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I have been studying Chinese for a while, and what I find interesting is that no 2 words have exactly the same definitions.

For example, 表扬 and 称赞 have almost the same meaning, but there will always be some subtle differences in meaning, which means they cannot be used interchangeably.

Are there any two chinese words Non-Nouns with exactly the same meaning, such that they can be used interchangeably?

  • Many Chinese words contain multiple meanings, in certain context, two different words that share an overlap meaning can be used interchangeably – Tang Ho Jun 15 at 10:40
  • Could you give me an example or two? I understand that the different contexts matter. – 23 Rep Jun 15 at 10:40
  • Many nouns obviously can be used interchangeably: 马铃薯, 土豆 or 方便面, 泡面. But I’m not sure that’s what you’re looking for. – Mo. Jun 15 at 10:48
  • Definitely. Actually I was about to clarify - to change it to non-Nouns. I think that was what I'm looking for. – 23 Rep Jun 15 at 10:53
  • Just made an answer with examples – Tang Ho Jun 15 at 11:14
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Many Chinese words contain multiple meanings, in certain context, two different words that share an overlap meaning can be used interchangeably

Example:

  • 正確 : accurate; correct

  • 凖確 : accurate; exact; precise; spot on

Interchangeable case:

正確答案 = correct answer; accurate answer

凖確答案 = accurate answer

(both mean the same)

non-interchangeable case:

凖確射擊 = accurate shooting (accurately hit the target)

正確射擊 = correct shooting (shooting in a correct form)

More example:

  • 教 : 1. (v) teach; instruct; educate; 2.(v) [colloquial] cause; make

  • 授 : 1. (v) confer; award; give; grant; 2. (v) teach; instruct; lecture

Interchangeable case:

他武功 = teach him martial art

他武功 = teach him martial art

(both mean the same)

Although they are interchangeable when meaning 'teach' , 教 is more colloquial, 授 is more literary

non-interchangeable case:

教人難受 = cause people to feel bad (cannot be changed to 授人難受)

授以重任 = give important task (cannot be changed to 教以重任)

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  • Thanks so much! – 23 Rep Jun 15 at 11:19
  • Since 教 and 授 share the meaning of 'to teach', the compound word '教授' was coined to be a more specific term for 'to teach' -- It is also a noun for 'professor' – Tang Ho Jun 15 at 11:30
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There are a lot of Non-Noun words that are literary identical and interchangeable for sure, such as:

需要 / 须要 = need

常常 / 经常 / 时常 = always

高兴 / 开心 / 快乐 = happy

for your example, 表扬 is more on recognition and 称赞 is like praising so they are practically different in most of the usage.

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