Questions tagged [meaning-in-context]

Questions about understanding words or phrases within a given context.

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Why does 他吃了饭 sound incomplete?

As I study usage of different aspects markers in Chinese, I started to realize that my problems with those markers come from simple fact that: "I don't see any use in them." Reason for this is: ...
coobit's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
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也 和 并 与 及 跟 而 同 difference? [closed]

I have read about connectives 也 和 并 与 及 and asked some questions about them but still I'm somewhat not satisfied with my understanding. Let me summarize my knowledge: 1. 与 connects: nouns only (...
coobit's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
2k views

When to use 一倍 vs 两倍

I would like to have a clarification on this: I know that 倍 means "-times, -fold", but I don't understand why 一倍 seems to mean "twice as (fast)" in the following sentence: 开车最少比骑自行车快一倍。 while we ...
pg-robban's user avatar
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10 votes
4 answers
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How to correctly use "多" to say "more than"?

I know a similar question has already been answered but I still have a lot of doubts. To my understanding if a number is ≤9, you need to put "多" after the measure word (or after the name if it doesn'...
Don't Care's user avatar
6 votes
5 answers
644 views

Is the sentence "我们要怎么去机场?" ambiguous?

我们要怎么去机场? The translation given is "How do we get to the airport?", but since 怎么 can also mean "why", can this sentence also be translated as "Why are we going to the airport?" I'm probably missing ...
dr Hannibal Lecter's user avatar
6 votes
11 answers
3k views

What is the purpose of 是 in "我应该是感冒了"?

I came across the following translated example: 我应该是感冒了,耳朵也有点儿疼,不过没发烧。 Wǒ yīnɡɡāi shì ɡǎnmào le,ěrduo yě yǒudiǎnr ténɡ,búɡuò méi fāshāo 。 I think I caught a cold, and my ears are a little painful, ...
Puco4's user avatar
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4 votes
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What is the meaning of 一看 in 打开盒子一看,里面是一只小猫?

打开盒子一看,里面是一只小猫 Is it the same as 看看 or 看一看?
Don't Care's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
105 views

What does 騷債 mean?

I understand 債 means debt, because context fits. Louisa Mak won TVB's 2015 Miss Hong Kong first place. TVB has credited Louisa money, publicity, fame. So it's reasonable for reporter to ask if she ...
user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
701 views

Is it permissible to use 个 in any nouns as a measure word?

In the book titled "Modern Mandarin Chinese Grammar: A Practical Guide", the author writes the following: In mainland China, in informal speech, 个 can be used as the classifier for almost ...
Blaszard's user avatar
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2 votes
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开始和起来有什么不同?to start + verb

When used with another verb 开始 and 起来 both convey the meaning: to start doing something. Are they synonymous in that specific usage?
Averroes's user avatar
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What's the difference between 我是老师 or 我当老师?

Sometimes when I take a 滴滴打车 taxi to the university campus, the driver asks me if I'm a student, and I reply something along the lines of: 我是老师 I'm a teacher Wǒ shì lǎoshī As far as I can tell,...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
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How to state unpleasantness in written form? let becomes make

In English, unpleasantness can be stated by changing let to make. Classmate sharing pleasant things to classmate: My parents let me eat chocolates. 我父母让我吃巧克力 Classmate complaining to classmate: ...
Michael Buen's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
114 views

What does 来 mean in 他想一切办法来验证这个理论 and 我们设了个陷阱来抓狐狸?

I have come across two sentences independently which seem to use 来 in a similar fashion, but one I am not sure I can identify: 他想一切办法来验证这个理论 我们设了个陷阱来抓狐狸 Is this somewhat similar to 起来, as in ...
MrVocabulary's user avatar
16 votes
4 answers
1k views

What does "老" in "老虎" and "老鼠" mean

As I remember, 虎 and 鼠 are standalone nouns, meaning tiger and mouse, respectively. However, it seems that 老虎 and 老鼠 are more commonly used. Why is 老 used as a prefix for 虎 and 鼠? Why do we use 獅子 ...
Thomas Hsieh's user avatar
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14 votes
1 answer
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Do 和 and 及 refer to two different kinds of "ands?"

At one level, they both mean "and." At another level, 和 also means "peace," while 及 means "to extend." This suggests different usages. Is one used to connect nouns, while the other is used to connect ...
Tom Au's user avatar
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11 votes
4 answers
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Difference between 合适 and 适合

Both 合适 and 适合 mean to fit/to suit. I know the grammatical form needed for each one is different: 在这个情况下,你在穿的衣服就不合适。 我在找一个适合我的女孩子。 Aside of that, I have been told they cannot be used ...
noe's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
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What is the difference between 对不起, 请问, 不好意思, and 抱歉 to express "excuse me" or "sorry"?

I always wonder whether there is any difference between these four terms to say "excuse me" or "sorry". The difference between 对不起 and 不好意思 is explained in this question, but I'm not sure about the ...
Blaszard's user avatar
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7 votes
4 answers
562 views

Meaning of 则是 in 而段剑则是神情严肃地站在聂离的身边

My vocabulary states that 则是 means: "then is". However I don't understand how to translate the following sentence: 而段剑则是神情严肃地站在聂离的身边。 I can translate it perfectly fine by omitting 则是, so not sure ...
Lex's user avatar
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8 answers
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What role does 成 (chéng) play in the sentence 我把十块美元换成人民币?

A jukuu.com example sentence for 人民币 is: 我把十块美元换成人民币 I change ten dollars into Renminbi (Wǒ bǎ shí kuài měiyuán huàn chéng rénmínbì) Question: What role does 成 play in the sentence ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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7 votes
4 answers
260 views

央行行长会: Is the second 行 necessary?

央行行长会 - A Meeting of the Heads of Central Banks. Is the second 行 necessary? If not why not? Does 央行长 mean "Head of a Central Bank" or is it necessary to say the equivalent of "Bank-Head of a Central ...
jsj's user avatar
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6 votes
4 answers
283 views

What does "青年文明号" mean?

Usually you can see in China, some buses, banks, hospitals and other service outlets have a sign attached to them, reading 青年文明号, that is quite beyond me. Especially the word 号 what does it mean here? ...
NanningYouth's user avatar
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6 votes
6 answers
6k views

Is “事出必有因” the most accurate translation for "everything happens for a reason"?

Is “事出必有因” the most accurate translation for "everything happens for a reason"? If not, what is it?
john's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
247 views

How to translate the phrase 利而物利章 in context?

I am reading a passage from 呂氏春秋. I think I understand the basic meaning of the three first quarters, but then it becomes difficult. The hard part is the tiny snippet below and especially the last ...
Ludi's user avatar
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Why is 饰界 used to mean "hinges" in a 1908 book?

I've got this translation here: The door turns on its hinges. 门靠着饰界转 I'm assuming 饰界 matches up with hinges. It's not a word I've encountered before or that's readily searchable online. The ...
Mou某's user avatar
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5 votes
2 answers
161 views

How do I resolve dictionary ambiguities when looking up words/phrases?

More often than not, looking up a simple word in a dictionary brings up several translations. It's pretty obvious that a lot of people have problems with this since a lot of questions here are "what ...
dr Hannibal Lecter's user avatar
5 votes
3 answers
3k views

What does 我们已经帮您踩过了 mean in this peculiarly translated escalator sticker?

I have this funny image which I believe says: 这块位置 我们已经帮您踩过了! I took this photo in Tianjin, nearby an escalator. Google Translate says it means: This location. We've helped you step over! ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
453 views

What is the meaning of "一把把" on "他更是一把把她的书包给枪了过去“?

I think that I understand the overall meaning of the sentence: He forcibly stole her bag and ran away. But I'm not sure about that part (一把把), neither its meaning nor its grammatical function (I'm not ...
oscarah's user avatar
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4 votes
4 answers
2k views

Who should be counted when responding to 你家有几口人 (nǐjiā yǒu jǐkǒurén) "how many people are there in your family"?

An early question in Chinese people learn is: 你家有几口人? How many people are there in your family? (nǐjiā yǒu jǐkǒurén) My Chinese text book contains these example responses: 五口人。他们是我爸爸,我哥哥,我弟弟和我。你呢?(...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
374 views

Can I use a verb+的 construction to imply an item/noun?

I'm often don't which noun to use, but I can think of a verb to describe it. I know that 吃的 (to eat + 的) means food, so I was wondering if I can use it with other verbs as well, like 洗澡的 (to bathe + ...
Friso's user avatar
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4 votes
5 answers
243 views

How does 也 work in 宁愿冻死也不穿?

In the following sentence: 很多人因为害怕穿秋裤显胖,宁愿冻死也不穿。 What does 也 mean in the sentence? The entire sentence should mean something like the following: Because of the fear that wearing one more pants ...
Blaszard's user avatar
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4 votes
2 answers
522 views

What does 才 mean in 妈妈说,鼻子长才是漂亮?

What does 才 mean in this sentence? 妈妈说,鼻子长才是漂亮。 (Quote taken from a nursery rhyme.) After looking in the dictionary my best guess is that it means "just" or "only", so as to make ...
jsj's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
217 views

Is "投个好胎" a proper set phrase/idiom? What does it mean?

I'm trying to understand it by finding the meaning behind each word but failed miserably. What I got from MDBG: 投 (tóu): to cast / to send / to throw oneself (into the river etc) / to seek refuge ...
Fai91's user avatar
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3 votes
5 answers
1k views

What is the meaning of 的 in "有一天你会明白的"?

From Why is 的 used in 你是哪一天出生的 and 我们什么时候开始的 and 前天你什么时候来的这里?, I understand 的 at the end of a sentence describes an event that happened in the past. However, I am not sure whether I understand the ...
O Connor's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
208 views

Meaning of 的 and 之 when both are used in the same sentence

I’m reading a text in which 的 and 之 are sometimes used in the same sentence, in seemingly equivalent or exchangeable function and position. But I’m sure the author had good reasons to choose the ...
Philipp's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
401 views

What is the difference between qi3 and qi3 lai2?

In both situations my pen is now on a table. Speaking to another person, why do we say: 1) Qing3 na2 qi3 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起我的笔。 Not: 2) Qing3 na2 qi3 lai2 wo3 de5 bi3. 请拿起来我的笔。 How does the ...
Mike Butler's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
279 views

Is there any difference between 见到 and 见着?

Person 1 says: 我不想再见到你 Person 2 says: 谁想再见着你 Why does Person 1 use the word 见到 and Person 2 use the word 见着? Is there any different meaning between using 见到 and 见着 in this context?
O Connor's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
345 views

Can you still use "Number + MW + 多" when the Number can be more than one MW larger?

I have a doubt related to these questions: Does 多 always come after the measure word?, How to correctly use "多" to say "more than"? In the answers, they explain you can give an ...
Puco4's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there any difference between 想, 觉得 and 以为?

想, 觉得,以为 all mean to think. But is there any subtle difference between the three or tense difference? When would you be more likely to use them in context?
S.L's user avatar
  • 157
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
2 votes
3 answers
94 views

The function of 慢行 in 减速慢行

I understand that the phrase 减速慢行 simply means "slow down", but I'm not sure why 慢行 is there, since 减速 solely can (at least in my non-native logic) express the idea of "slowing down&...
AllenZ's user avatar
  • 23
2 votes
2 answers
278 views

Is 让 more [make] than [let]?

Based on someone’s answer on question regarding how to state unpleasantness in Chinese: 让 (to make) implies "to force/ to order". If something has to be forced upon you, that something is most ...
Michael Buen's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
992 views

之 grammar and usage

Reading through the text as below. The zhi below is used to modify 路 of 人生? (way/road/path of life)? what exactly 之 in the two places? “每个人都有自己的人生之路,只有把握时间,勤于奋斗,不畏艰辛的人才能走好这条路。要走好人生之路,首先要懂得珍惜时间。” ...
user27485's user avatar
  • 645
1 vote
2 answers
425 views

In “一网打尽” what does 尽 mean?

一网打尽 yīwǎngdǎjìn lit. to catch everything in the one net. In this sentence what does 尽 means? how to easily remember the meaning by seeing the character without wild guess and imagining etymological ...
user27485's user avatar
  • 645
1 vote
2 answers
541 views

Does 汉语书 (Hànyǔ shū) "Chinese book" only mean "a book for learning Chinese", or can it also mean "a book in Chinese"?

In English, a Chinese book could mean either: a book for learning Chinese, or a book which is in Chinese, but (without additional context) we'd ordinarily consider the former interpretation as more ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
77 views

Did the man lock up his 6-year old son at home overnight? (把6岁大的儿子一个人锁在家里整整一夜)

This question is about 后来才知道 in the following sentence: 他为了帮我,把6岁大的儿子一个人锁在家里整整一夜,彻底感动了我,交往不到一年,我们结婚了。 ... bǎ 6 suì dà de érzi yīgè rén suǒ zài jiālǐ zhěngzhěng yīyè ... 嫁给离婚带孩子的男人 我的生活只剩下两个字, ...
Becky 李蓓's user avatar
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1 vote
2 answers
212 views

What does 即 mean in ...Google在ICML文中描述的非常清晰,即在每次SGD时...?

According to the top answer over 知乎 on the question 深度学习中 Batch Normalization为什么效果好?: 顾名思义,batch normalization嘛,就是“批规范化”咯。Google在ICML文中描述的非常清晰,即在每次SGD时,通过mini-batch来对相应的activation做规范化操作,使得结果(...
Blaszard's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
136 views

What does 其 add to 尤其?

尤 and 尤其 both mean "particularly, especially", correct? Then isn't 其 redundant? What role does 其 serve? Oxford Chinese Dictionary (2010) p 906.
user avatar
0 votes
5 answers
406 views

What does 高举旗帜 mean?

In the latest document of the 19th National Congress of CPC, 高举。。。旗帜 was translated as “hold high the banner of...", and the translated work was said to have been revised and finalized by experts who ...
NanningYouth's user avatar
  • 2,624
0 votes
2 answers
76 views

Meaning of 的 in 只有三个得满分的

The full sentence is 他考得很好,得了满分。听说只有三个得了满分的。 I get a bit confused with 的. I understand that the sentence means “there are only 3 people that get full marks.” Please help me out. Thank you guys :D
Jenny's user avatar
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