CantoDict lists 扔掉 as the translation for "throw away" as in "throw away the can," but I often hear people use 扔 by itself or 掉 by itself.

  1. Is 扔掉 the formal way of saying "throw away"?

  2. Is there a difference between using 扔 or 掉?

  • see dictionaries: "汉语水平考试词典":扔[义2]丢掉;抛弃(throw away;cast aside):随地~垃圾要罚款的|这些愉快的回忆早就~在脑后了。bkrs: 扔 。。。 (抛弃; 丢) throw away; cast aside: 把它扔了吧。 Throw it away. 不要在地板上乱扔纸屑。 Don't litter up the floor with scraps of paper. 那个疯子把自己的手表和皮夹子扔了。 The madman flung away his watch and his wallet. 我认为应该把它扔进历史的垃圾箱。 I think that should be relegated to the garbage can of history. 这事他早就扔在脖子后边了。 He'd clean forgotten about it. – user6065 Nov 22 '17 at 15:01
  • I see that you tagged both "cantonese" and "mandarin". Is this question about Cantonese or Mandarin? Because the answer may be different for each. – user102008 Nov 24 '17 at 23:32

1) Is 扔掉 the formal way of saying "throw away"?

Yes, it is.

'掉' in '扔掉' is a result complement, not a verb itself.

2) Is there a difference between using 扔 or 掉?

  • 扔 mainly mean 'throw'

  • 掉 mainly mean 'drop'

you can 扔 forward, backward, upward or downward; But you can only 掉 downward


I'm a native Cantonese and I have always used 掉 to represent 'throw'

  • you meant you always use 掉 for 'throw away'. You can't serious think saying '把球掉給我' instead of ' 把球扔給我 ' is acceptable. – Tang Ho Nov 24 '17 at 10:20
  • @TangHo we don't use 扔 or 給 in Cantonese, if not, quite rarely. Native Cantonese speakers use 俾 instead of 給 – rgex Nov 25 '17 at 13:45
  • 1
    If you are talking about colloquial Cantonese, It is "將個波擲(or 掟)俾我" ; " 把球扔給我 " is SWC (standard written Chinese that Cantonese use for writing) I am a native Cantonese speaker too. We can also say , "抛俾我" – Tang Ho Nov 25 '17 at 13:53
  • BTW, beside '掉垃圾' people also use '抌垃圾' , '丟垃圾' or "擗垃圾" for "throw away the garbage" – Tang Ho Nov 25 '17 at 14:04
  • @Tang Ho wow I've never heard of 擗垃圾 before. and I never knew we would write in SWC in Mandarin instead of Cantonese. Why can't SWC be in Cantonese too? :( Thanks for the insight! – rgex Nov 25 '17 at 21:56

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