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On the German/Chinese forum a guy was asking about how to say:

He is your little brother, that's why he looks up to you.

I wanted to use: 因为他是你弟弟,当然他瞧得起你。

I ask 2 Chinese friends, who both said no, '瞧得起‘ is unfriendly, use 敬仰。 However, they haven't given me an explanation I can follow about why '瞧得起’ is unfriendly, derogatory. I don't want to get on their nerves, so I'll ask here.

How does 瞧得起 deride someone? Do they mean: ‘You think he is great, but he is not.'??

How is 瞧得起/看得起 used?

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  • "因为他是你弟弟,你当然瞧得起他。" sounds more natural. BTW, "瞧得起" is informal and slang-like, but I do not really consider it "unfriendly". – Henry HO Feb 9 '17 at 4:13
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'敬仰' means 'respect and admire' ; 'look up to'.

If you say that you 敬仰 someone, you are humbling yourself.

'瞧得起‘ means 'consider worthy'

If you say you 瞧得起 someone, you are putting yourself in the position of judging that someone's worthiness (and in the position of granting favors to him or her) ; you thanks someone for 瞧得起你 (consider you worthy) to show your humbleness.

因为他是你弟弟,当然他瞧得起你

... why '瞧得起’ is unfriendly, derogatory.

It is not unfriendly or derogatory, just improper in certain situations. It is perfectly acceptable to say: "your boss promotes you because he 瞧得起你". It is also fine to say: " A big movie star 瞧得起你 because he invited you to his party."

A younger brother is not in the position of judging his older brother's worthiness. Therefore, 瞧得起 is an improper term to be used in this instance.

Even for an older brother, it is still not right to say someone 瞧得起 his younger brother-- Brothers are expected to consider each others worthy by default.

Side notes:

敬仰 = 尊敬(respect)+ 仰慕(admire)

The opposite of 瞧得起 (consider worthy/ look favorably upon) is 瞧不起 (consider not worthy/ look down upon)

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  • 你自己写“瞧不起 (consider not worthy/ look down upon)。那么‘瞧得起’就不是它相反的呢?我用的句话不是弟弟也不是哥哥说话了。另一个人讲了。 – Pedroski Feb 9 '17 at 23:57
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敬仰是书面用语,适用于正式场合。瞧得起是口语,适用于街头巷尾。

另外,敬仰隐含仰视的意思,是自认身份较低的人对身份较高的人所说。 而瞧得起,则带有非常明显的俯视态度,有认为自己纡尊降贵的意思。

敬仰是书面用语,适用于正式场合。瞧得起是口语,适用于街头巷尾。

另外,敬仰隐含仰视的意思,是自认身份较低的人对身份较高的人所说。 而瞧得起,则带有非常明显的俯视态度,有认为自己纡尊降贵的意思。


One difference is that 敬仰 is mostly used in written, and in formal circumstances, whereas 瞧得起 is colloquial and more popular.

Furthermore, 敬仰 implicitly conveys admiration, it is used by someone - who puts themselves in a lower status - when referring to someone else of higher status.
On the other hand, 瞧得起 carries an extremely evident sense of patronizing superiority and condescension.

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  • 你觉得在“我们这里人人都很瞧得起他。”的‘瞧得起’如果用你的话‘有认为自己纡尊降贵的意思‘ 我觉得’纡尊降贵‘的意思就是’condescending'。 ’condescending'肯定不好。你听到‘瞧得起’认为说话的‘’condescending'吗? – Pedroski Feb 9 '17 at 23:47
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    @Pedroski 纡尊降贵确实是 condescending 的意思。 除非是在跟很熟的人开玩笑,不然使用瞧得起会给对方留下自己素质不高蔑视对方的印象。而且在我们这里人人都很瞧得起他 这个句子里用瞧得有些别扭,或许用「我们这里人人都很尊重他。」或者「我们这里人人都很看重他。」更好一点,这是暗示这个人颇有能力。如果这个人稍具权威或者品格高尚,可以用『我们这里人人都很尊敬他。』来描述。如果这个人对异性魅力十足,可以说「我们这里人人都很仰慕他。」 一般来说,**瞧得起** 更多是俚语里多见。比如在一个讨价还价的场景里 : 『老板,这只鸡多少钱?』「十块钱您拿走。」『这么贵?能再便宜么?』「十块钱都嫌贵?哪来的穷鬼?」『我问你是瞧得起你!你知道我是谁么?!』 而敬仰一般用在正式场合,比如宴会之上: 「刘局长,我是东升公司的小刘。我对刘局长您一直非常敬仰,不知是否有机会去府上拜望?」 – Feng Wang Feb 10 '17 at 1:44
  • 很感谢你!我看我还要学很多很多才明白好汉语!例如:昨天练一练:用‘巴不得’改写句子:1. 他不来太好了,我就希望他不来呢。正确的回大:我巴不得他不来。这个回大用英语就是笑话!怎么可以‘巴不得某事没发生?用汉语可以啊!看法区别巨大! – Pedroski Feb 11 '17 at 0:04
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This word, in this occasion, is very unfriendly. It really is.

Because the subject of "瞧得起" is usually someone who has much higher social status than you. Or at least that you(the speaker, or the object) and this person are not familiar with each other. Under these circumstances, you can use the word "瞧得起"。

For example, you can say: "他请我去他家做客,是他瞧得起我。"(He invites me to his house because he 瞧得起我)

This sentence actually means that the host doesn't think me as a nobody or totally useless. So this is actually an excessive modest way of speaking. i.e. It puts the speaker into a very very low position. That's why this word is only used when "me" is the object. It's self-modesty.

OR in a totally contrary occasion, if you and this person are best friends, you can use this word, but then this is just like a joke between close friends. Also 敬仰 is inappropriate. But I really don't want to explain it further, it's another long story.

If you want to say that a boy looks up to his brother, you can use the word"仰慕" or "崇拜".

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A 瞧得起 B indicates A has a grace upon B (for how it is usually used). e.g. 我这么做是因为我瞧得起你 indicates that 这么做 is a patronizing behaviour.

But, it is different when using with 很. In ……当然他很瞧得起你, 很瞧得起 means 'look up to'.

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