Questions tagged [usage]

Questions about the use of expressions, parts of speech, words, verbs, etc.

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738 views

Etymology of 奇 and 怪

I am going through the word 奇. Mandarin Temple had mentioned, learning hint as “a person riding a horse”. Is this only learning hint? Or is it also etymologically correct? What is the exact etymology ...
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86 views

How the meaning is derived for 得意忘形?

How the meaning is derived for 得意忘形? 得意忘形 déyìwàngxíng grow dizzy with success; be carried away by one's success so pleased as to lose one's sense of measure
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86 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。” ...
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49 views

profanities in written cantonese blurred out

I was watching a youtube video published by a famous populist news channel from Hong Kong. The topic was about food and featured comments from viewers saying that it "was F***ing delicious". ...
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1answer
74 views

Why 看 is used in 我看得目瞪口呆?

Going through this sentence. 我看得目瞪口呆。I was stunned/dumbfounded. 看 means see, why see in this sentence?
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3answers
81 views

Where can the phrase 给点面子 be used? I was wondering if it has a cultural element that I’m missing

我在抖音上看到一部视频说这段话的意思是“Cut me some slack”但是我觉得有点我尚未不知的文化精神,而英语翻译不完全掌握那个感觉。请说明一下这段话是否有什么特殊!谢谢~
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96 views

Why is 来 used in “因为‘东西’一般不能用来表示人”?

Why is 来 used in the following sentence? For some context, this is a line from a text used in the second workbook of the New Practical Chinese Reader series (pg. 93). In the text a teacher is ...
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2answers
134 views

What is the point of 的 in '你也是大学生?你是什么专业的'?

I'm trying to understand 是。。。的 constructions. The page on such constructions at Chinese Grammar Wiki explains one way to use 是。。。的: This is the most simple way to use 是 with 的: you drop the noun and ...
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1answer
64 views

What to reply to “祝你好运” (I wish you good luck)?

Does "祝你好运!" expect any "predefined" reply? Which one? If not, what should be replied? Would just "谢谢" be appropriate?
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69 views

Why is there a 去 in 我们需要确保社交距离去保护您和我们的员工?

My friend took a photo of this Chinese sign in Australia: (click to enlarge) It's a formal, long-winded way of saying "stay 1.5 meters apart". Specifically it says: 亲爱的顾客: 根据澳洲政府规定,...
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2answers
118 views

多大 or 多少?Which should be used when and where?

多大 or 多少? Could these two terms be used interchangeably, and if not what is the difference between them? When should they be used?
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143 views

In the novel 猫城记, why does 老舍 use 的 (instead of 地) for adverbs?

From the first chapter of 猫城记 by 老舍, we see examples where 的 is used where I would expect to use 地 (to indicate an adverb): 我应当先去挖坑,但是我没有去挖,只呆呆的看着四外,从泪中看着四外。 动是我自己不能负责的,现在想来,这或者是最近情理的解释与自恕。 鸟儿下来一只。...
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63 views

Are verbs more difficult than nouns in Chinese?

Generally speaking,verbs need more grammar explanations, but nouns don't. Does it mean that verbs are more difficulty than nouns or vice vasa?
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68 views

Is the 了 in 你几岁了? a change-of-state 了?

There's a simple question we ask kids: 你几岁了? How old are you? It's possible to ask it without the 了, i.e., 你几岁?. This makes me think this 了 is a change-of-state 了. It may just be a kind of "...
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69 views

How do you ask “How old is it?”

When commenting on a used article for sale, how do you simply ask how old the item is? Is "它多大了?" Correct?
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130 views

Is “贪得无厌” the best choice for this sentence?

This is the original text: Drifters of this world are the collectors of forgotten knowledge, lost technologies and broken histories. Our Drifter is haunted by an insatiable illness, traveling further ...
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57 views

Is “毁灭” the best word to use here?

I am trying to translate this sentence: Explore a beautiful, vast and ruined world riddled with dangers and lost technologies. After consulting Google Translate, this is what I came up with: 探索一个美丽,...
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117 views

Did I use 的 correctly for 少的孩子?

'因为父母不用花钱给很多小孩,他们可以花多一点钱给少的孩子。" The sentence does not sound correct. I want to say "spend more money on fewer children," but I don't know how to do it?
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53 views

What is so problematic about the homophones 预订 and 预定 when negotiating contracts?

I was talking to one of the staff members at LTL Mandarin, and she mentioned that when negotiating contracts (e.g. when moving house) there is an important difference between the following homophones: ...
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1answer
165 views

How Did 是 Come to Mean “To Be”?

I have been looking into the etymology of the character 是. The site Chinese Etymology notes that this character was: "originally meaning straight or correct. The sun 旦 rises or 早 in the correct 正 ...
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227 views

What is the difference between 吃不消 and 受不了 to mean “I cannot bear”?

I came across these two expressions "吃不消" and "受不了", both translated as "cannot stand / cannot bear". My impression is that 吃不消 refers more to physical circumstances, ...
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1answer
85 views

What is the function of “一” in the sentence 要上山,只有这一条路?

I came across this sentence: 要上山,只有这一条路 Is there a rule when to throw in a 一? In detail: What exactly is the function of 一 in this sentence ? Could I also simply say 要上山,只有这条路 ? Sometimes I come ...
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61 views

Difference between 现在几岁 and 今年几岁

Are these two expressions considered different? Because my birthday is at the end of the year, I always considered 今年几岁 to be age at the end of the year, whereas 现在 is age from the most recent ...
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4answers
151 views

Is the term 有色人种 (“colored races”) normally used by Chinese people?

和奥巴马一起帮民主党候选人拉票的还有佐治亚州前州长候选人艾布拉姆斯。拜登能在此次大选中让佐治亚州“翻蓝”,艾布拉姆斯功不可没。她在2018年的州长选举中惜败,之后一直在佐治亚州多个地方组织动员新选民,特别是鼓励有色人种选民投票。此外,拜登表示他将参与佐治亚州参议员的竞选活动,但没有指明具体时间。 美两党为控制参议院再战佐治亚,2020年12月07日 I was reading the ...
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1answer
206 views

When should one use a mixture of simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese?

See the photos above. Both simplified and traditional Chinese are used. Is there a general rule regarding when should one use a mixture of both? Or is it always a bad practice to mix these twos?
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145 views

Confusions about 虽然 and 即使

I'm a Chinese native, but even though I can't figure out the differences between 虽然 and 即使 clearly. Here're definitions of these two words in 现代汉语词典 (Modern Chinese Dictionary) (Edition VI). 【虽然】...
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3answers
1k views

What’s the difference between 二五 and 二十五?

Can I just say 二五 when I’m talking or counting instead of 二十五? Will it make a difference between the two of them? Or is it because 二五 is like everyday speech (informal) and 二十五 (formal) for writing? I ...
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2answers
116 views

In a 还是 question, do I need to repeat the verb?

I'm learning Chinese from a book, and there are some examples regarding the use of 还是. In some cases, the verb is repeated, like in 你喝茶还是喝咖啡? (note the two 喝 here). In other places, the second ...
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5answers
1k views

Outside of Chinese class, do people ask 你家有几口人?

Among one of the earliest questions people learn to answer when studying Chinese is 你家有几口人? How many people are in your household? However, despite living in China for years, I don't recall a ...
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1answer
173 views

How do you know when will the verb be paired with 对?

For example: 我对父母很体贴(✓) 我很体贴我的父母(x) 我很关心我的父母(✓) (The example is given by my teacher but i don't know the reason) Hope you understand my question 🥺
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60 views

In 林业、农业、草原、海洋、资源、环境等行业, what industries does 草原 (“grassland”) and 海洋 (“ocean”) refer to, and why not use 农业 (“agriculture”) and 渔业 (“fishing”)?

“一箭九星”包含B站视频星 记者了解到,本次发射的“吉林一号”高分03-1组卫星由长光卫星有限公司自主研发,包括3颗高分03C视频星和6颗高分03B推扫星,视频星中包括将用于科普的哔哩哔哩视频卫星。该组卫星将与在轨的“吉林一号”卫星组网,为林业、农业、草原、海洋、资源、环境等行业用户提供更加丰富的遥感数据和产品服务。 海上飞天!一箭九星!我国首次海上商业化应用发射成功!,2020年09月15日 ...
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2answers
387 views

What's the difference between 让, 令 and 使?

I am in doubt whether 让, 令 and 使 are interchangeable, and if not, how to differentiate their use. What I understood so far: 让 tends to be used in spoken language and it's pretty universal, meaning to ...
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1answer
61 views

What's the difference between 一下子,一刹那,and 一时

I know the usage of 一下子 but I don't really understand about 一刹那 and 一时
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2answers
120 views

Why "我想了退这件新买的毛衣。” is wrong?

The correct sentence is "我想退了这件新买的毛衣。" But why? Please do not use grammar jargon because I seldom understand them. I have been teaching Mandarin with grammar included but never mention and ...
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2answers
84 views

Why can some words such as 安宁 be either a noun or a adjective?

This is just one of the many examples where I noticed this, but with these words, does that mean I can say something like: 我找到我心里的安宁 or something along those lines and treat it as if it were a noun, ...
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4answers
91 views

Why does 中 come first in order when it is in the middle (i.e.: 中小、中前)?

The following phrases sometimes give me pause: 中小学 中前期 The first phrase, 中小学, is a backwards(?) combination of elementary and middle school. The second phrase is seemingly another backwards(?) ...
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1answer
70 views

What are some examples of stative -le and iterative aspect in Mandarin?

I'm a graduate student studying how bilinguals interpret certain aspectual expressions in Mandarin. I'm currently preparing all of my stimuli, but I'm hoping for some help from native speakers since I'...
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2answers
85 views

Why is 都 placed after a verb in “什么时候还都可以”?

I found this example: 你拿着用吧,什么时候还都可以。 Nǐ ná zheyòng ba, shénme shíhòu huán dōu kěyǐ. You can have it as long as you want. I am confused about the grammar structure behind 什么时候还都可以 (literally: any ...
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3answers
425 views

What is the difference between 还是 and 还?

What is the difference between 还是 and 还? Is 还 the short of 还是 and, consequently, they are interchangeable in every situation, only in some cases or never? For reference, I will list the different ...
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2answers
92 views

Is it possible to combine 起来 and 住在?

I came across the following sentence: 这个房子住起来不舒服。 Zhège fángzi zhù qǐlái bu shūfú. This house seems uncomfortable to live. I think in this sentence, 起来 indicates an initial judgement, i.e. like in ...
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2answers
158 views

Differences between “Verb + Adj”, “Adj + Verb”, “Verb + 得 + Adj” and “Adj + 地 + Verb”?

I am having some difficulties understanding the differences in meaning between the following structures (the examples are from Line dictionary): Verb + Adj e.g: 走快了她会累。 Zŏu kuài le tā huì lĕi. ...
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5answers
248 views

Difference between using 被 and the object in the topic position?

I just learned about the preposition 被 bèi to express passive voice. If we have a S-V-O sentence, we can reexpress it using the 被 structure as O-被-(S)-V. This introduces a passive voice into the ...
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1answer
97 views

When does 一会儿 go before / after the verb?

I have seen some sentences where 一会儿 (yīhuìr), meaning in a while / in a moment, is placed before the verb and in some others, after the verb. Is there some rule for deciding the position, are both ...
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1answer
94 views

Why 这么 / 那么 are placed before the action verb?

I have some confusion with the use of 这么 (this, so) and 那么 (that, so). I found these examples (from Pleco): 大家都这么说。 Dàjiā dōu zhème shuō. Everyone says this / so. 你不该那么做。 Nǐ bù gāi nàme zuò. You ...
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75 views

What's the difference between 开 and 举办 when used for the meaning “to hold an event”?

What is the difference between 开 and 举办 in the following sentence? They both mean "to hold". Can you use both for big events like 奥运会 or little events like 派对 or 聚会 ? 每年开两次运动会,一次是水上运动会,...
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4answers
134 views

What is the function of 一次 in “去一次”?

I came across these translated examples: [Talking about a place]: 明年夏天我打算去一次。 Mínɡnián xiàtiān wǒ dǎsuàn qù yí cì。 I plan to go there next summer. 三年以前我去过上海,去年我又去了一次,明年我想再去一次。 Sān nián yǐqián wǒ ...
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2answers
78 views

What's the difference between 检测 and 检查?

Google translate gives "discover" and "detect" for "检测" as well as "examination" and "checking" for "检查". When talking about COVID-19, ...
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80 views

When to use 很 vs 非常?

What is the difference between using 很 and 非常? For example: 猫和狗都非常可爱 and 猫和狗都很可爱。Is there any difference? Which one should I use with 漂亮?
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2answers
115 views

What is the difference between 几月几号 and 几号?

What is the difference between 几月几号 and 几号, when asking about the date? Like 今天几月几号? or 今天几号?
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8answers
714 views

吃 Vs. 喝 in this sentence: 既然敬酒不吃那就吃罚酒

So I watched a movie, in this sentence why did they use 吃 rather than 喝?

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