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Questions tagged [usage]

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

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75 views

Could you give me some examples of work slangs? [closed]

I'd like to know some idioms that are used at work by workmates or bosses.
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389 views

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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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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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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2answers
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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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598 views

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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125 views

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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68 views

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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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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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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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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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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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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1answer
44 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 ...
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80 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?
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930 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 ...
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1answer
41 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. ...
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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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5answers
143 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'...
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58 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 ...
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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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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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6answers
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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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55 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 ...
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109 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 ...
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61 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 ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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173 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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 [...
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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, ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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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 ...
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3answers
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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 ...
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1answer
118 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 ...
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60 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?
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1answer
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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 ...
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2answers
84 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
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106 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 ...
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2answers
454 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, ...
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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
39 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,...