Questions tagged [expressions]

Questions about more or less fixed expressions.

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5
votes
2answers
456 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
91 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
271 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 = ...
5
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2answers
259 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 ...
5
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2answers
271 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?
4
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3answers
224 views

Is 得弄 one word or two in 首先得弄清楚我们需要什么?

I have 首先得弄清楚我们需要什么。 I see 得弄清楚 is a fairly common combination of words. Is 得弄 one word or 2 words here? Should I read de nong or dei nong? Should I translate the sentence to 'First we need to find ...
4
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4answers
295 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
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4answers
249 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 ...
4
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2answers
1k 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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4answers
674 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 :...
4
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1answer
123 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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3answers
334 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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2answers
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.
4
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2answers
446 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
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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 ...
4
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2answers
332 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
830 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
399 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 ...
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4answers
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 ...
3
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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? ...
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4answers
3k 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
211 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。
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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 ...
3
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3answers
914 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
557 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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5answers
308 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?
3
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4answers
258 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
votes
3answers
767 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
2answers
221 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.
3
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3answers
871 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"?
3
votes
1answer
437 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
284 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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2answers
85 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
232 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-...
3
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1answer
233 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
745 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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3answers
519 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?
3
votes
1answer
166 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
963 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
135 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
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3answers
934 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
298 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
219 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
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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
2answers
1k 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
4answers
716 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 ...