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I wanted to say that the lake is in the northern part of the city. As 北部 means the northern part, I naturally thought that 湖在城市的北部 would be a correct way of putting it. But some people said that 湖在城市的北边 is the correct answer. As I know that 北边 can also be used to mean the northern part for architectural regions like campus, which also seems to apply to cities, now I am not so sure which one I have to use. Do I have to use 北边 or 北部?

EDIT

My question was more specific. 湖在城市的北部 would mean like that the lake is actually inside the city, but in the northern part of the city. 北边 means north, so I thought that saying 湖在城市的北边 would mean that the lake is to the north of the city, and outside the city. However, I learned that 北边 can also denote that something is inside a specific region if it is talking about an architectural region, which was why I was confused.

So in summary, I was asking if I have to use 北部 or 北边 in this sentence to mean that the lake is in the city, but in the northern part of the city.

  • is user aware of the great deal of relevant information available in online dictionaries, in particular usage examples? bkrs: 北部 (1) [north] (2) 在某一明指或隐含的定向点以北的地区或国家 (3) 泛指一地、 一国的北方地区,一地的北方区域。相对于南部而言。 如:「桃、竹、苗地区,位于台湾的北部区域。」城市北部 re Northern part of a city, submit 城市北部 to iciba: 很多大学在城市北部.同时,这片柳树林在这个城市北部能有效缓冲冷空气向城市蔓延.公园位于该城市的北部.(E at site) 城市北边 iciba:这一条街是通往此城市北边的要道.奥运场馆在城市的北边.我教授的家,在尾张旭市, 名古屋北边一点的一个城市.(confirming "part" and "side" correspond well to C usage) – user6065 Apr 27 '18 at 9:19
  • (as in English) both are possible, e.g. (in) Chicago Northside (a part of Chicago) (在)芝加哥北边, to the north of a place: 在某地方的北边 – user6065 Apr 28 '18 at 1:25
  • "北部" always "within the city", but "北边" can be "outside or" or "within", it only stresses 'near the border'. – Daniel Yeung Apr 28 '18 at 9:25
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You are actually correct.

I wanted to say that the lake is in the northern part of the city. As 北部 means the northern part, I naturally thought that 湖在城市的北部

城市的北边 is often considered outside of the city.

城市的北部 is often considered within the city.

I said often, so it's still possible that someone refers to within the city when they say 城市的北边 in a colloquial context. Sometimes, you have to check them again by asking do you mean within or outside of the city?.

My two cents. Hope it would help.

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When you write a serious article, like city planning, or when you say it in a formal situation, 北部 is more used. Example:

  1. 中国的北部有辽阔的土地。
  2. 这座城市的北部准备规划一个自然公园。

And in our daily life, 北边 is used more often. 北边 is more casual. Example:

  1. 学校的北边有家商店。
  2. 快看!北边有架飞机飞过来了!
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那个湖在这个城市的北部。

你们中国人听到‘这个’或者‘那个’有什么区别马?

English has 'this (object close by)' 'that (object further away)

"that: From c. 1200 opposed to this as indicating something farther off.

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