Questions tagged [expressions]

Questions about more or less fixed expressions.

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4
votes
3answers
678 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
263 views

The slang(?) phrase “乾掉了”

As I remember, the phrase was used in response to a certain scenario. Unfortunately, as I tried to look it up on Google, all I find is drying out, which is certainly not the meaning I am looking for. ...
4
votes
2answers
987 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"?
4
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6answers
10k 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 ...
4
votes
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
votes
3answers
289 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
4
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2answers
2k 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.
4
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2answers
375 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 ...
4
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2answers
1k views

What and where is the connection between 压岁钱 and the character 岁 that appears in it?

During the Chinese New Year celebration, one of the various traditions is to give money to younger people in red envelopes. Usually they are given from elderly married couples to younger couples or ...
4
votes
2answers
273 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 ...
4
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1answer
2k views

What is the Mandarin equivalent of 對 XXX 嚟講?

In Cantonese, 對我嚟講 more or less means "speaking for myself", for instance, in: 對我嚟講,行政長官選舉唔重要。 Speaking for myself, the chief executive election isn't important. 我 can also be replaced with ...
4
votes
1answer
807 views

What meaning does ** (double asterisk) have in chinese?

I'm reading some web novels, and I noticed that once in a while there's ** double asterisk in the middle of a sentence, but I have no idea what they represent. For example: **的挑釁
4
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2answers
350 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
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4answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Why do people say “吃飽了嗎”

I have heard my Chinese-speaking friends asking each other 吃飽了嗎? several times when they are done or almost done with their own meal. And I have wondered, "Why would they ask others such question? ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

In what situations can one use 帥哥?

I do hear people say that a lot to me in China and I am always surprised by the timings and situations in which people just, kind of bluntly I feel, say this. I wonder what all those situations would ...
3
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3answers
197 views

Temperature around 0°C

How to say that the lowest temperature will be around 0°C (e.g. -1°C ~ 1°C)? My attempt is: 最低气温会成0°C左右。
3
votes
3answers
792 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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4answers
531 views

Meaning of 我知道的就这么多了 [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Translation of “this much and no more” I found this sentence on Tatoeba: 我知道的就這麼多了。 (Simplified Chinese: 我知道的就这么多了。) Beyond this I know nothing. I mistakenly ...
3
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4answers
235 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 ...
3
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4answers
255 views

How to ask “is it really so that…”?

How do I ask a question like "is it really so that you're just 18?" or "is it really so that the movie was good?", i.e. a surprised question? My guess is something along the lines of "这是真的,你只有十八岁呢?", ...
3
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3answers
520 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 ...
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.
3
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4answers
273 views

differentiation of 交女朋友 vs 找女朋友

For some reason i have these two muddled in my head. Presumably cause they sound similar. Is it possible to 找了女朋友? or does it have to be 交了女朋友 can it be 找着了女朋友? Can someone clear this up for me. ...
3
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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 ...
3
votes
1answer
193 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'?
3
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3answers
624 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
3
votes
1answer
164 views

“I got the feeling that…”

How can I express that in Chinese? Examples: I got a feeling that your English is better than my Chinese. I got a feeling that tonight is going to be a good night. I got a bad feeling about this. I ...
3
votes
3answers
865 views

How to use 如 to make comparisons or analogies

I see this come up sometimes in idioms, and I find it easy to understand but not easy to use(1) Is it used to spoken comparisons or analogies? Or is it only for literary, formal, fixed expression? If ...
3
votes
1answer
115 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
744 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?
3
votes
2answers
1k 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.
3
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2answers
278 views

Mandarin equivalent of “stir crazy”

Is there a concise way to express "stir crazy" in Mandarin, or is a long explanation needed?
3
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2answers
216 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
470 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, ...
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
573 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 ...
2
votes
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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5answers
276 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?
2
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1answer
1k views

Is the cantonese expression 五福臨門 present in Mandarin too?

A recent question prompted me to look for expressions related to the Chinese New Year and, among them, I found one that particularly stroke me as interesting: 五福臨門 = according to the poster it ...
2
votes
2answers
210 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.
2
votes
3answers
731 views

Expression 不见不错 / 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"?
2
votes
1answer
213 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-...
2
votes
1answer
379 views

What are the common phrases in sports when you win the score?

Sportsmen use some phrases to encourage themselves during the game. So what do Chinese sportsmen usually say when they win the score? For example, in this video at 5:40, Ma Lin cried something like: ...
2
votes
1answer
72 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
400 views

How to show exasperation?

If I were to write "aiyaa, 这是太贵了!“ Wondering how to show exasperation in writing? Or how to write the aiyaa?
2
votes
1answer
237 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
498 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
vote
3answers
1k views

How to say “totally it was a good day”?

How to say "totally it was a good day"? Can I use 一共 for "totally"? For example: "一共我有了好天"?
1
vote
4answers
2k views

What words or expressions could be used to say someone is/looks handsome?

Either words or expressions, formal ones or informal ones.