Questions tagged [expressions]

Questions about more or less fixed expressions.

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3answers
50 views

How should I parse “有过之而无不及”?

Chinese-study newbie here! I recently saw the idiom "有过之而无不及," which the online dictionary translates as "to not be inferior in any aspect." I understand this on an idiomatic level,...
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5answers
1k views

How do I express “I don’t envy you” properly in Chinese?

It's basically translated to 我不羡慕你。 My Chinese colleague has a difficult task, and maybe have to work overtime. When I consoled him, 我不羡慕你 (I don’t envy you)。 He asked back, 为什么要羡慕我? I realized ...
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4answers
171 views

What is the translation for 以后还得了?

So I came across seeing this post and I find that I can't translate "以后还得了" to English. But based on my knowledge, this post is saying that her daughter would be very clever if she knows how ...
2
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3answers
173 views

Understand 憎人富貴厭人貧(窮)

The Cantonese expression 憎人富貴厭人貧/窮 (hate the rich, discriminate the poor) illustrated a mentality that is considered unhealthy. I am trying to find a simple description of this attitude I came up with ...
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1answer
92 views

Is the construction 连A带B meaning “both A and B” a general construction or limited to fixed expressions?

The Pleco dictionary mentions the construction 连A带B meaning "both A and B" in the definition of 连, but I can't find any other discussion of this structure. I see it in fixed expressions like ...
3
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1answer
86 views

What 'nostril's hair move' have to do with fear? (嚇到鼻哥窿都冇肉)

嚇到鼻哥窿都冇肉 literally means 'Scared to the point of even nostrils have no flesh' I was wondering what 'nostrils have no flesh' have to do with fear, so I did some search and found the following article: ...
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4answers
155 views

Is the term 有色人种 (“colored races”) normally used by Chinese people?

和奥巴马一起帮民主党候选人拉票的还有佐治亚州前州长候选人艾布拉姆斯。拜登能在此次大选中让佐治亚州“翻蓝”,艾布拉姆斯功不可没。她在2018年的州长选举中惜败,之后一直在佐治亚州多个地方组织动员新选民,特别是鼓励有色人种选民投票。此外,拜登表示他将参与佐治亚州参议员的竞选活动,但没有指明具体时间。 美两党为控制参议院再战佐治亚,2020年12月07日 I was reading the ...
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2answers
165 views

What is 輸打贏要? (Cantonese expression)

In this puzzle game I included a Cantonese expression 輸打贏要. and explained it as 'Very bad sportsmanship' A user asked what it means in the comment section. I replied he can Google it, but the result ...
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2answers
167 views

Adj. + 到 to express an extent

I've just stumbled across this sentence: "吃土" 表示自己没有钱了,很穷,穷到只能吃土的状态了 I'm interested in 穷到只能吃土的状态了. It means "so poor that they can only eat soil". But it seems that adjective + 到 ...
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2answers
468 views

Can someone please explain this: 都没吃饭吗

I was watching a drama and in the scene, the coach was speaking to her team: Coach: 希望每个队员都能拿出最好的状态。能不能做到 (I know all of you can do your best。 Can you do that?) Team: 能!(Yes!) Coach: 都没吃饭吗 (Not loud ...
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3answers
111 views

What is the Chinese equivalent of “time to [A]”?

In English, we have a "time to [A]" phrase that indicates something like "now is the appropriate moment to [A]" or "now is the moment at which [A] will happen". Examples ...
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2answers
101 views

What are the repeatedly used structures in 4-character expressions (e.g. chengyu) and what do they mean?

In today's reading, I encountered the expression 敬而远之. However, I noticed this x而y之 structure is repeated in many other 4-character expressions (Pleco search ?而?之): 敬而远之 大而化之 等而下之 分而治之 换而言之 久而久之 取而代之 ...
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1answer
71 views

“你我未来,由此展开。” Is this a real Chinese expression?

Is this an authentic Chinese expression? If it is, then why is the only place I see it in use on the Chinese-language version of the US Census website?
4
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4answers
697 views

Why is 我的朋友今年住在美国 translated to both “my friend [is living in / lived in] America this year”?

Here I am trying to translate two different English sentences to Chinese. "My friend is living in America this year." He is still living in America at the point of stating this fact. Translation :...
7
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3answers
473 views

How old is the expression “老百姓”?

I have searched on line text bases, especially for 三国志 since the 2010 television version of that is what made me wonder. But I do not seem to get reliable results that way. Perhaps if I understood the ...
2
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1answer
159 views

What does 他得经历九九八十一难 refer to?

I was watching a 西游记 adaptation from Little Fox Chinese and I've come across a sentence with numbers I can't quite understand. I read the translation but yet it doesn't make sense: "观音菩萨吃惊地看着信使。“...
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2answers
297 views

What does 我知道 and 应该的 mean in this dialogue?

There's this dialogue here: (3:20) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yelfxueMlvc 请问,洗手间在哪里? 洗手间?在那边。在那里的右手边。 哦,好。我知道。谢谢. 不客气,应该的。 So... "我知道" certainly doesn't mean "I know" here. ...
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2answers
2k views

Chinese of “No one will think you’re mute because you don’t speak”

Does anyone know the correct Chinese expression that goes something like no one would think you’re mute because you don’t speak? And how it’s correctly written in Chinese? I’ve read the translation a ...
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3answers
251 views

Is there an expression similar to the English “gut feeling” in Chinese?

Is there a metaphor or idiom that has a similar meaning to "gut feeling", as a metaphor for "intuition" or "instinctive feeling", in Mandarin Chinese?
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1answer
44 views

Is 噷 a common way to express thinking?

I'm looking for a way to express "hmmn" as in "hmnn... what should I do?" when I stumbled upon 噷. In wikipedia, it says that it is a way to 'indicate thinking' but in baidu, it doesn't appear to have ...
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2answers
232 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.
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3answers
115 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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
272 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 ...
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578 views

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

Why is a "thing" called "东西" and not "南北"?
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1answer
88 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。 ...
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1answer
95 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 ...
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4answers
284 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 ...
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1answer
160 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
195 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 ...
5
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2answers
352 views

Meaning of the expression 黄毛小儿

Is 黄毛小儿 a sort of idiomatic phrase? Literally it would mean a "yellow haired child." I saw it on a TV drama, but from the child in question was definitely not yellow haired. Since the speaker was ...
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3answers
1k 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 "...
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4answers
2k views

Is it okay to ask 你的电话号码是什么?

Is it ok to ask: 你的电话号码是什么? (What is your telephone number) Or do I have to say: 你的电话号码是多少? which is the translation on Duolingo. Also, can I just say: "你的电话是多少? because 电话 already means ...
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3answers
1k views

How to say “head” and “tails” when flipping a coin?

While talking about probability with mainland Chinese students I asked what they say for heads and tails of a Chinese coin. I was tossing a one Yuan coin, and they decided I could say in English "...
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3answers
966 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 ...
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2answers
536 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, possibly ...
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1answer
172 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 ...
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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....
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2answers
385 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 ...
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1answer
360 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
1k 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
441 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
4k 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
207 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
124 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
2k 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"?
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5answers
398 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
954 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 ...
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3answers
989 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