We’re rewarding the question askers & reputations are being recalculated! Read more.

Questions tagged [usage]

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

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1
vote
2answers
27 views

What is 装 and 连 doing in this paragraph about a newt in a glass from Matilda? E.g. 她再看那装着蝾螈的玻璃杯

This is from the Chinese version of Matilda (p.182): 那蝾螈仍旧在那个高玻璃杯装的水里扭来扭去,看起来让人极不舒服。杯子对它来说太小了。玛帝尔达看着特朗奇布尔,她多么恨她呀。她再看那装着蝾螈的玻璃杯,恨不得跑过去把它拿起来连蝾螈带水泼在特朗奇布尔的头上。她想到她真这样做了的话特朗奇布尔会怎样对待她,不禁发起抖来。 The original ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

When to use the single character vs double character form of a verb?

I know of many verbs that can be expressed as a single character or two characters (i.e. 说 & 说话). The issue is that I don't know when it is appropriate to use one of over the other. Is it ...
1
vote
4answers
62 views

What is the difference between 能 vs. 会? [duplicate]

What is the difference between 能 and 会? Don’t they both mean “could”? What is the difference between them?
5
votes
3answers
815 views

How to express “the” in Chinese

I'm trying to convey the sentence "我不会好好发音四个声调" But that more directly translates as "I cannot pronounce four tones well" which is a bit ambiguous... that begs the question, which four tones? I'm sure ...
1
vote
1answer
36 views

Where to place 了 when using an auxiliary verb?

In general when using auxiliary verbs, where the auxiliary verb is in the past tense while the main verb isn't. An example: Because I like to read Chinese books, I began teaching myself Mandarin. ...
1
vote
3answers
157 views

Difference between 说话 and 话说?

I previously already understood "说话" to mean "to speak" or something to that effect, but just recently I saw the term "话说" and was curious if it carried the same meaning (which is often the case I've ...
1
vote
5answers
97 views

How does 上 work as a verb?

From 标准教程HSK4上 page 111: The verb "上" means "to achieve or reach (a certain quantity or degree)", often followed by an object indicating quality. I feel a lot of discomfort with using this 上. (I'...
0
votes
1answer
32 views

What are the criteria used on dictionaries to decide word classes?

Mandarin is a complete MESS regarding word classes. I can't think of an example right now, but I'm completely sure there are some words that reach the point of being a noun, adjective, verb and adverb ...
0
votes
2answers
71 views

Why does 兴奋 (excitement) not mean what I think it means?

I wrote this: 我觉得小夏后悔过去的比赛,小夏回忆没进球也也许让一个好机会错过。所以小夏在房间里老坐着。马克想帮助小夏带他去足球比赛再体验足球的兴奋,让小夏高兴点儿。 My teacher made the following corrections (my question relates to the 5-th item below): she deleted the ...
0
votes
2answers
57 views

Why is there the first 看 in 她看都没看过我一眼?

From 标准教程HSK4上 (page 93): 她看都没看过我一眼,怎么样才能使她喜欢我呢? Google Translate is not great here, but it gives some idea of how it works. I think it translates to something like: She has never even ...
2
votes
6answers
66 views

What measure word should I use when I have two nouns with different measure words?

If someone asks me: 你在动物园看了几(___)老虎和马呀? Choose the correct answer: a) 个 b) 只 c) 匹 d) other ______ e) all of the above f) none of the above g) screw Chinese, I'm going to study Klingon Thanx!
3
votes
1answer
84 views

How do you cut different things in Chinese?

割 ge1, 剪 jian3 切 qie4, 刮 gua1, 砍 kan3, 斩 zhan3 Could you list the major things you can cut using these? And linguistic traps I shouldn't fall for (e.g. you cut fingernails with one but toenails with ...
0
votes
2answers
53 views

Is it essential to highlight the use of a metaphor with 像…那样 or something to this effect?

In the 标准教程HSK4上 book, chapter 6, 课文1, I felt 张远 was being annoying by asking a lot of questions about why 李进 didn't answer his phone. So I wrote: 如果别人不想接电话,不用审问TA。 My teacher was surprised by my ...
1
vote
3answers
95 views

What's wrong with 空调制冷得不太好 meaning “The air conditioner cools poorly”?

I thought 空调制冷得不太好 would be perfectly fine, using the grammar structure Subj. + Verb + 得 + Complement Chinese Grammar Wiki But there's no hits on Baidu for "制冷得不太好" which is a strong ...
0
votes
2answers
60 views

Why is 保证 in 价格还可以,就是不知道质量有没有保证?

Among the (artificial) dialogues in the HSK4上 book (page 53) is: 价格还可以,就是不知道质量有没有保证。 I translate this to The price is okay, it's just that I don't know if the quality is guaranteed. I don't ...
0
votes
3answers
60 views

Why is there both 另外 and 别 in the sentence 你还是另外找别人吧, and why does 另外 come before 找?

The following example sentence is from the book 标准教程 HSK 4上 (p.32): 最近小雨太忙了,没时间帮你,你还是[另外/另]找别人吧。 It means something to the effect of Recently Little Yu is too busy and has no time to help you, you ...
0
votes
2answers
52 views

How can I use the idiom 米已成炊 to explain “once I've told you, I can't un-tell you”?

I wrote the following: 我愿意告诉你我的故事,可是后来就跟米已成炊一样。 Basically, it was intended as a warning: I'm willing to tell you my story, but afterwards I can't un-tell you. My Chinese teacher indicated she ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

What kinds of things can be described as 丰富多彩 (richly colorful), and how do I describe them?

A while back, my teacher asked me to use 丰富多彩 ("richly colorful") in a sentence, but it wasn't received particularly well. The relevant part in my writing was ...丰富多彩地环境 and she said 各种颜色 was ...
0
votes
3answers
65 views

At what age is it inappropriate to call people 小李, 小王, 小刘, etc.? And is it different for males and females?

It's common for children to be referred to as 小李, 小王, 小刘, etc. in Chinese (basically 小[姓], where [姓] is the family name). I expect there is a certain age where it's no longer appropriate to call ...
1
vote
2answers
69 views

Does 差不多 (chàbùduō) imply “slightly less than” when comparing quantities?

差 implies a kind of deficiency, so I expect A比B差不多 to mean A is slightly "worse" than B in some way. For example, I would expect 我比你差不多高 to imply I am slightly shorter than you. I'm not sure ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Is it okay to say 我下一下 when e.g. getting off a bus?

Once I saw a woman get off a bus and I thought she said 我下一下 to inform the driver that she was getting off. However, I mentioned that to a Chinese friend, and he seemed to think it's weird, so it's ...
4
votes
2answers
161 views

到 vs 至, what is the key difference?

As if them sharing a common appearance isn't enough, yabla shows that they can for the most part be used interchangeably. Since they mean nearly the same exact thing with a few caveats, what is the ...
3
votes
3answers
74 views

What part of speech is 到 (to) when used in this case?

I was having trouble with the sentence "两只饿到眼绿的老鼠正在房梁上打架" because I could not understand the usage of 到 here. After I spent some time thinking I figure the meaning is that the rats were hungry to the ...
1
vote
4answers
79 views

When someone says 我帮你 (I help you), does it imply they will assist you in doing something, or they will do it for you?

My experiences in China suggests that when someone says 我帮你 Wǒ bāng nǐ I help you they will not only just "help" you, but do whatever it is for you. For example, someone might say 我帮你拿着 when ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

What is 给 doing in 你给宠坏了 and 一个人给丢在家里 (Matilda 玛蒂尔达, p.7)?

I bought the Chinese version of Matilda, and I'm confused about this: Specifically, I'm confused about why 给 (usually meaning "to give") is in these phrases: 你给宠坏了 You're getting spoiled [...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Is 憨豆先生 (Mr. Bean) commonly used to refer to Rowan Atkinson even when he's playing other characters, or when he's not acting?

Among the characters Rowan Atkinson has portrayed on TV and in movies is Mr. Bean, 憨豆先生 in Chinese. My impression is that people always call him 憨豆先生 (Mr. Bean) regardless of what role he is playing, ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

How to use 走勢 in finance/tech industry

I'm struggling to clearly understand how to use the term 走勢. I've been told that this translates to "trend" but I'm not clear if this suggests trend in terms of general popularity, or trend in terms ...
1
vote
2answers
69 views

How widespread is the idiom 蘑菇?

I have seen the word for mushroom [蘑菇, mógū] to be an action such as dilly dally. Is this an inherent idiom in the written language apparent across a large spectrum of dialect, whereas the word ...
1
vote
3answers
94 views

What exactly does 拆开 mean and is it commonly used?

I've been trying to figure out how exactly to use 拆开 and what it means since I saw it in a song: Mine, Mine by 周杰伦. In the song, the translation i got was disassembling which i would think to be like ...
2
votes
1answer
117 views

Why is 砼 considered to be dated?

I saw the word 商砼 written all over a large vehicle but Pleco Basic Chinese-English Dictionary defines 砼 as: NOUN DATED concrete I'm curious as to why they say 砼 is dated, I couldn't find a ...
0
votes
3answers
58 views

遮 versus 捂 versus 盖 in terms of usage

Let's say I want to cover my ears. Is it 捂住耳朵, 遮住耳朵 or 盖住耳朵? And then if I want to say cover up a situation, is it 遮住事情 or 遮盖事情?
0
votes
1answer
33 views

What is the proper order to list the noun and adjective when using 的

I've learned that 的 can be used to say that some noun has some quality, for instance 你说的太快了 is saying that 你说 (your speech) has the quality of being 太快了 (too fast) or in other words "You speak too ...
3
votes
2answers
82 views

What are the differences between 本 and 版 when it comes to edition

I’ve found that 本 and 版 can be used to describe the edition of a published material, but do they have any differences between them? If they have, please give some examples
1
vote
3answers
105 views

How to say 反常识的 in English?

How to properly translate 反常识的 to English in academic writing? I want to express a surprising and unusual phenomenon that shouldn't appear in an experiment, which is not expected and against the ...
2
votes
2answers
341 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, ...
0
votes
2answers
47 views

敢于 vs 勇于 difference in usage

may I ask if 敢于 and 勇于 are interchangeable words? In English, both of them mean dare to, have the courage to do something. I looked up some sentences involving both words and it seems to be used in a ...
0
votes
1answer
36 views

Why is there repetition of the measure words in 一把把小扇子 and 一枚枚邮票? [duplicate]

This is from my 3-rd grade Chinese 语文 book (transcript is here): 秋天的雨,有一盒五彩缤纷的颜料。你看,它把黄色给了银杏树,黄黄的叶子像一把把小扇子,扇哪扇哪,扇走了夏天的炎热。它把红色给了枫树,红红的枫叶像一枚枚邮票,飘哇飘哇,邮来了秋天的凉爽。金黄色是给田野的,看,田野像金色的海洋。橙红色是给果树的,橘子、柿子你挤我碰,...
3
votes
1answer
40 views

What are the differences between 违犯 and 违反?

Both 违犯 and 违反 share the meaning to violate. What are the differences between these two?
1
vote
2answers
52 views

Differences between 移民 and 移居

The two words 移民 and 移居 are really confusing to me, I’ve searched the dictionary but they are still vague to me. Can someone help me with the use of these 2 words and add some examples?
2
votes
2answers
131 views

孤单 vs 孤独 vs 寂寞 usage

so far I went through a few forums to look at existing questions on 孤单 vs. 孤独 vs. 寂寞 usage. The answers from each person have a bit of difference so I would like to check if what I understood so far ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Various uses of the English “for” to indicate purpose

The sentences below all use the word "for" to indicate purpose. I tried to think of a few sentences that may use "for" a little bit differently. Can you help me understand how to use "for" in Chinese? ...
3
votes
3answers
144 views

无聊 vs 闷 differences in usage

I have been trying to figure out if 无聊 and 闷 have some difference in terms of usages. So I have thought of some scenarios below. "Decribing an activity". If I want to say this activity is very ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Is 来自 a 口语 or 书面语?

Is 来自 used in daily conversations? For example, if I want to say "I come from Malaysia." Should the sentence be 我来自马来西亚。or 我是从马来西亚来的。?
1
vote
2answers
66 views

Why do we use 做 in this sentence as “being”?

Sentence: 我太喜欢和他做朋友了 How can we use 做 in this meaning in other sentences? Where can I read more about it and what is the name of this "rule"? And what is the meaning of the 了 in this sentence?
0
votes
3answers
98 views

忍耐 vs 忍受 usage/difference

Based on the dictionary, 忍耐 = endure, bear with, restraint oneself while 忍受 = bear, endure. But when I look at sample sentences, the usage of both words sort of overlap each other. So how do I use ...
1
vote
2answers
55 views

之后 vs 过后 usage & differences

Based on the dictionary, 之后 = after, afterwards while 过后 = afterwards, after. I wanted to find the difference in usage between those two words, so I analysed some sample sentences. I feel like 过后 is ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

倔强 vs 固执 vs 顽固 usage

The dictionary says that 倔强 = stubborn, 固执 = stubborn, 顽固 =obstinate, stubborn. I looked up some sample sentences and felt like 倔强 and 固执 are synonyms. So are 倔强 and 固执 synonyms or do they have some ...
2
votes
2answers
119 views

脑袋 vs 脑子 vs 头脑 vs 脑筋

Based on the dictionary, I get the meaning that all 4 words mean brain, mind, head. So what's the difference between each of the words? And what is the usage of each word? It will be really helpful if ...
5
votes
5answers
178 views

What's the difference between 兵器 and 武器?

According to the dictionary, 兵器 = weapons, weaponry while 武器 = weapons, arms. It sounds like they are synonyms to me so I was wondering if those two words are synonyms or do they have some difference ...
2
votes
2answers
62 views

The word for clean (verb)

I usually see adjectives like 干净 and 清洁 for clean but I couldn't find a general verb for clean in Chinese. Let's say I want to say. "please clean your room before you leave". What's the right clean(...