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Questions tagged [expressions]

Questions about more or less fixed expressions.

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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 ...
Alenanno's user avatar
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9 votes
5 answers
1k views

What are the common ice-breaker sentences in Chinese?

There are sentences in English like "What's up?" "What's going on?" "how have you been?" to begin a conversation with or to greet people (friends or relatives) So what are the common ice-breaker ...
ChineseHulu.com's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers
1k views

What is the meaning of 相声?

Today I read a blog post talking about a Canadian guy called Mark Rowswell (aka 大山) that appears on Chinese TV shows and who is able to do 相声. This 相声 is referred to as "the art of language". What ...
noe's user avatar
  • 462
4 votes
3 answers
809 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
udidosa's user avatar
  • 913
1 vote
1 answer
1k 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 ...
David Barnes's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
186 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 ...
goPlayerJuggler's user avatar
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 ...
Ben Jackson's user avatar
15 votes
7 answers
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 ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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14 votes
5 answers
17k views

Various ways to say "nice to meet you"

When I first started learning Chinese I knew the in order to say "Nice to meet you" or "Pleased to meet you," I had to use the following expression: 很高兴见到您。 But recently I've come across other ...
Alenanno's user avatar
  • 6,495
12 votes
3 answers
2k views

Why does the construction of 要是…的话 mean "if"?

I know other words like 如果 also mean "if", but why would 要是...的话 mean "if"? An example sentence: 要是你喜欢汉语(的话),你该听中国的音乐。 If you like Chinese, you should listen to Chinese music.
Confused Laowai's user avatar
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

Why are intermediate cardinal directions read differently in Chinese?

I am referring to the fact that in English, we say "northeast", whereas in Chinese, the equivalent direction is called 东北, which literally translates to "east-north". One could say the same about "...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 2,513
11 votes
3 answers
800 views

Asking "what's the pinyin/character for X?"

How do we ask someone to "translate" a character or some pinyin into the other one? The expressions I'm referring to are: What's the pinyin for this/that (character)/... ? What's the character ...
Alenanno's user avatar
  • 6,495
10 votes
4 answers
465 views

Which expressions should I choose to say “thanks for your help”?

If I want to say "Thanks for your help", which sentence is correct and which one is more commonly used? 谢谢你的帮忙 谢谢你的帮助 It seems that the first one is more uncommon but I'm not really sure.
dusan's user avatar
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9 votes
3 answers
3k views

Difference between 曾经 and 已经

In this question I was asking about 曾经 and one answer says it means 'already'. What's the difference between 曾经 and 已经? Do the two sentences below have the same meaning? 他曾经在北京学过两年汉语。 他已经在北京学过两年汉语。
dusan's user avatar
  • 2,633
5 votes
2 answers
315 views

Which expression do native speakers actually use: Chinese New Year or Spring Festival (or other)?

In relation to the Chinese New Year (or Spring Festival) I've heard different names, as you can see from what I just wrote. In Chinese we have: 春節 / 春节 = Spring Festival Chūn jié 農曆新年 / 农历新年 = ...
Alenanno's user avatar
  • 6,495
5 votes
2 answers
279 views

Is 你好,北京 grammatical?

Today Victoria Beckham tweeted it. But is this reverse form (as opposed to 北京,你好) correct?
imrek's user avatar
  • 7,188
4 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are there online resources for learning the Chongqing dialect?

I'd like to learn the Chongqing dialect or chongqinghua. If anyone can help me to find resources like phrasebooks, differences with putonghua, or any article on this topic, I would be thankful.
Fabio's user avatar
  • 143
4 votes
2 answers
479 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 ...
MickG's user avatar
  • 2,310
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 ...
Tang Ho's user avatar
  • 79.5k
3 votes
4 answers
2k views

How to express "same shit, different names" in Mandarin?

I was recently discussing computer games with a friend and realised that I don't know how to express "same shit, different names" in Chinese. We were talking about DotA, LoL and similar games. If I ...
Olle Linge's user avatar
  • 3,057
3 votes
2 answers
2k views

What word could you use to approach your friend in Chinese with?

Either close friends, family friends or fun/casual friends. E.g. "hey ... (close/family/fun friend), what are you up to?" I am looking for a word to replace the "close/family/fun friend" with.
user76935's user avatar
  • 361