is more like 'depart', but has some overlap with 'leave' as well. It means to remove oneself from a specific place. This sometimes overlaps with 走, but never with 去 (I think).

走 means 'walk' in the sense that one's movement is on foot. In sharp contrast with 去, there is no destination, so when one says 他走過市場, it means he walked by or through the market; what is his his destination? unknown; perhaps there is none.

On the other hand if you say 他去過市場, it is quite different: "He once went to the market" Notice that 過 here is the aspectual particle, not the locative word 'through'. This means 'He has been to (gone to) the market' His destination was the market, and this often has the sense that his purpose was to visit it; it is not unusual to see '去' translated as 'visit' because it means you went to a place for a purpose, perhaps just of being there.

走's overlap with 離開 and 'go' is often quite confusing. For example, 他離開了 simply means 'he left some place', but 他走了, in addition to leaving some place, can also mean "He died." In English, of course, we would say, "He's gone." Yikes!

走 means Leaving only in the following similar CONTEXTS: 你现在走吗? 你这就要走吗?他走了,不回来了。

for other situations, 走 usually means walking.

you would meet more this situation than you can believe that, the same Chinese character could be translated to many English words because of the different context or used with different words. following are some examples for 走:

1, an action or movement, as walk, means you move your body by legs

2, 咱们走, in English is Let's go. this 走is go

3, 请把书走快递送给我: please send me the book by delivery service. this 走means a method or a way

4, 说话走嘴: talk in a wrong or inappropriate way without carefully consideration. this 走means too fast to think

5, 枪走火: accidental firing of a gun. 走here is a little bit like in 4

6, 走神, this is a frequently used expression, means you are out of mind. for example when you are in class, you are not thinking as the lecturer, but thinking about something not about the class

this is not a complete list for 走,but just some examples for you to see the cases.

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