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From a MandarinCorner.org video I Hate Getting My Period (audio and transcript link; video is also searchable on YouTube), we have the following sentence:

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Nǐ bùnéng chī liáng xìng de shuǐguǒ
你不能吃凉性的水果。
You can't eat cool fruits.

I'm confused as to why (xìng) is in this sentence. It means "nature", so I surmise it goes together with 凉性 (liáng xìng) to give "cool natured" (in the sense "thermally cool"), but I don't see why it's there. E.g. 你不能吃凉的水果 (without the 性) seems to convey the same meaning, and even sounds less formal to me.

Question: Why is 性 in the sentence 你不能吃凉性的水果?

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“凉性水果” doesn't exist in Chinese context. “寒性水果” is the right way.

“寒性水果” doesn't mean low temperature fruit, or low cotent of cal.

It comes from Chinese “中医理论” and “阴阳论”。Four catogries can be summerised as: “性寒”、“性平”、“性温” and “性燥”。

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There's a reference to 凉性水果 or 寒性水果 from Baidu baike:

寒性水果是指热量密度低、富含纤维,但脂肪、糖分都很少的水果。通常所见到的水果,如番茄(微寒)、苹果(微寒)、香瓜、奇异果、香蕉、甜瓜、柚子、柿子、椰子、桑椹等都属于寒性水果。

Basically, it's a category of fruits, which contain lower calories, sugar and etc. They gave examples, 番茄、苹果,香瓜,奇异果, which fall in this category.

凉的水果 means the fruits are literally cold. You just got them out from a fridge for example.

  • In terms of 寒性水果, see other answers. 寒性 is a term exclusive to traditional Chinese medicine and is not defined to be a food item that is cold or low in energy units, although those food items typically are. – Frenzy Li Jun 12 '18 at 2:37
  • @FrenzyLi, I got this from Baidu Baike. Please see the link I attached in my answer. I just made a rough translation from that link. – dan Jun 12 '18 at 2:42
  • Please provide the text and an accurate translation. – Frenzy Li Jun 12 '18 at 2:44
  • @FrenzyLi, this is the original text: "寒性水果是指热量密度低、富含纤维,但脂肪、糖分都很少的水果。通常所见到的水果,如番茄(微寒)、苹果(微寒)、香瓜、奇异果、香蕉、甜瓜、柚子、柿子、椰子、桑椹等都属于寒性水果。" I think my rough translation should be able to address the difference between 凉性/寒性水果 and 凉的水果. The point is to get the OP out of her confusion. – dan Jun 12 '18 at 2:48
  • Each answer should be standalone. If you reference 百度百科 you should probably edit the content into the answer because the content on the wiki page could change anytime in the future. And note that it is not your opinion but the opinion of the 百度百科. – Frenzy Li Jun 12 '18 at 2:49
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凉的水果 describes the actual temperature of the fruit.

凉性的水果 refers to the "nature" of the fruit, whether it is hot or cold when you eat the fruit is irrelevant.

BTW: "凉性" might have something to with concepts in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I'm familiar with that.

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In traditional medicine, there is this concept of 四气, or four properties. These properties are: 寒、热、温、凉. These are the same words used to describe temperature in life, but they carry different meanings here. Some people extend the idea to general food. The definition is very vague.

Something similar to 四气 is 五味, or five tastes. These are 辛、甘、酸、苦、咸. These are the same words used to describe the tastes of food, but they also carry different meanings when referring to medicine.

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Most answers here focus on the technical term 寒性. I'd like to address your observation that 性 seems to mean "nature".

In the 1992 version of the the 新华字典 published by the 商务印书馆, on page 518 we find:

xìng ㄒ丨ㄥˋ ❶性质,人或事物的本身所具有的能力、作用等:咸~. 弹(tán)~. 向日~. 药~. 斗争~. [...the rest abbreviated]

This means that what what ever comes after 性 carries the inherent ability or action that comes before 性. In terms of 凉/寒性水果, it means a fruit that is inherently 凉/寒, where 凉 is probably a wrongful use of 寒 and 寒 has to be understood by context—in this case, a term from TCM (traditional Chinese medicine).

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凉的 means low temprature.

凉性的 means a kind of property called "liáng" in Chinese culture. Both are adjective but with totally different meanings(well, actually related, but you don't need to know the reason).

Sometimes native speakers use 凉 but actually means 凉性。You need to see the context.

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