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Context:

There was a photo of a Chinese celebrity sitting down and some fans cropped and pasted that photo on different photos, so it looked the person was sitting on a horse or bicycle etc. The celebrity then posted these edited photos, with the comment "你们太会了".

From my meagre knowledge of Chinese, 会 is functioning as an adjective in this sentence. However, I thought that 会 could only be a noun (e.g. meeting; gathering) or a verb (e.g. be able to; expressing future tense).

My conclusions were:

  • the sentence is grammatically incorrect
  • the sentence is possibly slang
  • based on context, the translation might be “You know how to do it too much."

Are these conclusions correct and is the sentence's connotation positive or negative?

多谢!

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    It is equivalent to -- "You guys are great" It is just the way young people speak nowadays. Grammar, generally, is of no concern. In any case, it is not "cool" to be pedantic. – Wayne Cheah Jul 7 at 4:40
  • Thanks @WayneCheah! So I assume from your comment that 你们太会了 is more of a modern-day expression used by young people and therefore, older generations won't usually use it? Can we also say "你们很会呀"? – Lil ol' 阮天文 Jul 7 at 4:52
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    Yes, it would sound funny for a 71 year grandpa like me mouthing 你们太会了!! As for 你们很会呀, which here in Malaysia / Singapore would be translated by the young as ---"You people are can", (很会 = are can) The Internet has, for good or bad, spawned a whole new lexicography in every language. – Wayne Cheah Jul 7 at 5:38
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    I'd like to add the "connotation" thing: Why the omission? "Because we have a tacit understanding with that!" Something that we may not want to say it explicitly, like something dirty, something only fans know, etc. – Stan Jul 8 at 5:18
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会 denotes the sense of good at; skillful;etc.. In Chinese grammar, 会 is a verb here.

the celebrity is saying: 你们太会玩了 or 你们太会搞了. In English, it could be something like you guys are good at making this.

Apparently, there is a verb implied in 你们太会了. The listeners would understand the action based on the context. In your case, it could be 玩, 搞, etc.

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  • Thanks dan! Is it right to say that it is definitely grammatically correct and omission of the verb is acceptable due to the listener's understanding of the context? – Lil ol' 阮天文 Jul 7 at 4:16
  • @阮天文 That's correct! – dan Jul 7 at 4:36
3

It may not be official, but base on my experience in reading Chinese translated manga, "会" in "你们太会了" is likely short for "会做人/ 会做" (know how to be considerate), in other words, 'know how to please'

Examples 1:

Besides a 'fan service' panel, the translator would make remarks like '作者很會嘛!: (meaning the author is very considerate to his readers, mainly teenage males)

Examples 2:

Under a page depicting a teacher scolding a student for ripped off a fellow female student's shirt, The teacher yelled at the girl: "YOU FOOL! Once you started something you must see it through! Since you've already ripped her shirt off, why didn't you rip her skirt off as well?"

And the comments to this page included: "做事要徹底...老師真會"

Examples 3:

On a page depicting a teenage visit his female classmate. The classmate's mother finds excuses to remove all the family members in the house and leave the two alone also generated comment like 媽媽很會嘛 (meaning she is so understanding and her action pleases the readers)

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    Any. 'considerate' or 'pleasing act' can be called 很會. The celebrity said 你们太会了 could mean " they are so pleasing" (they know how to be considerate) 会做人 implies 'understanding' and 'smart' , too – Tang Ho Jul 7 at 5:39
  • @阮天文 See example 3. – Tang Ho Jul 7 at 5:53
  • Thanks @Tang Ho. Would you agree that this is a modern-day expression and older generations won't usually use it? – Lil ol' 阮天文 Jul 7 at 6:01
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    @阮天文 I am in my mid 50's, but I understood it right away, I myself would never use it because I am Cantonese. I only see 会 being used this way in writing, and mostly by internet users. A Mandarin speaker might know if it a common term in day to day speech as well. From the context in your question, 太会了 = 太会做人了 make a lot of sense – Tang Ho Jul 7 at 6:08

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