1

When I was writing a simple paragraph about 自我介绍, I wanted to say that "I was born in XXX."

I wasn't sure about how to say it and then looked for some examples of how to say it in Chinese and came across two characters :

"在" and "于" (I just knew about 于, I had never paid attention to this character before).

Both can mean "in, on, at" and can be used as a preposition to indicate a location as well.

Now, what's the difference between two characters?

Will there be any difference if I say :

我出生在XXX。

and

我出生于XXX。

???

Thank you!

  • The tag simplified-chinese is specifically for discussing Simplified Chinese characters - please don’t assign it to questions not to do with characters. – droooze Nov 21 '18 at 7:02
  • 于 always more literary than 在 – Jacob Nov 21 '18 at 12:54
2

王得屹's answer is basically correct, is used in colloquial sentences more and is used in literary sentences more.

I would provide examples to illustrate the point more clearly:

"生(于)中国" = "出生(在)中国" (we don't say 生在中国 because 生 is more literary, 在 is more colloquial, mixing the two make it sound unnatural)

"逝(于)日本" = "(在)日本逝世" (we don't say 逝在日本 because 逝 is more literary, 在 is more colloquial, mixing the two make it sound unnatural; meanwhile, 死 and 在 in 死在日本 are both colloquial terms)

"生于中国" and "逝于日本" are more literary

"出生在中国" and "在日本逝世" / 死在日本 are more colloquial

unlike 逝, 逝世 is more suitable for colloquial sentences

2

Both 我出生在XXX。and 我出生于XXX。are right. They have the same meaning. In my experience with the two words '在' and '于' as a Chinese speaker, they all adpositions which have similar use. Both of them can be used to indicate time and location. The only different I think between them is '在' is often used in spoken language but '于' is often used in formal occasions.

  • "实用汉语近义虚词词典":在(介;副)/于(介)**[相同]** 都是介词,组成介词短语,在动词之后作补语,表示动作发生的地点或时间。"于"只用于书面语,"在"口语和书面语都用。以下情况可以互换:1。都可以用在"建、用、出生"等词语之后,表示处所:☆ 建在 用在 生在 出生在 出现在 发生在(于✓)(1)市政府决定将新体育馆建在北郊。(于✓)(2)这个词一般用在动词之后。(于✓)(3)他出生于中国南方的一个小城市。(在✓)(4)他生于北京,12岁跟家人一起到了香港。(在✓)(5)这种疾病最早出现于气候炎热的非洲。(在✓) 2。都可以用在"出生、出现"等词语之后,表示时间:☆ 生于 出生于 出现于 发生于 (在✓) (1)安娜生在1990 年,今年刚大学毕业。(于✓)(2)张花出生在1965 年。(于✓)(3)这件故事发生于1990 年的春天。(在✓)(4)这种现象最早出现于20世界50年代。(在✓)**[不同]** 1。 "在"可以跟"里、上、中、下、内、前、后、以内"等方位词语配合,放在动词前或动词后,表示处所或范围;"于"不能:(1)老师在黑板上写了几个汉字。(于✗)(2)工人们在厂场中间修了一个喷泉。(于✗)(3)街舞在年轻人中很流行。(于✗)(4)大卫躺在床上。(于✗)(5)你把啤酒放在冰箱里吧。(于✗)(6)车就停在楼下。(于✗) – user6065 Nov 21 '18 at 8:20
  • (7)每个班的人数控制在20人以内。(于✗)**2.** 都可以表示动作发生的时间:"于。。。"通常用于"成立、开始、结束、出生"等动词的前后;"在。。。"通常用于"改、定、出生、发生"等动词之后:☆ 成立于 建于 毕业于 开始于 结束于 (在✗)☆ 改在 定在 安排在 确定在(于✗) (1)中华人民共和国于1949年成立。(动词前,在✗)(2)中华人民共和国成立于1949年。(动词后,在✗)(3)这场战争于1939年开始,于1945年结束。(动词前,在✗)(4)这场战争开始于1939年,结束于1945年。(动词后,在✗)(5)由于下雨,比赛改在星期五下午进行。(动词后,于✗)(6)双方的会见安排在明天下午3点。(动词后,于✗)**3。** "于。。。"只能用在少数动词前作状语。"在。。。"的使用范围大得多,可以用在大量的动词前;"在。。。"还可以放在主语之前,表示时间、处所或条件,后面有逗号。"于。。。"不能这样用:(1)马克已经在北京住了十年。(于✗)(2)我在北京大学学过一年汉语。(于✗)(3)他在车站等了你两个小时了。(于✗)(4)在这个时候,你一定要冷静。(时间,于✗)(5)在三天前,他收到了电影学院的录取通知书。(时间,于✗)(6)在这个小村庄,他生活了整整二十年。(处所,于✗)(7)在大家的帮助下,他终于找到了工作。(条件,于✗) – user6065 Nov 21 '18 at 8:25
  • 4。"于"还可以用在某些动词或形容词之后,表示来源、对象、被动、比较、原因等;"在"没有这些用法:(1)他这本小说里面很多情节来源于真实生活。(来源,在✗)(2)每天散步有利于身体健康。(对象,在✗)(3)那坐老建筑去年毁于大火。(被动,在✗)(4)我想他以后的身高一定不低于1米75。(比较,在✗)(5)最近我忙于写毕业论文,没有时间跟张力联系。(原因,在✗) – user6065 Nov 21 '18 at 8:28

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