Questions tagged [usage]

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

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66 views

Could you give me some examples of work slangs?

I'd like to know some idioms that are used at work by workmates or bosses.
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Is my translation of “I think Disney has a big influence on people's expectations of love” accurate?

新年快乐,大家! I'm a long-time user of Stack Overflow for coding problems, but a noob on Chinese SE. I was trying to say recently "I think Disney has a big influence on people's expectations of love". ...
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What does “射個三分波” mean?

I was watching a video from Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper, and they mentioned the phrase in question as such: “港鐵就射個三分波 叫我們問政府”. My guess is that 三分波 refers to an action in some sport, possibly ...
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What is the usage of 有 in 有比丘五下分結盡?

Here is the phrase, it is from Buddhist scripture: 有比丘五下分結盡 I know 有 as "to be", "to have", and as often serving as a translation for the Sanskrit bhāva. Is this usage something like "being monks, [...
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What is the purpose of 并 in 他虽然并不聪明, 可是很努力?

I have a sentence that I can't quite grasp the meaning of. The sentence is: 他虽然并不聪明, 可是很努力。 It's an example from a Mandarin Chinese textbook I'm using, teaching the usages of 虽然 ~ 可/但(是). I ran ...
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Why do we use 做 in 我太喜欢和他做朋友了 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?
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Using 到底, how could we naturally complete the sentence 虽然这是两棵不同的植物,…?

标准教程HSK4下 (p.79) has a "complete the sentence" exercise: 虽然这是两棵不同的植物,...。(到底) Although these are two different plants, ... Basically, the task is to complete the sentence using 到底 in a natural ...
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In 你说的是什么?, what is the purpose of 的?

Consider this sentence: 你说的是什么? I understand that 的 permits creating adjectives, like 我的 would be "my". But here, I can’t see how it works. What is its purpose?
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Why are the two 才s used in 很多小朋友以为长大了以后才能自由自在。他们不知道,他们才是最自由自在的?

The page I followed on Instagram uploaded a picture complete with its caption that says : 很多小朋友以为长大了以后才能自由自在。他们不知道,他们才是最自由自在的。 They also provide this translation : Many children think they can ...
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Is 搏杀 used in jest in 今年剩下一个星期了,继续努力搏杀?

In December, I read this in a social network post: 今年剩下一个星期了,继续努力搏杀! In English slang, one might say "killing it" to mean performing well. Is this use of 搏杀 figurative, literal, or humorous?
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Does 令人惊讶 require that someone actually be surprised?

令人惊讶 is a curious and fairly common phrase, e.g.: 关于人体令人惊讶的事实 (source) About [关于] human body [人体] surprising [令人惊讶] facts [事实] I'm wondering if using 令人惊讶 requires that people have actually been ...
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What does 就 mean in 你怎么就睡在这里了呀?

你怎么就睡在这里了呀? Searching 就 up on the Chinese Grammar Wiki gives a pretty long list of usages, and I have no idea what (if any) is most applicable.
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Why use 有 in 只要前排的牙齿有脱落… about shark teeth?

This text is talking about sharks. 很多鲨鱼口中都有成排的利齿。 只要前排的牙齿有脱落,后方的牙齿便会补上,而且新牙齿更大、更耐用。 脱落: 脱掉;落下 只要前排的牙齿有脱落, Why not just write '只要前排的牙齿脱落,'? Is this supposed to be some kind of Chinese Past ...
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Why is 是 in 这件事情到底是解决了?

Can someone help me understand why 是 is in this sentence? 这件事情到底是解决了 I can't figure out what role it plays, and I think I usually see such a sentence without it. Does it form the passive or ...
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Is 当做 and 看做 a synonym or not a synonym?

Is 当做 and 看做 a synonym? I looked at a few sample sentences on bkrs dictionary. They seem to be used in similar situations. But just to be sure, what do you guys think? Do they have any difference in ...
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Places where the use of 小姐 is inappropriate

Wikitionary has a cool feature that shows a dialectal map with word differences across all Chinese dialects, as in this example. The problem is that I was trying to see which places it was OK to use ...
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Seen multiple uses of 想

I've seen 想 mean 'thought' as well and wanted to know whether they're used interchangeably or not. 我没想过这个问题。I've never thought about this question before. And 想 is also used like this: 你想不想我?...
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How Common is 啊

I have a tendency to stick in 啊 whenever I want the sentence to sound strong (in any emotion whether it be happiness, annoyance, etc) which I'm aware is it's purpose. But exactly how common is it? I'...
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How do I say “they discount so much I can't help but buy” using 打折? Also how do you say “unlike” in Mandarin?

I want to say a sentence such as: They discount so much I can't help but buy! I went as far as 这家商店打折那么多, but need help with finding a Chinese expression that has the same impression as "can't ...
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Can 适合 (“to suit”) be used as an intransitive verb?

There's Difference between 合适 and 适合, which explains how 合适 is an adjective: 不合适的性行为有什么害处 (source) Unsuitable sexual behavior has what harm 找个合适的结婚对象,真的好难 (source) searching [for] a ...
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What is the function of 的多 in 中国人爱喝茶的多?

中国人爱喝茶的多。 I assume the meaning is that "Chinese people love drinking tea a lot", or "...really love drinking tea." Does 的多 act as an adverbial structure here? In what other situations would it be ...
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Does expression ”宁愿…也不…“ belong only to book style or I can use it in simple conversation?

I just met in book such sort of expressions with ”宁愿...也不...“. I understand it like "rather...than...", but my question is: is it only book style or spoken as well, can I use such form in simple ...
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What do 肯定 and 一定 do in 这些行动是积极的,值得肯定,对于减少烟毒有一定的意义?

The sentence I'm having trouble figuring out is 这些行动是积极的,值得肯定,对于减少烟毒有一定的意义。 Regarding 值得肯定 does it mean it's worth acknowledging as a positive action ? As for 一定的意 does it mean has some ...
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What does 则 mean in …而今年的9月20日则是安室奈美惠40岁的生日?

(Let me first write in Mandarin) 关于这个句子: 据悉,9月16日是安室奈美惠的出道纪念日,而今年的9月20日则是安室奈美惠40岁的生日。 关于“则”的用法,我的词典有这些说明: rule, standard (noun) follow an example (verb) item (measure word) 这些都看来不合适。所这个句子上“则”...
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Difference between 生前 and 死前

Literally, 死前 means before death while 生前 means before life. They seem to bear the opposite meaning. However, in most cases, they actually mean the same thing, i.e., when someone was still alive. What'...
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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 ...
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Etymology behind the phrase 恭喜发财 (Kung Hei Fat Choy) and its usage during Chinese New Year?

Where did the phrase 恭喜发财 (Kung Hei Fat Choy) come from? And why is it so popularly used during Chinese New Year? I knew it was first popularised in Canton areas probably around 18~19th century. ...
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兆 as (part of) a number

CEDICT shows 兆 as "… / million / mega- / trillion / tera- / billion (old)". Is it ever actually used numerically, or is it standard to use Arabic numbers (or M/T for prefixes) to eliminate ambiguity? ...
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How bad does a sentence with an inicial 了 sound here?

There's a rule in Chinese that says that when you have two or more verbs in a sentence, you should put 了 in the last one. As in: 他们请经理吃了饭。 How bad would it sound if you put 了 before 请? 他们请了经理吃饭。...
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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'...
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Is it correct to use 首都 for capital of province?

I am trying to do a cultural project on the city of Harbin. However, I'm not sure if it is correct to say this. I found out that Harbin was the capital of the province of Heilongjiang. If I said, ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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!
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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64 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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67 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 ...