Can 使劲 (put in effort, strain at) only be used for physical effort? If no, how does its usage differ from 尽量?

  • Q easily answered by jukuu, its 100 samples for 使劲 all seem to be of the physical effort type (at least 1-20 and 91-100), re 尽量 see any dictionary, e.g. bkrs: 1) to the best of one's ability 2) (drink/eat) to the full 大家尽量吃饱。 Please eat until you are completely satiated.reach the highest level ... also see jukuu's 100 samples
    – user6065
    Jun 25, 2017 at 10:33
  • Thanks, I did not know jukuu. On linedict, there are examples which suggest that it can also be used to describe non-physical effort, for example: 通过使劲攒钱,你能...
    – box
    Jun 25, 2017 at 11:25
  • linedict getting more comprehensive, like the defunct nciku?
    – user6065
    Jun 25, 2017 at 16:05
  • 使劲 can be used metaphorically. E.g. 如果你不使劲,别人也帮不了你。"If you don't try hard, no one can do it for you."
    – NS.X.
    Jun 25, 2017 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


使 = utilize/ apply

劲 = force / power

'使劲' as a verb means 'apply force' ; as an adverb, it means 'forcefully'; Since 'forcefully' is an adverb that modifies action verbs, it is mainly be used for describing physical effort.

For example: 使劲打(forcefully hit), 使劲拉(forcefully pull)

how does its usage differ from 尽量?

  • 使劲 is an adverb for 'forcefully'

  • 尽量 is an adverb for 'to the greatest extent / as far as possible'.

For example: '尽量不让人知道' (go to the greatest extent not letting people know)

'使劲' and '尽量' are not very similar in meaning

May be you were thinking of '尽力' (with all of one's strength) which can be used to describe physical effort, similar to '使劲' .

For example: '尽力打' (hit with all your might), '尽力拉' (pull with full strength)

In this sense, '使劲' and '尽力' are very similar.

But 尽力 can also be used metaphorically for 'do one's best' or 'try one's best'

For example: '尽力忍笑' (do one's best not to laugh)

Finally, '用力' (用= utilize/ use) (力 = force/strength) is synonym to '使劲'

出力 (出 = output /use) (力 = force/strength) is also a synonym

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.