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I am quite confused with the usage of both words as the some of the meaning is overlapping based in English translations. The dictionary shows that 停止 = stop, cease, halt while for 停住 = stop, halt. So what situation do you guys use 停止 and 停住?

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Both 停 and 止 contains the meaning of 'to stop'.

  • "停止" is a compound word verb for 'to stop'

  • "停住" = "to stop (successfully/ and keep it this way). It is made up of the verb '停' and it's result complement '住' (住 as a result complement denotes: 1. successfully; 2. in a continuous state)

停止 is usually used as an intransitive verb or auxiliary verb

Example :

(intransitive verb): 操作停止 (operation stops); 任务停止 (mission stops)

(auxiliary verb): 停止攻擊 (stop attacking); 停止操作 (stop operating)

"停住" can be use transitive or intransitive

Example :

(transitive verb): 他停住車子 (he stops the car)

(intransitive verb) 車子停住了 (the car stops)

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停住 is often used for tangible objects, 停止 for intangible ones. For example, 停止进攻(进攻 is intangible), 把车停住(车 is tangible);

There could be some exceptions, but that rule could work most of time.

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停住 is often used as a command in language similar to:

stop!

or

halt!

Like you might hear from a policeman or a person of authority.


as a grammar point has two functions:

住 can be used after a verb to express a "coming to a halt." These verbs are limited.

for instance:

抓住那个小偷!
Catch that thief!

and

住 can also be used to express "undertaking an action firmly" or "tightly."

like:

你必须抓住机会。
You must seize the opportunity tightly.

So, the emphasis of 住 in 停住 is again: halt.


停止 is used as a verb more akin to:

to stop

or

to cease

Here's an example from 91dub:

The murders stopped. The disappearances stopped.
杀人事件停止了 失踪事件也停止了

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