I just started learning chinese and I came across this dialogue from a lesson:

A: Pínɡuǒzěnme mài ? 苹果怎么卖? How much are the apples?

B: Sìkuài. 四块. 4 Yuan.

A: Yǒudiǎnr ɡuì. Kěyǐpiányi yìdiǎnr mɑ? 有点儿贵。可以便宜一点儿吗? A bit expensive. Can you make it cheaper?

B: Sān kuài wǔ. 三块五. 3,5 Yuan.

A: Zài piányi yìdiǎnr, hǎo mɑ? 再便宜一点儿,好吗? Can you make it cheaper?

B: Hǎo, sān kuài. 好,三块。Ok, 3 Yuan.

I'm wondering about the differences between:

  1. Kěyǐpiányi yìdiǎnr mɑ? 可以便宜一点儿吗?

  2. Zài piányi yìdiǎnr, hǎo mɑ? 再便宜一点儿,好吗?

In the lesson they said 再 zài can mean more in chinese, so I understand literally 2. as More cheap a little bit, ok?. So it is clear the speaker wants the product to be cheaper than it is now. However I do not completely understand 1., as literally would mean Can it be cheap a little bit?, missing the comparison specifier.

Question: What's the underlying grammar structure in 1.? Does actually have the word 再 zài implicit, like

Kěyǐ(zài)piányi yìdiǎnr mɑ? 可以(再)便宜一点儿吗?

so it really becomes a "comparison" question such as 2.? Or does this mean comparisons in chinese are a little bit more flexible than other languages (like English), where you always need to specify them in some way?

I asked a chinese friend about this and he said usually 1. can be asked just single time and then if you want to ask for still a cheaper product you use 2. any number of times. Does this mean they are not completely equivalent as I expected?

  • 便宜一点儿 can be comparison, as in '比起那个,这个便宜一点儿' (this is cheaper compared with that). And it also means as an idiom 'to lower the price'. 再 is like asking for a lower price than the current price, so you can use it any number of times and even from the very beginning.
    – ekd123
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 12:46
  • IMO that sentence is better translated as "can you make it cheaper even more" instead of "can you make it more cheap".
    – ekd123
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 12:52
  • "可以便宜一点儿吗?"(Can (you) make it cheaper?) "再便宜一点儿,好吗?(Can (you) make it cheaper again, is it OK?)" 再 means again.
    – 000
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 13:17
  • @000 In the lesson they said 再 can also mean "more" and gave some examples such as 再大一点儿 (bigger) or 再高一点儿 (taller), which is why I thought 再 couldn't mean "again" in this sentence...
    – Puco4
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 13:29
  • @Puco4 Maybe they means this(sense 4) but I cannot verify whether or not it can be interpreted this way in this component(再便宜一点). I think it more probably means again.
    – 000
    Commented Jun 4, 2020 at 14:50

2 Answers 2


"可以便宜吗?" = "Can it be cheap?"

"可以便宜一点儿吗?" = "Can it be cheaper?"

"可以(更)便宜一点儿吗?" = "Can it be cheaper (more)?" -- compare to cheaper price

可以(再)便宜一点儿吗? = Can it be cheaper (again) -- repeat 'the action be cheaper

It may be easier to understand with different phrasing:

"可以便宜一点儿吗?" = "Can you lower the price?"

"可以(更)便宜一点儿吗?" = "Can you lower the price (more)?"

"可以(再)便宜一点儿吗?" = "Can you lower the price (again)?"

You can repeat the same phrase as many time as you want until you get the lowest price you can get.


The structure of the first sentence is 可以便宜.

可以 is "can", 便宜 is something like V-ing form, a noun.

再 means 'again', so it is not 'more', not a 'comparison'.

可以便宜一点儿吗? 再便宜一点儿,好吗?

Those literally means:

Can it be cheap?

Can it be cheap again?


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