For example, if I want to say, "for this class you gotta have a cup of coffee (to stay awake)", should I say 你一定要有咖啡 or 你必须的有咖啡? Note that in this context, I am not demanding that the person buy coffee, but rather stating that it's something I think is very important. Or maybe this type of expression is not important in Chinese, and I should just say, "上这个课时,咖啡很重要".

  • Your post titled: "Difference between 必须得 and 一定要?" and you accepted an answer that didn't address the issue at all. Instead, it just provided a rewrite. Why? Do you want to know the difference between 必须要有 and 一定要有 or not?
    – Tang Ho
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 4:41
  • Because the accepted answer expressed my meaning in a better way. Context is important. I suggested options A and B, but the correct answer was C. I didn't know when I was asking the question.
    – salamander
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 5:46
  • Although anything can be translated, the question is: is that how a Chinese person would express that sentiment? A nation of tea-drinkers won't automatically refer to coffee. I think a more suitable phrase is: 沉闷的课堂让人昏昏欲睡。
    – Pedroski
    Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 22:35

2 Answers 2


I don't know if I clearly understand the meaning of your question. I think for your purpose, a better way to say is that "上这门课你最好准备一杯咖啡"。

  • I think that's more appropriate. In English, it's a little sarcastic. Like "if you don't have coffee, you will definitely fall asleep". But in Chinese, sarcasm doesn't exist, so it has to be expressed more literally.
    – salamander
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 9:36
  • 1
    I think it might be a matter of cultural differences. In Chinese, there may be a tendency to soften and explain things in a more gentle and indirect way. I used a suggestive tone to soften the sentence. If I were to say this sentence in English myself, I might also say ‘for this class you’d better have a cup of coffee (to stay awake)’, which might not sound as authentic to you. I ask new bing to translate this sentence to Chinese, and it translate it as '对于这门课程,你需要一杯咖啡(来保持清醒)'. It use 'Need' instead of 'gotta' to soften the sentence.
    – ENJOU
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 13:19
  • @salamander I just want to let you know, sarcasm absolutely does exist in Chinese. Like most things it is not exactly the same as the english version, however I honestly have no idea how someone could tell you it doesn't exist--its very prevalent.
    – zagrycha
    Commented Apr 15, 2023 at 4:07
  • @zagrycha, it seems to have failed anytime I have tried it. People take things literally. Maybe you can offer some examples instead of letting me take your word for it.
    – salamander
    Commented Apr 15, 2023 at 11:16
  • @salamander What is your level in chinese? It is not chinese specific,but chinese people will often assume a literal meaning to what someone says if they are beginning to learn the language etc. An example of sarcasm in chinese could be: a coworker is standing on a fire escape smoking, and I comment "I see the project you are so busy with is going nicely."
    – zagrycha
    Commented Apr 15, 2023 at 17:04

In this scenario, they are the same and are interchangeable. Although 必须得 is slightly stronger than 一定要,I don't think such slight difference makes any different meaning, especially in speaking language.

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