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Questions tagged [expressions]

Questions about more or less fixed expressions.

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1 vote
3 answers
92 views

Specialized dictionary for Chinese maths terms

I am looking for a specialized dictionary for general and even more advanced maths terms (whenever available), either an online resource (website/application) or a book in print which I can buy. The ...
6 votes
4 answers
1k views

Why is a "thing" called "东西" and not "南北"?

Why is a "thing" called "东西" and not "南北"?
0 votes
2 answers
69 views

Chinese translation of "Sitzcredits"

In 2009 or 2010, a lecturer at a German university once used the term "Sitzcredits" in my presence. Probably it was her own invented compound or adopted by a peer, but I like it. Now, what ...
0 votes
1 answer
67 views

How is this special paper for calligraphic works called in Chinese? And what is it originally made of?

Just to check with experts, I know the terms 宣纸、米字格、田字格、薄纸等等 for special paper used for calligraphic works. But how would you call a paper as shown on the screenshot from Temu. The description in Temu ...
1 vote
2 answers
182 views

More logical expressions of "爸爸把你生下来"

I get stuck by the "生" in expressions like these two: 闺女,爸爸把你生下来,却有很多的无奈 世界上有爸爸生孩子的吗?还真有! More examples like the first one can be found here: 为何大多数爸爸想生儿子 准爸爸怎么样可以生男孩 Can a father 生 a ...
3 votes
1 answer
254 views

How does one express "truthfully", like at the beginning of a sentence in chinese?

In english I would use "actually", 其实,but the particular thing I am trying to convey is that previously, I gave information that was incorrect, but now I am correcting that information. “I ...
7 votes
4 answers
775 views

The mysterious role of 占 in 对占人口绝大多数的民众来说,还是觉得有钱应该省着花

I know that 占 means "to occupy/to take up". But in this following sentence, I can not figure out what it adds to the meaning as a whole: "对占人口绝大多数的民众来说,还是觉得有钱应该省着花" If I take "zhan" away, would ...
0 votes
3 answers
173 views

What is the difference between 把握and 掌握in Chinese

In college we were asked that questions and I couldn't get any answers till now
1 vote
3 answers
188 views

Understanding 有上月了

I came across the following passage in a Taiwanese short story titled 水鬼學校和失去媽媽的水獺. 「哪時可以參觀池塘?」 「胖大媽,不急呢!」我們扛起水缸離去,說:「現在是戒嚴時期,學校遭小偷了,我們得先抓到賊呢!」 這事情有上月了,只是這三天很嚴重。 I’m having trouble understanding how ...
4 votes
3 answers
572 views

Translation English Expression "You can tell ... by ...."

I'm translating an English song in an exercise to learn Chinese One of the lyrics is You can tell he means it by the look on his face This is English expression. A less expressive lyricist might say:...
0 votes
1 answer
89 views

感同身受 English equivalent

As the question says, Im wondering if this 成語 has an English version. The best I could come up with is "I feel you" in English, but I feel the Chinese version has a deeper meaning. Any ...
1 vote
4 answers
159 views

"Set the priority straight" in Chinese?

What is Chinese for "Set the priority straight" ? Or is there any Chinese fable or ancient story that relates to the idea of setting the priority straight?
3 votes
5 answers
184 views

The meaning of 打 in 邊個打邊個

In Cantonese, 唔知邊個打邊個 means "don't know (confused) who is who" The verb 打 (hit; attack) here seemingly occupy the position of 'is' in this phrase But the meaning of 'is' is not included in ...
0 votes
4 answers
149 views

What is the translation of "objet trouvé" into Chinese?

What is the standard translation of "objet trouvé" or "found object" into Chinese? I am looking for an authoritative translation based on some Chinese reference work in art history ...
6 votes
3 answers
714 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 ...
1 vote
4 answers
318 views

十万八千里 meaning great distance?

In Chinese, 十萬八千里; 十万八千里; shí wàn bā qiān lǐ, 108,000 li, means a great distance. Does anyone knows why they chose 108,000? Is there a poem or historical reason behind this number?
2 votes
4 answers
862 views

How would I say "change the laundry"?

I use the phrase "change the laundry" to mean "move the laundry from the washing machine to the dryer." I would like to know how to say this in Chinese. I checked Pleco, and found ...
1 vote
1 answer
74 views

Slogan 社会……方何 on a Maoist poster

What is the slogan, mostly obscured by the typist, on the poster that hangs behind him, on this poster from 1956? Since the artist chose to obscure the poster, it must have been easily recognizable at ...
4 votes
5 answers
766 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 :...
1 vote
3 answers
90 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,...
7 votes
5 answers
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 ...
2 votes
3 answers
263 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 ...
5 votes
6 answers
1k views

Do 看一看 and 瞧一瞧 have the same meaning?

Is 看一看 equal to 瞧一瞧 in meaning? Are they interchangeable?
6 votes
6 answers
8k views

你好啊? or 你好吗? Which is more common?

I have recently come across the phrase 你好啊 and I was curious about its usage. It was in the FSI Chinese course with a meaning of 'How are you?', but I have only heard 你好吗 on other courses and when ...
2 votes
3 answers
482 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
214 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 ...
2 votes
4 answers
179 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
127 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: ...
3 votes
2 answers
460 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 ...
14 votes
8 answers
33k views

Take away (when ordering food): is it 带走 or 打包?

I was told that when you are ordering food you can say either 带走 or 打包. However, when you are not ordering food and you mean "take this away", then you use 拿走。 Is there a difference in context or ...
2 votes
3 answers
465 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?
10 votes
4 answers
3k 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 ...
5 votes
3 answers
563 views

Meaning of 这么多好吃

I want to get the correct meaning of this sentence: 我恨不得一下子把这么多好吃的都吃完。 I understand this sentence as "I wish to eat up all those delicious things, all at once". I don't fully understand the ...
2 votes
3 answers
179 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 ...
15 votes
5 answers
15k views

Which website/service can give good example sentences in Chinese? [duplicate]

Often when learning new words, I want to see them in context. It helps my learning process, and understanding how to properly use new vocab makes it stick in my mind that much more. Does anyone have ...
2 votes
2 answers
215 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 ...
5 votes
2 answers
500 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 ...
22 votes
7 answers
2k views

How should I say "I feel very good/I'm very fine" in response to 你好吗?

I've read that when asked the simple question 你好吗? ("How are you?"), answering 我很好 is the standard form, while 我好 is simply not used. 很 means "very", but 我很好 is simply translated as "I'm fine." and ...
5 votes
3 answers
2k 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 "...
5 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
19k views

How to express "have fun!" or "enjoy!" in Chinese?

In English, when a friend is doing some activity, we typically say to him/her: Have fun! or Enjoy! How can we say this in a idiomatic way in Mandarin Chinese?
3 votes
2 answers
141 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 ...
2 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
0 votes
1 answer
78 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?
3 votes
3 answers
2k views

How and when to use 不见不错 vs. 不见不散?

Could someone please explain me how and when to use these expressions? Is there any difference between the two of them? Is it something like "see you later/see you there/see you soon"?
8 votes
3 answers
552 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 ...
6 votes
8 answers
14k views

How should one translate "祝你年年有今日,歲歲有今朝" into English?

On my birthday a friend wished me "祝你年年有今日,歲歲有今朝". I can understand each of the individual words in this phrase, but the overall meaning is somewhat less clear to me (although I have some ideas about ...
2 votes
1 answer
682 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。“...
1 vote
2 answers
518 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. ...
3 votes
3 answers
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 "...