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我对养宠物没有兴趣.

养宠物没有意思.

When to use one over the other? Don't they mean the same thing?

兴趣 definition is

Interest (directed towards, not inherent in something).

What does that even mean?

  • 1
    RE: the definition - "Interest (directed towards [a thing], not inherent in something)" ... This means the speaker personally is not interested in "this thing/topic," but their lack of interest is not a comment on the intrinsic/inherent interest/value/qualities of "the thing/topic". ... It's the difference between saying "I don't personally have any interest in basketball," vs. "basketball [itself] is not interesting." – mc01 Mar 1 '18 at 22:10
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In this context

  • 没有兴趣 means "has no interest" or "not interested" (not something you like to do or care about)

  • 没有意思 means "meaningless", if something is meaningless to you, it is a given that you are not interested in it.

The implied meaning in the sentence "养宠物没有意思" is "对我來説, 养宠物没有什么意思." (To me, keeping pet is meaningless)

Look at it the other way:

这玩意很有趣 This stuff is very interesting

我对这玩意很有兴趣 I am very interested in this stuff

这玩意很有意思 This stuff is very meaningful (therefore, your are interested in it)

When to use one over the other?

  • When you say "没有兴趣" (I am not interested), you are expressing your personal preference about a topic, e.g. 'you may not like fishing, but you are not saying fishing is boring'

  • When you say "没有意思" (meaningless to me), you are giving your low opinion on the topic, e.g. 'you really think fishing is waste of time'

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As a complement to Tang Ho's answer,

我对养宠物没有兴趣. (I'm not interested in keeping a pet.)

养宠物没有意思. (Keeping a pet is not interesting. Or, Keeping a pet is not attractive to me.)

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