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< 情势 situation; trend of events; circumstances:

局势 situation; state (of affairs)

形势 situation; circumstance; condition; state of affairs >

< 情形 circumstances; situation

情况 circumstances; situation >

状况 condition; state; situation

Very confused. They obviously have a subtle difference as with all the analogous words in English, but I can't get the handle of it.

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  • 小马词典 has compounds for entries (providing info about 意义 & 用法), 情况:实际/现实情况、具体情况、(在大多数)情况下、看情况、经济情况, no compounds:情势、局势,情形 situation, state of affairs,形势:形势严峻, (地势)形势 also terrain; topographical features,e.g. 形势险要 strategically important terrain:状况:6 all with at least 2 character attributive in front e.g. 标准状况. 情况,状况 seem to have greatest usage frequency, 情况 also often used in grammars, e.g.事物或情况,又可分以下几种情况
    – user6065
    May 12 '17 at 14:10
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情势 (situation) = 情 (details) + 势 (formations /form)= the form and details

you look at a situation as an object. The form of it tells you what kind of situation you are looking at.

Example: 情势危急 (situation is critical) * the form and the details tells us the situation is critical

~

局势 (situation) = 局面 (board surface)+ 势 (formations /form) = The formations on the board surface

Metaphorizing a situation as a chess game. The formations of the chess pieces on the board tell us what is going on in the game (situation)

Example: 局势危急 (situation is critical) * the formations on the chess board indicates the game(situation) is in a critical state

~

形势(situation) = 形(shape) + 势(formations/ form) = shape and form

a 'shape and form' description can apply to an actual object; or metaphorically, to a state of affairs.

Example: 形势危急 (situation is critical) * the shape and form indicates the situation is in a critical state.

~

情形 (situation) = 情(details)+ 形(shape)= shape and details

shape and details forms a 'situation'.

Example:看情形他不会来 (looks like he won't come)

The thing that's being looked at is details of the situation, which indicate he won't come

~

情况 (situation) = 情(details)+ 况(appearance) = appearance and details

appearance and details = 'circumstance'(situation).

Example:看情况决定 (make the decision depend on the situation) )

see the appearance and situation then decide

~

状况 (situation) = 状態(status) + 况 (appearance) = appearance and status

'appearance and status' = 'condition' (situation).

这状况不能持续 (this situation cannot be maintained)

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  • What is the difference in usage between 情势 and 情形? Maybe an example or two would help May 13 '17 at 3:10
  • added examples.
    – Tang Ho
    May 13 '17 at 4:14
  • I always thought that 况 ment "how much more" as a depiction of a flood, like alot of something. So 情况 = details + much = the flood of details = the stream of details ... By the way, where can I find 情 meaning as being about "details"?
    – coobit
    May 13 '17 at 12:05
  • And 势 being the "form"... where do you get it from? Can you share a link?
    – coobit
    May 13 '17 at 12:06
  • 慘況(pitiful appearance) ;內情(inside info/ inside details); 猛虎下山勢,通天勢,有龍虎之勢,作勢要打人
    – Tang Ho
    May 13 '17 at 14:41

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