From dict.cn:

So they seem closely related, but I don't think they're identical. Today is Teacher's Day and messages like "祝各位老师节日快乐" are popping up in my WeChat feed, and I don't think we can just swap 各位 with 大家 here without changing the meaning.

Question: What distinguishes 各位 (gèwèi) from 大家 (dàjiā)?

  • 1
    各位,大家 both can be used when addressing people, 大家 but not 各位 can be used when talking about people in their absence – user6065 Sep 10 '17 at 2:28
  • example of 各位 not being used when addressing people (but still in their presence): tvsou.com/storys/53c1024d24 看到各位都好奇于自己接下来的回答,关宏宇提议大家先休息,他去上个厕所。 – user6065 Sep 21 '17 at 16:54
up vote 3 down vote accepted

中文

“各位”和“大家”单独使用的时候基本没有区别。它们的主要区别在于“各位”可以接其他名词,而“大家”不能:

各位家长、同学们
大家家长、同学们

同时,“各位”可以用于宾格,但“大家”听起来不太对:

以后怎么做就要看在座的各位了
以后怎么做就要看在座的大家了

另外,在使用中,“各位”比较正式,常用于称呼及正式场合;而“大家”则显得比较随意,在日常中一般都使用“大家”。

还有一些习惯用法的不同:

大家好!
各位好!


English

"各位" and "大家" make little difference when used alone. Their primary difference is that "各位" can precede other nouns, whereas "大家" can't:

各位家长、同学们
大家家长、同学们 (Wrong)

Meanwhile, "各位" can be used as object, while "大家" sounds strange if used like that:

以后怎么做就要看在座的各位了
以后怎么做就要看在座的大家了

Besides, in practice, "各位" tends to be a little formal and is often used in serious appellations and formal scenarios, while "大家" tends to be more casual and is more prevalent in daily spoken Chinese.

There's also some difference in usual practice:

大家好!
各位好! (We don't really call people like this even in formal scenarios, even if it's grammatically correct.)

  • "各位好!" is possible I think. – dan Sep 10 '17 at 1:47
  • @dan I too think it's grammatically correct but it still sounds weird. – iBug Sep 10 '17 at 1:49
  • If you Baidu 各位好,you will get lots of them. It's been widely used. baidu.com/… – dan Sep 10 '17 at 2:02
  • @dan Seems 各位好 served as the default post title for several sites,s then generated a lot of search results. – fefe Sep 10 '17 at 2:06

Both 大家 and 各位 can be used as a noun.

大家, referring to 'all' the people. 谢谢大家!大家一起.

各位, referring to 'every' one. 谢谢各位! 向各位解释。

大家 is not used alone. We don't usually say "大家" alone to draw people attention, but we say "各位" for that purpose.

各位 can also be a determiner. In this context, 各位老师. Not say 大家老师 as 大家 is not used as a determiner.

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