From what I know, they all mean similar things (way, method), but 方式 can also mean style which makes it similar to 样式. Is there a difference in the way they are used grammatically or is the difference mainly about preference?

  • search this site for "办法,方法,方式" to find answers
    – user6065
    Jan 24, 2016 at 19:56

2 Answers 2


I haven't looked up in the dictionary, so my answer may not be accurate. Just for reference.
方法 means the way that should be followed when doing something. Example: 使用方法 (the way to use something, like washing machine or ointment)
办法 seems to be more colloquial, and mostly refers to the way to solve a problem or achieve a goal. Sometimes it is equivalent to 方法. Example: 我没办法吃这么多。(I can't make it to eat this much. )
方式 refers to the "style" when doing something. However, it is not eqivalent to 样式. The latter refers to what a thing looks like. Example: 传统方式未必是落后的。(Traditional way(style) is not definitely out of date. ) And: 传统的样式是很好看的。(Traditional style is very beautiful. )
Hope this will help you. ^o^

  • I would vote this up....if I had the reputation :( Thanks though!! very helpful Jan 26, 2016 at 17:53

方法 refers to a method in the strict sense of a careful organized plan that controls the way something is done. This is also expressed by tiáolǐ 条理 -- you follow a known rule.

办法 means you somehow get the problem solved, but maybe not by any rule. Maybe you make up a new, temporary solution, that no one else has ever tried, and you will never do again, but it works.

Or maybe you have a problem and you do 方法 because you know a procedure that would solve it. But you do not 办法 because you cannot find a practical way to follow the procedure. "I know how to fix that broken door, but I cannot find the time to do it."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.