2

Based on someone’s answer on question regarding how to state unpleasantness in Chinese:

让 (to make) implies "to force/ to order". If something has to be forced upon you, that something is most likely unpleasant to you

That seems to be true. Maybe that’s why my wife (Chinese) told me that both let and making are in this sentence:

Mama! Papa won't let me watch TV, he's making me do house chores first”.

I mostly associate 让 with let, perhaps I should associate 让 more with make

So for a native speaker, the following mostly sounds like commanding (making). Correct me in this assessment.

我父母我吃苹果

and is best translated as:

My parents are making me eat apples

instead of:

My parents let me eat apples

So instead of looking for the equivalent word of make in Chinese, I should instead look for the equivalent word of let in Chinese.

Thus (if someone enjoy apples like they enjoy chocolates):

My parents let me eat apples.

is best translated in Chinese as:

我父母允许我吃苹果

Is that the best translation?

Am I correct with my assessment that should be regarded more as make than let?

Or am I just sweating it out too much? 😀 Can I liberally use for both make and let, as long as there is a context that can disambiguate the sentence?


Tang Ho's answer is spot on. It all really depends on context, even Google does not blindly translates sentence. Chocolate is generally liked, is translated as let. Vegetables is generally disliked, is translated as asked(making/pursuading/forcing).

Here are Chinese to English translations by Google:

我父母我吃巧克力.

My parents let me eat chocolate.

我父母我吃蔬菜.

My parents asked me to eat vegetables.

See the difference there? We just replaced chocolate with vegetables, and Google Translate's algorithm determines what's the best English translation for the same wording, sometimes 让 is let, sometimes 让 is asked(making/pursuading/forcing), depending on pleasantness/unpleasantness of the subject food

我父母让我吃鸡肉.

My parents let me eat chicken.

我父母让我吃鸭肉.

My parents asked me to eat duck meat.

Chocolate is generally liked. But if you need to make excuse to avoid eating chocolate, the readers(and even Google too) would know you don't like chocolate and decide "" means "asked, making (pursuaded, forced)" instead of "let"

我父母让我吃巧克力,我就假裝牙痛.

My parents asked me to eat chocolate, and I pretended to have a toothache.

我父母让我吃蔬菜,我就假裝牙痛.

My parents asked me to eat vegetables, and I pretended to have a toothache.

我父母让我吃鸡肉,我就假裝牙痛.

My parents asked me to eat chicken, and I pretended to have a toothache.

我父母让我吃鸭肉,我就假裝牙痛.

My parents asked me to eat duck meat, and I pretended to have a toothache.

我父母終於肯让我吃巧克力.

My parents finally let me eat chocolate.

我父母終於肯让我吃蔬菜.

My parents finally let me eat vegetables.

我父母終於肯让我吃鸡肉.

My parents finally let me eat chicken.

我父母終於肯让我吃鸭肉.

My parents finally let me eat duck.

3

It all depends on the context. The readers would know which meaning of 让 you are referring to, by having the information of the activity is wanted or unwanted, and decide 让 means "make" or "let"

In most case, eating apple is something you like to do, therefore, "让" in "我父母让我吃苹果" should be interpreted as "let" unless you specify you hate apple

For example: "我父母让我吃苹果,我就假裝牙痛" - "Whenever my parent make me eat apple, I would pretend to have a toothache."

If you need to make excuse to avoid eating apple, the readers would know you don't like apple and decide "让" means "make" instead of "let"

Similarly: "我父母(終於肯)让我吃苹果" - "My parent (finally agree to) let me eat apple"

From the words "finally agree to" we know you don't get to eat apple often or it has been a long time since you had one. We can confidently presume "让" here means "let"

|improve this answer|||||
2

(Note: I'm just a learner, but I'll try to answer this.) I don't think is one way or the other.

Sometimes it's "let" (or "allow") and not "make":

女朋友不我进她的卧室 (link)
My girlfriend won't let me in her bedroom.

Sometimes it's "make" and not "let":

哪些行为你感到生气? (link)
What behaviors make you feel angry?

And then we have other sentences where it's somewhere in between:

第一次去男朋友家吃饭就我洗碗 (link)
The first time I went to my boyfriend's house to eat a meal, [they] had me wash the dishes.

他帮我找工作 (link)
I have him help me find a job.

Both of these could instead mean "let" or "make" depending on the context.

(Further examples are at the Chinese Grammar Wiki.)

|improve this answer|||||
  • 1
    Now it's clear to me that 让 have no default (I initially thought it is let, then later assumed that it is make) meaning. Nice examples too on expounding where it's somewhere in between – Michael Buen Oct 25 '19 at 12:11
  • 让 in >哪些行为让你感到生气< functions more like "cause" and "make" does contain the meaning of "cause" – Tang Ho Oct 29 '19 at 6:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.