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比如 This phrase was used to answer a question I had for a friend. She answered back with 比如. Is this a common practice or a colloquial use of an abbreviation?

3 Answers 3

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It just means: "for example" in English.

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  • I understand this translation but is it common to use this single expression to answer a question? For instance, "Will you be coming to the event or is it foolish for me to hope you will make it in time?" And the person wold answer with this expression only. Is this a colloquial use of the expression or am I missing something?
    – Rudy
    Apr 10, 2017 at 1:16
  • I think that it is just exactly the same meaning of "for example", and thus in your circumstances, I don't think she could answer the question with "比如". There might be some misunderstanding.
    – Jason
    Apr 10, 2017 at 2:43
  • @Rudy you should quote the whole sentence from your friend. Only by doing so can we explain for you.
    – user13501
    Apr 10, 2017 at 13:36
  • Sorry for the vague request. The context was in a question that I had asked my chinese friend and maybe my chinese isn't as good as I had hoped;
    – Rudy
    Apr 10, 2017 at 17:16
  • I had asked her this: 我的爱,我们将来可以再次去游戏,还是愚蠢的,有希望的? and she replied, only this: 例如
    – Rudy
    Apr 10, 2017 at 17:25
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I think I understand her meaning from your comment.

Maybe she believed that your expression in Chinese isn't quite clear, so she asked you to explain your question.

In your question, do you mean your love is stupid or hopeful, or you two can play games someday in the future is stupid or hopeful? I think she was confused.

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It's not an answer but a clarification question. This is common in spoken language.

比如 means "for example", and when used this way it means "what are some examples for your expected answer" or "what are some concrete examples for the options you've provided in the question".

Example 1

A: (After going to movie premiere with B) 下次有这种活动我们再一起来,好不好?(Will you be coming with me to more events like this?)

B: 比如? (What type of events?)

A: 比如电影、音乐会、球赛什么的。(Like movies, concerts, sports games, etc.)

B: 电影吧。(Movies are good.)

Example 2

A: 吃饭你想早点去还是晚点去?(Do you prefer to go to eat earlier or later?)

B: 比如? (What time do you mean by "earlier" and "later"?)

A: 早点是六点之前,晚点就七八点吧。(As early as before 6, as late as 7 or 8.)

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  • It's common in spoken language, so i agree totally what NS.X.said.
    – Rick
    Apr 26, 2017 at 6:31

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