0

I want to translate a sentence: Things are not as simple as they seem. I have two sentences and I don't know which one is right:

事情往往没有看上去那么简单。

事情往往不像看起来那么简单

I'm asking because I don't understand the first sentence and maybe it isn't right. The second sentence I understand. Thank you for your help.

4 Answers 4

1

As LAMC says, both are correct expressions that native Chinese speakers would say.

事情(Things)往往(often)没有(are not)看上去(as it looks)那么简单(as simple) -- Things are often not as simple as it seems

事情*Things)往往(often)不像(are not like)看起来(as it looks)那么简单(as simple) -- Things are often not as simple as it seems. (We usually ignore the like in the sentence as it means the exact same as the above.)

This is interesting because this substitution doesn't always work, but it works in this context.

1
  • Thank you very much for the understandable explanation. I think I'm starting to understand the differences. Your explanation is very useful. I am very grateful for your help.
    – robert
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 21:12
1

There is a little bit different between 没有 and 不像, but both is right for translation.

If you say 不像 or (of course they are the same in this situation since 不像 is just the negative form of ), the words usually require two things to compare with each other. Now that the first thing 事情 is a noun, the second thing should also be a noun most commonly. That is, 看起来 actually plays the role of a noun category, and you can add after 看起来 as a noun mark. So sentence 1a and 1b are both acceptable.

1a.事情往往不像看起来那么简单。

1b.事情往往不像看起来的那么简单。

For another situation 没有, there is a little bit different. The word 没有 can be seem as a verb category containing the verb and a negative mark. The character of might be similar to in Mandarin Chinese, used as a copula. Therefore, things before the final adjective 简单 are all adverbs. Of course there are some differences between 看起来 and 看上去, but as @Wolfking pointed out, they can be translated into the same phrase as it looks, we don't consider their differences. Another evidence is that you can add after 看上去, and the sentence is still acceptable. See 2a and 2b.

2a.事情往往没有看上去那么简单。

2b.事情往往没有看上去地那么简单。

and are different in Mandarin Chinese, especially in written forms. The former indicates a noun while the latter is the adverb mark.

In oral Chinese, however, people usually omit the use of de(no matter which form), so that cause the situation. Whether you choose the first or second translation is acceptable, but the following is a bit odd.

3a.?事情往往没有看上去的那么简单。

3b.?事情往往不像看起来地那么简单。

Some people might accept them, but I don't follow. @Wolfking pointed out that Chinese people usually ignore the like in the sentence, I agree with it, but the deeper reason might be the omission of de.

But in translation, both are correct, and Chinese people can understand both correctly. Actually, the difference presents above is quite slight.

2
  • I don't know if my @ in the answer is useful, so I shall @Wolfking here to express my thanks and appreciations of your answer.
    – user35469
    Commented Jan 26, 2023 at 6:38
  • Thank you very much for the understandable explanation. I think I'm starting to understand the differences. Your explanation is very useful. I am very grateful for your help.
    – robert
    Commented Feb 2, 2023 at 21:12
0

are you getting these sentences from somewhere? or can it just be any sentence that translates that meaning?

I would say 平常不能只看事情的表面。 or for something closer to your original sentence 事情通常並不那樣簡單。

0

They both work.

From 牛津英汉汉英词典, one of the several meanings of 没有:

(表比较) not so … as ▸ 这部电影没有那部电影有趣。 This film is not as interesting as that one.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.