# What four directions which are not described by 四处 are described by 八方?

I have a hunch about the difference between 八方 and 四处.

Three questions:

1. Is my assumption correct?
2. Do native speakers really differenciate between these two phrases or they use them interchangibly?
3. Is there a reason why 八 is connected with 方 and not with 处? Is there a difference in the sense of "direction" given by 方 and 处?

• 四处 (or 四方) = north, south, east and west

• 八方 = (north, south, east and west) + southeast, northeast, southwest and northwest

Another word you might want to know:

• 十面 = ((north, south, east and west) + southeast, northeast, southwest and northwest) + up and down.

• 十 in 十面 is a metaphorical number. It implies 'all' or 'total' as in 十面埋伏 (ambush in all directions); 十全十美 (perfect in all aspects)
– Tang Ho
Nov 5, 2020 at 13:52

Many Chinese numbers are used as a metaphorical number

• 四 in 四处 (everywhere) doesn't mean 'four', it means 'every'

• 四 in 四面 (all sides) doesn't mean 'four', it means 'all'

• When 面 is used as a classifier, 四 would be a regular number 'four' e.g. 房屋的四面墙 (the four walls of the house)

• 八 in 八方 (all directions) doesn't mean 'eight', it means 'all'

• 四面八方 is more often written as 四方八面, both mean 'everywhere; all directions'

• 十 in 十面 (all sides) doesn't mean 'ten', it means 'all' or total as in 十面埋伏 (ambush in all directions); 十全十美 (perfect in all aspects)

e.g.

I take 四处 as everywhere, 八方 north, south, west and east，northeast, Northwest, southeast, southwest.

Basically, they are not interchangeable. E. g. 你四处找找。 not 你八方找找。