18

So, I'm a bit confused. All the time.

高兴 eg 我很高兴

It seems 高兴 has a connotation of impermanence .. you could be happy right now but unhappy later on. It appears to be the most common, most general form of "happiness"

快乐 eg 新年快乐

It seems 快乐 is used in several set phrases, like wishing somebody a happy [festival, birthday, etc.] but isn't used elsewhere

愉快 eg 周末愉快

I have only heard this used for the above phrase, is it a set phrase for the weekend, and used nowhere else?

幸福 eg 祝你幸福

幸福 appears to be about long-lasting, forever kind of happiness, in life, in marriage, that kind of thing.

My understanding of the difference between these is somewhat fuzzy, and I was hoping somebody would be able to clear it up. Thanks

17

高兴 means glad, a temporary state of mind. E.g: I'm glad it's sunny today -- 今天是晴天, 我很高兴.

快乐 means happy, and I agree it's the only one in the list that can be used for festivals. E.g. 节日快乐 (happy holiday). 我很快乐 (I'm very happy -- in this case same as 高兴).

愉快 means pleasant. That's why you see it used with "weekend" -- have a pleasant weekend = 周末愉快. It's less common to say something like 我很愉快.

幸福, I agree, is a deeper kind of happiness for describing a long-lasting state of mind. I am 幸福 because I have my dream job, a lovely wife and two kids; I am 幸福 because I know my parents love me deeply; etc.

This is my two cents as a native Chinese speaker -- hopefully it helps!

2

幸福是奢侈品,高兴很难得,偶尔快乐,常常愉快,如此人生足矣!

1

A quick rule of thumb is:

1) "高興" is reserved for describing the speaker's mentality.

2) The remaining three can be used for describing both the speaker's and the others's mentality.

We say "我很高興", but almost never do we say "他很高興". Instead, we say "他看起來很高興" (He seems happy).

We say "我很幸福", "我 (usually followed by "的心情") 很愉快", "我很快樂", and it is also legitimate to replace "我" with "他".

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