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I had my tutor explain to me " 我看你呀" that is meant to sound sarcastic. But I just can not wrap my hand around what it means in the context of these sentences:

我看你呀,还是早点儿洗洗睡吧。

我看你呀,还是别去吧 。

Can somebody explain or even provide examples?

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  • This question was also asked at Reddit's r/ChineseLanguage.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Feb 19 at 11:33
  • The sarcasm is not in the expression itself but what follows.
    – xiaomy
    Feb 22 at 14:38
  • @xiaomy: "呀" does convey some sarcasm. "我看你" is also very slightly rude (it would not be used in any formal/polite setting). Altogether, "我看你呀" is certainly sarcastic. What follows ("还是 ... 吧") then further adds to the sarcasm and slight rudeness.
    – user103496
    Feb 26 at 1:09
  • @user103496 Is there sarcasm in the 2nd example? I don't think so. They are just saying "you'd better not go".
    – xiaomy
    Feb 26 at 20:21

10 Answers 10

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In fact, “我看你呀” is meant to express the opinion of the speaker; yet it sounds sarcastic at some circumstances, often when the speaker expresses disapproval as in both of your examples.

“我看你呀” is similar to "I'd rather suggest that you..." in English.

"我看你呀,还是早点儿洗洗睡吧", means "I'd rather suggest that you give it up soon"; in Chinese, “洗洗睡” literally means "tidy yourself and go to sleep", therefore extending to a more abstract meaning of "giving up something". The second sentence works the same way.

However, as in “我看你呀,将来是个大人物”, it means "I believe that you..."; “大人物" means "a great or famous person"; in this kind of situation, “我看你呀” doesn't imply sarcasim

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我看你呀 means "The way I see it" here.

我看你呀,还是早点儿洗洗睡吧。

The way I see it, you ought to take a shower early and go to sleep.

我看你呀,还是别去吧 。

The way I see it, don't go.

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As explained in other answers it literally means "I see it from your perspective" i.e. "in my opinion". The phrase is most often used as a starter when someone wants to give another one some advice, or is making a comment on another.

However I'd add that it conveys a sense of intimacy and sincerity, so it's more likely to pop up in the dialog between two close friends. Or it could show up when someone senior (or of higher social status) is giving advice to a junior that they care about.

Thus this phrase sounds impolite in a formal or professional setting, or between two people that are not so familiar. It's probably rude for a junior to say "我看你呀" to a senior especially in the East Asia culture, unless they're really close.

In this regard, I think the phrase is actually best translated as:

Bro/Man/Kid, I think you should...

我看你呀,还是早点儿洗洗睡吧. Bro, I think you should just leave it.

我看你呀, 有个工作就去干吧, 不要挑三拣四了. Oh man, just take the job, don't be so picky.

我看你呀,将来是个大人物. Kid, you're gonna be somebody.

To me this phrase doesn't really sound sarcastic. Maybe your tutor is referring to the fact that, this phrase is more often seen in a conversation where the advisor disagrees with the other person. So it might imply a bit of teasing that the original idea is not well thought out, as in "Oh man", or "Duuuude".

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The meaning of 我看你呀,還是 in this context basically means "I think you are better off ...". Simple as that.

I think what actually is making you puzzle is the why "I think" here becomes I see “我看”.

In mandarin, we sometimes use the verb see/look to express the action of thinking, anticipating, guessing and judging, especially judging. Not literally means seeing with our physical eyes.

Example:

  • 我看我還是不參加了,太麻煩。I think I will not be joining, it's too much.
  • 我看看還有什麽辦法。Let me think of some other ways.
  • 我看今天會下大雨。I think it's going to rain cats and dogs today.
  • 我看啊,他又不是一個忠臣的男人。I don't think he is a loyal man either.
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  • 我看这事儿没那么简单。 I think it is not as simple as it appears.
    – PdotWang
    Feb 20 at 19:40
  • In English "As I see it".
    – PdotWang
    Feb 20 at 19:49
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The direct translation of "我看你呀" can be "I am looking into your situation" (依照你的情况,我会这样去做). You can translate the phrase as "If I were you, I would do that" or "In your situation, my suggestion would be that". For example,

我看你呀, 暂时就先不要买房子了. If I were you, I would not buy a house in the current situation.

我看你呀, 有个工作就去干吧, 不要挑三拣四了. My advice to you is to take that offer. You cannot be too picky on jobs.

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A better way to parse it (though less sarcastic) is:

依我看,你还是早点洗洗睡吧。

In my opinion, you should better ...

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Actually easier to understand just split it to 我看,你啊,... Which might translate to "IMO, you..." or according to context or speaker's facial expression, "IMO, you just..."

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I think you can just see it as "If I were you, ..." with sarcastic or sneering speaking.

e.g.

我看你呀,还是别去吧。

meaning: If I were you, I'd rather not go.

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我看你呀==under a lot circumstances== to be honest

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I've read that Homo sapiens is the only animal to bare its teeth to show enjoyment or pleasure.

呀: from mouth 口 kǒu and phonetic teeth 牙 yá. (牙齿)

Maybe it's: mouth showing teeth to emphasise what has been said. A little smile goes a long way!

你好呀: Hi there!
对呀: Correct!
天呀: Well! Oh my!

"我眼睛大好看你呀!"狼说。
"My eyes are big the better to see you with!" said the wolf.

我看你呀
in my opinion,
or, as the others said: The way I see it

PS:

But I just can not wrap my hand head around what it means in the context of these sentences:

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