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文文从小是个乖乖女,学习刻苦,遵守纪律。大事小事,尽管妈妈表示也要征求她的意见,但上哪所学校、念什么专业,甚至跟什么人交朋友,基本上都是妈妈说了算。

This is from the Standard Course Book of HSK5, chapter 23. What is the meaning of 大事小事? What does "big thing small thing" mean?

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    It's got nothing to do with "size" In a general context, it means "important /serious matters", 大事, and "less important / trivial matters, 小事" It's much like the English phrase, "things big and small" Sep 24, 2023 at 1:30
  • It can be an answer, I would upvote it.
    – Tang Ho
    Sep 24, 2023 at 19:03
  • It's Ok, 小事,小事 :) Sep 25, 2023 at 2:06
  • If I google "things big and small", I don't get something. Sep 25, 2023 at 22:32

4 Answers 4

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大事小事:大事(和)小事,important things and trifle. We often use it to indicate 'everything' or 'all kinds of things'. Another similar example is “大包小包”, meaning 'all kinds of bags', and we use it to describe that the number of bags is large. E.g.他背着大包小包去赶地铁(He carried many bags/all kinds of bags to catch the subway)

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大事小事: everything

Basically, Mum is very bossy!

文文从小是个乖乖女,
Wenwen was always an obedient girl,
学习刻苦,
(who) studied hard,
遵守纪律。
(and) obeyed the rules.
大事小事,
(On) everything,
尽管妈妈表示也要征求她的意见,
although my mother said she would ask her opinion,
但上哪所学校、念什么专业,
however, where to study, what to study,
甚至跟什么人交朋友,
even with whom to make friends,
基本上都是妈妈说了算。
(all that) is basically Mum's decision.

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The 大事小事 here gives the scope of the sentence: it applies to both important matters 大事 (normally this involves marriage, university, and other major life choices, etc.) and unimportant matters 小事 (maybe deciding what to have for dinner, or choosing the color of a dress; decisions which don't have long-term consequences).

So we have...

大事小事 …… 基本上都是妈妈说了算。
No matter whether it's an important or unimportant matter, ... basically her mother always is in charge.

So in matters big and small, 文文 does as her mother says (and generally doesn't make her own decisions).

The rest of the sentence adds further detail. In particular, it lists some specific matters:

  • 上哪所学校 which university to attend,
  • 念什么专业 which major to study,
  • 跟什么人交朋友 who [she] makes friends with.

And this is all 尽管妈妈表示也要征求她的意见, i.e., despite her mother indicating she also wants 文文's input.

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大事小事,尽管妈妈表示也要征求她的意见,但上哪所学校、念什么专业,甚至跟什么人交朋友,基本上都是妈妈说了算。

这句话有点僵硬,需要修改。

那些大事小事,尽管妈妈表示也要征求她的意见,但上哪所学校、念什么专业,甚至跟什么人交朋友,基本上都是妈妈说了算。

加上那些后,会通顺一点。

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