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This is a sample sentence for 八九不离十, from 现代汉语规范词典:

不猜便罢, 若猜便猜它个八九不离十。

It uses an interesting idiom 八九不离十 which I just learnt thanks to duchinese.net.

http://www.duchinese.net/lessons/E269-eight-and-nine-are-close-to-ten

这句话里面的便是不是相当于就?但是意思还不清楚,请解释。 I think 便 functions like 就 here. But I'm not clear about the meaning. Could it be this, in English?

If you don't guess then you stop; if you do guess then get it right.

  • bkrs: 便 : I adv. 1) then; in that case 便罢 罢了。用于句末,有为下句蓄势的作用。 如:「不来便罢,要来就得预先通知我!」 1) 才罢休。 2) 犹言就算了,则已。 – user6065 Oct 27 '18 at 15:32
  • @user6065 Post an answer. – user3306356 Oct 27 '18 at 15:41
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    maybe the problem is 罢 and not 便,see dictionaries concerning the meanings of 罢 (方)(罢论; 算了) let it be (pass); abandon the idea; forget about it: 也罢 all right, then 作罢 let the matter drop hence 便罢,see comment #1 – user6065 Oct 27 '18 at 21:48
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不猜便罢, 若猜便猜它个八九不离十

Yes, 便 here means 就. The whole sentence means 要么就不猜,要是猜的话就会猜个八九不离十. In English, it could be like: Either they don't guess it, or they do - and they'll probably get it right.

  • Hmm.. Sorry, I still don't quite get it. – goPlayerJuggler Oct 27 '18 at 15:00
  • @goPlayerJuggler If you don't say where/why you don't get it, I don't know how to help you further. – dan Oct 27 '18 at 15:06
  • Ok. My translation is wrong, apparently, and I don't understand your alternative phrases in Chinese and English. In not sure exactly what it is I'm not getting. Is the (original) phrase an order, or an instruction, or a description? In what circumstances could this phrase be used? Is the speaker talking to someone or talking about someone? – goPlayerJuggler Oct 27 '18 at 15:32
  • @goPlayerJuggler do you understand 要么不做,要做就做到最好? The sentence conveys if I do it, I will make it the best. or I'd rather not do it at all. – dan Oct 27 '18 at 15:43
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    @goPlayerJuggler It seems the second 么 is droppable. I didn't pay attention to it, it just flew out of my mind natrually. Sometimes, it's ok to drop the second 要么 entirely in colloqial speecg. E.g. 要么不学,学就要把它学好. or 要么不学,要学就把它学好. In this context, 要么...要 sounds even better than 要么...要么. Not quite sure why. – dan Oct 29 '18 at 23:41
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I think 便 functions like 就 here.

Yup.

But I'm not clear about the meaning. Could it be this, in English?

Na. Not this. I like to think of 便 (and 就) as just.

——

便罢 can be treated as a single word meaning roughly the equivalent of 就算了 or:

[then] just forget it

In the excerpt 若猜便猜 we can treat it similarly:

If you’re going to guess then just guess something....

——

就 and just also sound similar so it might be a good mnemonic.

  • I may not have been clear. When I wrote “could it be this? ” I meant “could the following translation be ok? ”. I was referring to my attempt at a translation that was just after. It's the meaning of the whole sentence that's not clear to me. I think my understanding of the individual words 就 and 便 is not necessarily my problem here... – goPlayerJuggler Oct 28 '18 at 19:21

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