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Questions tagged [expressions]

Questions about more or less fixed expressions.

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2
votes
2answers
203 views

What does the expression 方便倒是方便 mean?

"方便倒是方便" seems like a fixed expression, and from context it seems to be rejecting "is it convenient?" as a reason for doing something. I can't find an actual definition, though.
1
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3answers
105 views

How to say 反常识的 in English?

How to properly translate 反常识的 to English in academic writing? I want to express a surprising and unusual phenomenon that shouldn't appear in an experiment, which is not expected and against the ...
2
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2answers
351 views

Usage of 能骗就骗 (if you can cheat, then cheat)

There is a Youtube video by a popular Youtube blogger who lives in China and is married to a Chinese woman, and he says in that video that the Chinese language has the idiom 能骗就骗 ("if you can cheat, ...
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2answers
87 views

讷 as nò, an exclamation meaning “Here you go”

Encountered this in the Pimsleur transcript: Nánrén: Wô gêi nî yìdiânr Rénmínbì. Nò. Shí jiû kuài Rénmínbì. Xiànzài nî yôu duöshâo qián? 男人:我给你一点儿人民币。讷。 十九 块人民币。现在你有多少钱? Man: I’ll ...
4
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4answers
378 views

Why is a “thing” called “东西” and not “南北”?

Why is a "thing" called "东西" and not "南北"?
0
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1answer
61 views

Usage advice: 什么时候vs哪个时候

I am writing a formal business email to a client, and at the end I would like to ask him when would be his most convenient time to have a phone call. The sentence goes like this: 请您让我知道哪个时候您最方便接电话。 ...
5
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1answer
88 views

Selling it as soon as you've bought it — Chinese expression

In college, I had just started a physics class in relativity and I was so excited that I began explaining everything I had learned to my Taiwanese roommate. Perhaps my tone was a bit too arrogant or ...
3
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4answers
233 views

How to express “tend to ~” in Chinese?

According to a dictionary, tend to ~ is translated into the following words: 倾向 易於 走向 有~的倾向 But I think all of them are not used as often while reading, and thus is very awkward if I use them in ...
1
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1answer
129 views

Mnemonics for 汉字: examples and resources

Where can one find other mnemonics similar to 横戌点戍空心戊 and 已半, 巳满, 不出己 ? Also, what in your opinion are the most common, useful or interesting such mnemonics? What is the term for such mnemonics in ...
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3answers
115 views

Chinese expression for “go out early and return early”

I'm Looking for a Chinese expression that means something like "go out early and return early" or "the sooner you leave, the sooner you can come back". It expresses a wish for a person who is leaving ...
3
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3answers
785 views

In 很高兴认识你 is there an implied 我 at the front or is 很高兴 modifying 认识 as in “happily meet”?

I know that I'm asking about an expression which doesn't have to follow the normal rules of grammar. But if it makes sense to ask, I'd like to understand if that sentence is literally structured as "...
3
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3answers
413 views

Is there an expression in Chinese for saying “I'm taken”?

In English you can say "I'm taken" to express that you already have a significant other (girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife/etc.) and are not open to romantic advances from other people. Is there an ...
2
votes
1answer
229 views

What is the meaning of 臭石头 (slang)?

I remember that my dad used this occasionally when he was arguing with my mom. Google translate just returns smelly rock, but I know it's gotta be some sort of slang, as whenever my dad said it, my ...
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2answers
2k views

How to say “until when do you stay here?” correctly?

In the following conversation: I: 你住在首尔吗? X: 来玩的 I: 那你到几天在这边吗? X: 对啊 I tried to ask "Then until when (which day) do you stay here?", but the opponent seems to take it differently, ...
3
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1answer
94 views

Usage and Grammar of 看我这脑子

Came across this phrase in episode 35 of Growing up with Chinese on CCTV. The father is having trouble sending an email and he says to his son, 咳,看我这脑子,我怎么把这事忘了。 Usage: I feel like 看我这脑子 would be ...
2
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3answers
1k views

Why is 大家们 (dàjiāmén) a thing?

Searching Baidu for 大家们 (dàjiāmén) gives 8,770,000 hits. Question: Why is 大家们 a thing? It is surprising because 大家 (dàjiā) means everyone, and 们 (mén) is used to turn a few select words into plurals....
4
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2answers
258 views

What does 三声无奈 mean?

There is this Min song called 三声无奈, lit. "three sounds helpless". This seems to be an idiomatic expression. I am not totally sure what it means though. It seems to mean "completely helpless". This is ...
3
votes
1answer
189 views

Why is the boss called 老板?

The primary meaning of 板 is 'board'. So why does 老板 or 'old board' mean 'boss, chief'?
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3answers
888 views

Ordering take-out in Taiwan 带走 vs 外帶?

This may or may not be Taiwan specific, but on all the order cards the option for take-out is "外帶". Is this a Taiwanese vs Chinese Mandarin difference, or is this just a noun vs verb difference? ie. ...
4
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3answers
274 views

How did 马马虎虎 come to mean so-so?

Why does the above phrase (马马虎虎- lit. Horse horse tiger tiger) mean so-so or moderate? Curious as to how animals can represent expressions
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3answers
2k views

What does the phrase '我的妈来' mean when it is used to express shock or surprise?

I know the literal meaning, but could someone please tell me the meaning in english when it was used as an expression (for example, when someone see a huge mansion and he said: "我的妈来! What a huge ...
1
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1answer
159 views

What are people saying when I buy something using the exact change?

When I buy something and give the exact change, the cashier will almost always say "[something] hǎo", but I'm not sure what [something] is. Question: What are people saying when I buy something using ...
4
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1answer
121 views

How to say “it is actually something that does something”?

I'm just wondering how to say "it is actually (insert noun) that really (insert verb). The context is this: 有些人说,梦想点亮未来。我不同意。 Then I want to say: 其实我觉得是注意点亮未来。 Is my use of 是 correct? Thanks ...
4
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2answers
925 views

How to say that you were accepted/rejected from a college in Mandarin?

For example, how would I say something like "Harvard rejected me" or "Harvard accepted me"?
2
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5answers
268 views

Difference between 元宵节 and 灯节?

Is there a difference between the expressions 元宵节 and 灯节, or are they exactly the same?
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1answer
559 views

What is this a mistranlation of?

I ran across this pillow the other day and thought that the expression was a little odd. According to this one girl on Instagram (a very reliable source, I know) it's a #mistranslation. This, along ...
3
votes
3answers
604 views

一方面…另一方面 Can you use it with a positive and negative idea?

A Chinese teacher once told me that you can only put two positive or two negative adjectives in this construction. Is this correct? So I couldn't say for example: 我哥哥一方面有名,另一方面不帅。 Many thanks! G
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2answers
146 views

来不及爱你 Too late to love you

why the phrase 来不及 is translated into too late? why not use 太迟? 太迟爱你. what is the different between them? and why does 来不及 mean too late in the first place? 来=come 不=no 及=?? Makes little sense ...
0
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2answers
556 views

How do you say 'I hope you got to know a little more about me' [closed]

For a self introduction speech in my chinese class. P.s. please make it in "easy wording" with pinyin, thank you in advance. (not too complication)
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2answers
461 views

Which proverb / expression is original? — 爱及屋乌, 爱乌及屋, 爱屋及乌

In an ealier question (or thread) 爱、采 ( A trivalent verb takes 2 objects ) ... 3 variations/versions of a proverb or expression were mentioned : 爱及屋乌 == he loves her so much that he even loves the ...
1
vote
1answer
395 views

“May you live in interesting times”

I have often heard (and probably repeated) that there is a Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." Is there really such a saying in Chinese? I can't think of one, and can't even think how ...
2
votes
4answers
543 views

Do native speakers think about compound words as “东西”?

Something that interests me from a linguistic/neurological point of view: Do Chinese native speakers actually thinkg about the parts of compound words that have a completely different meaning from ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

what's the better translation of “you're out”?

like kids are playing an outdoor game and someone gets out. How to say "you're out"?
3
votes
1answer
432 views

Do people still use 炒冷饭?

I know that 炒冷饭 means to rehash a dead conversation. But is this still used in conversation? For example, could I say 你别再炒冷饭! I'm scared this expression is a bit old and is not used anymore.
0
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1answer
71 views

Is to embrace or think of spring an expression?

I'm writing a paper for my world literature class on the poem "Dead Roe Deer" from the Classic of Poetry. In my research/reading of a direct translation, I read that to embrace/think of spring is a ...
2
votes
1answer
210 views

Homonyms in the context of humor or satire

Because my study of Chinese is mostly based on intermediate videos I think I am missing something. Now that I have a sense of the large number of homophones in Chinese, the potential for double-...
5
votes
2answers
842 views

Is the “shh” expression of silence used in Chinese?

Do Chinese people put a finger on the lips and use the expression "shh" to ask for silence? According to this answer in the English Language Stack Exchange, this expression originated from English ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How to say “Oops”; or other exclamation/interjection you might say if you make a mistake

I was making an omelette and I dropped an egg on the floor. I said "Oops!" because of my mistake. Is Chinese "哎呀" (Āiyā) the nearest equivalent? From what I gather, 哎呀 seems like a "sound word" -- ...
2
votes
4answers
489 views

Why the sudden rise in usage of “吓死宝宝了”?

吓死宝宝了 All of a sudden this "phrase" (if we can even call it that) is everywhere. I'm reading it, hearing it and seeing it everywhere. What gives to the sudden rise in usage of this expression?
1
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1answer
689 views

What does 狸猫换太子 mean?

I came across this in a Chinese television show where someone says: "咱们狸猫换太子的计划". I can't figure out what "狸猫换太子" could mean. To my knowledge this means: "Leopard exchange for Crown Prince". Which ...
0
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1answer
183 views

Something I came across in a movie 你说它真它就真说它假

I came across this in a Chinese television show, which I would like some help to translate. 你说它真它就真,说它假它就假,它是真真假假假假真真谁也弄不明白. The first part I do understand. It means: "If you say it is real then it ...
3
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2answers
215 views

Origin of the term “Sitting the Month”

I've recently learned about the practice of 坐月子 or sitting the month where a woman secludes herself for around a month following a pregnancy. The articles I've read indicate that this practice has ...
4
votes
2answers
344 views

Does Chinese have an adage saying “It is better to hit to kill than to hit and injure”?

In "Driven to Kill - Why drivers in China intentionally kill the pedestrians they hit", it's claimed that there's an adage in Chinese of “It is better to hit to kill than to hit and injure.” Does ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

How to say “see you this weekend?”

My Mandarin teacher told us “星期四见” to say "see you on Thursday." How would I say "see you this weekend"? “这个周末见” or “末见这个周”? Or something else entirely? This is being used to end a letter, so I don't ...
13
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7answers
2k views

Why do people say 慢点儿阿(“man dianer a”) when you leave their shop?

When you leave a shop, you often hear the shopkeeper saying something like "man dianer a", which sounds like 慢点儿阿 (something parents say to their kids to get them to walk more slowly [even if they ...
5
votes
3answers
499 views

Meaning of 所 in “有所…”

As far as I know, 所 has the following meanings: a place, as in 派出所 (police office). a counter, as in 一所科學中心 (a science center). a passive voice indicator that pairs up with 被(為), as in 被(為)愛所糾纏 (...
1
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3answers
167 views

How is the meaning of 不得已 formed?

I am under the impression that Chinese multi-character words form their meaning from that of the characters that form these words. (Let me know if I am mistaken!) I know that 不得已 means "to have to". ...
3
votes
3answers
722 views

好久不见+了=OK or wrong? What does the “le” add?

"Long time no see" is 好久不见 in Mandarin. I would be inclined towards adding a 了 at the end. Would that be all right? And in that case, what does the 了 add?
2
votes
1answer
71 views

Why is 大消费组 used here?

我分管该公司研究部大消费组6个消费类行业。 I'm in charge of 6 consumer industries of the research department in this company. I don't understand 大消费组. It seems to be redundant. Why is 大消费组 used here? What does it mean ...
4
votes
3answers
645 views

Meaning of “不了” in “忘不了/喝不了/…”

I know that 了 after a verb means a completion or termination of a certain action, such as: 吃飽了 (I am) full. 開始了 (It) has started. 不動了 (It) is not moving anymore. But what about 了 ...