I have difficulties understanding sentence. What is meaning of 差 in the following sentence?


  • I would normally say 九点差一刻. Regional difference maybe? Commented Nov 27, 2013 at 19:52

2 Answers 2


It literally means differ. 差一刻九点 means a quarter to nine. in the phrase 差一点 and 差几块钱/几个月 means the same, that is, adding the amount missed will turn the current situation into the target situation (could be better or worse).

  • I see. It shows how lack something to target. Xiexie Commented Nov 25, 2013 at 22:59
  • @BorisIvanov It means differ, not necessarily lack. However in the examples in this answer you can safely interpret it as lack.
    – NS.X.
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 20:33
  • When u say differ it means it can be over target, but in this example its not reaching it. Can you use it if u gave more money?(差几块钱) Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 20:59
  • 1
    I guess it's always lack regarding payment, because you are paying from 0 up to the required amount... but if your target is towards a smaller value, such as running time in sports, it is not lack numerically. For instance, 差0.1秒就能进决赛了, means one takes 0.1 second longer than the cutting line to be qualified for the final round.
    – user58955
    Commented Nov 26, 2013 at 22:20

I would interpret 差 as short of/lack, as in "we are 15 minutes short from reaching 9 o'clock."

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