When you respond to a text message on Apple Watch, there are a number of autoreply options. One of them:


I translate this to English as "One word. Excellent! 👊". This makes a lot of sense in this translation. However, can the entire phrase "非常棒" (excellent) be considered one 字 (word)? Or is a 字 strictly considered a single character?

  • A very popular joke is "唯二" derived from the word "唯一". "唯一" in Chinese means "the only one", technically refers to a single entity within the context, "technically" meaning if you see "维一的三位女性获奖者之一" ("one of the only three female prize winners") in a language exam you have to say it's wrong. However there really isn't a good expression for that situation, either, so I guess early 21st century we invented "唯二" meaning "the only two" and has been widely accepted informally since. Essentially Mandarin has loop holes, sometime the best word for the context is a technically incorrect one. Nov 15, 2017 at 21:03
  • But to your question maybe "一句话" (one sentence) is better, because in English "one word" doesn't mean exactly one word, either, e.g. "have a word with someone". Nov 15, 2017 at 21:05

4 Answers 4


No it's not correct. "非常棒" are definitely three 字s. So the proper form should be




According to the context this kind of wording might be used on purpose for joking; you might not need to take them seriously.


1.字 = character, 词 = word

2."一个字,非常棒" can be either an incorrect translation (which is not rare in big companies' products) or a net slang phrase("一个字,XXX" where XXX is intentionally more than one character, similar to "brief comment: XXX")


Yes, a 字 is strictly considered a single character. 非常棒! should be 三个字.

The sentence can be rephrased as:




非常棒 can be taken as a phrase or a short sentence.

非常: very

棒: good; excellent;


All of above answers are definitely correct but I just want to say apple watching might be making a joke. Let me clarify,

In Chinese seriously - 字 = character. So 非常棒 is three 字s.

But humorously we usually make a joke like what your apple watch did




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