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In Mandarin, when do you use 那麼 vs 這麼? In Cantonese, there isn't this issue since you just use 噉.

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  • "实用现代汉语语法"指示代词 (demonstrative pronouns)指示代词中最基本的是表示近指的"这"和表示远指的"那",其他指示代词都是由它们派生出来的。按照性质和用法,指示代词分为几小数:table with 5 lines and 3 columns, 5th line:指别或称代性质、方式、程度|近指:这么、这样、这么样|远指:那么、那样、那么样。also see dictionaries: 这么this much this way like this,那么 like that in that way – user6065 Jun 30 '17 at 20:39
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那麼/ 這麼 is the Mandarin counterpart of 噉 in Cantonese.

Example: 那麼辦好嗎? (is it okay to do it like that?) = 噉做好咩?

Example: 這麼辦好嗎? (is it okay to do it like this?) = 噉做好咩?

The difference between 那麼 and 這麼 is the proximity. We use '這' when the object is near you; and use '那' when the object is not near you.

'噉' in Cantonese doesn't make this distinction.

  • You can point at something right in front of you and say "噉?" which is from the point of your own perspective.

  • You can point at something in a distance and say "噉?" which is from the object's point of perspective.

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  • awesome, thank you! so which is the more general one to use? for instance, let's say you said, "i'm mad a about this." so mandarin, i want to say, "so what are you going to do?" would you use 這麼 or 那麼 in this case? – Crashalot Jul 1 '17 at 1:07
  • @Crashalot 那麼 is more general, because you only use 這麼 when the object is very close to you where you can touch it with your hands. While 那麼 cover any length of distance, (from 5 feet to the other end of the world) – Tang Ho Jul 1 '17 at 4:23
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    "so what are you going to do?" in Mandarin is: "那你要怎辦?" The '麼' in '那麼' or '怎麼' can be omitted. "那麼你要怎辦?" or "那你要怎麼辦?" are also correct. But "那麼你要怎麼辦?" would be too wordy. – Tang Ho Jul 1 '17 at 6:03
  • Thanks so much for the last comment, clears up so much confusion about how people write on social media. – Crashalot Jul 1 '17 at 8:00

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