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Questions tagged [phrase]

A phrase is a group of words that form a single unit in the syntax of a sentence.

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24 votes
5 answers
54k views

What is the exact meaning of 吃豆腐, and where does the expression come from?

I'm not talking about eating tofu, but the expression that means something more like taking advantage of someone. What exactly does 吃豆腐 mean, and where does this expression come from?
Ciaocibai's user avatar
  • 4,626
14 votes
6 answers
9k views

What's the difference between 对不起, 对不住 and 不好意思

When I was in China, I heard people using 不好意思 to apologize casually. I also heard the expression 对不住 in TV series and movies. Is there any differences?
OOEngineer's user avatar
4 votes
6 answers
659 views

What is 了 doing in 这个表快了+time?

I am confused about the 了 in the sentence: 这个表快了五分钟。 Zhèɡe biǎo kuàile wǔ fēnzhōnɡ. This watch is running five minutes faster. Clearly there is no change of state. Is it for completion? I don't ...
Puco4's user avatar
  • 2,142
10 votes
4 answers
686 views

Does Chinese have a phrase equivalent to "For all I know"?

There is an expression in English: "For all I know, ...." The following clause often has a modal expressing uncertainty or the hypothetical nature of the assertion, like "might", ...
Stumpy Joe Pete'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
  • 2,142
10 votes
6 answers
1k views

犬子: who's the dog?

犬子 (literally, dog + son) is an archaic, self-depreciatory term to refer to your son (occasionally it's used to insult other people's sons). This answer raises a question though; who is the dog ...
congusbongus's user avatar
  • 8,592
5 votes
3 answers
651 views

Can an adverb modify another adverb in Chinese?

I was wondering if an adverb in Chinese can be used to modify another adverb. I looked some resources but I could not find it. For example, in Adverb in resources.allsetlearning, they just say "...
Puco4's user avatar
  • 2,142
4 votes
4 answers
3k views

What are the normal forms of valediction (signing off letters and emails) in Chinese?

For example, how do they normally sign off letters? We normally use 'Yours Faithfully' or 'Your Sincerely' but we might not be so formal in emails and instead just 'Regards'. What is standard ...
jaffa's user avatar
  • 856
3 votes
2 answers
544 views

我昨天去的图书馆: "The library I went to yesterday" or "I went to the library yesterday"?

Not long ago (a week at most), I bumped into this post by Qiong Woo on Quora. There, she says the two sentences 我昨天去图书馆的 and 我昨天去的图书馆 both mean "I went to the library yesterday", and, from the way she ...
MickG'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
  • 629
3 votes
5 answers
2k views

Is "我爱辣" (Wǒ ài là) a correct/understandable/idiomatic way of saying I like my food spicy?

When I'm buying food in China, especially in the street but sometimes also in restaurants, people often ask me if it want "là". I know that means "spicy" and I really enjoy spicy food. As there's not ...
hippietrail's user avatar
  • 4,035
2 votes
3 answers
225 views

Passive object position in 是...的 structure?

I came across the following sentences: 电话是谁打来的? Diànhuà shì shuí dǎlái de? Who was calling? 晚饭是妈妈做的。 Wǎnfàn shì māma zuò de. Mom made dinner. Which literally is something like: The phone call was ...
Puco4's user avatar
  • 2,142
1 vote
2 answers
378 views

Is "空时间" a valid phrase in chinese? If not, why not?

For example, "你有没有空时间呢"? In my intuition, 空时间 is most likely a physics terminology (though it isn't).
Voyager's user avatar
  • 456
1 vote
2 answers
100 views

What does 风轻发自然 mean here?

At the beginning of this video, there is an introduction to the story of the singer, Lin Zijun. Here it is: 客家新流行乐创作歌手 2007[天黑黑]获苗栗客家音乐歌唱比赛    第三名 2006[匍背]获台湾创音乐大赛    客语首奖 ...
MickG's user avatar
  • 2,310