Questions tagged [usage]

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

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2
votes
6answers
412 views

How to introduce “Husband” in social occasions?

Some common words are 先生 or 老公, Are there any other options that would be more socially appropriate?
2
votes
3answers
872 views

Difference between 能 and verb + 得了(de liao3)

I remember once being told that there are differences in usage and meaning between 能 and verb + 得了. 他能来。 他不能来。 他来得了。 他来不了。 EDIT: Maybe my examples above weren't that good. Here are some new ones: ...
12
votes
5answers
282 views

How common is the use of “瞧” and which region?

I've seen 瞧 used every now and then in written Chinese, but I've rarely heard it said in spoken Chinese except for the occasional mention of 瞧不起. A couple of days ago I was watching Kung Fu Panda and ...
8
votes
3answers
480 views

How is 青 and 苍 used in classical Chinese to denote colors?

Here is what the dictionary says about 青:  1. 深绿色或浅蓝色:~草。~苔。 Dark Blue or light green.  2. 靛蓝色:靛~。~紫。 Indigo blue.  3. 黑色:~布。~衣。 Black. Similar case is 苍:  1. 深青色,深绿色:~翠。~天。 Dark blue or green.  2. ...
7
votes
2answers
7k views

Subway door announcement mystery

I think probably every metro system around the world has to have an audio announcement warning passengers to stay away from the train's doors as they're closing. Here in New York, a pre-recorded voice ...
6
votes
1answer
86 views

how to translate “何如” in 呂氏春秋?

this question is made, and answer provided; in response to a comment in another question: How to translate the phrase 利而物利章 in context? cause, my explanation is too long to put in the comment area; ...
5
votes
2answers
166 views

他很慢地走: why there is 地 if the adjective is monosyllabic?

I can't use 地 after the adjective if the adjective is monosyllabic (so 他慢地走 isn't acceptable). Then why in this sentence is there 地 after a monosyllabic adjective? 他很慢地走 Is it because I can use 地 ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Usage: Spaces in Chinese

I asked a similar question about Japanese here. Chinese names are sometimes stylized last name + space + first name. Here the author's name 马骥 is stylized, last name + space + first name: 马 骥 ...
5
votes
1answer
428 views

When do I have to use 做/当 instead of 是?

I know 做/当 in some contexts may mean "to be", as in: 他现在做老师了。 He is a teacher now. 她愿意做我女朋友。 She accepted to be my girlfriend. 我毕业后想做经理。 After I graduate I want to be a manager. I ...
4
votes
2answers
392 views

How to use 了 as a modal particle?

I'm having a hard time understanding when to use 了 as a modal particle (instead of as an aspect particle). For example, what is the difference between the following two sentences. 现在几点? 现在几点了? ...
4
votes
2answers
235 views

Why can't 了 be used to complement 到?

I have been taught that the sentence 我刚到了 (wǒ gāng dào le) is not correct because 了 cannot be used as a complement of 到. Is this right? If so, why?
4
votes
1answer
106 views

can I use (女)孩子 even if the person in question is an adult?

I only want to point out the family relation and asking a parents about their daughter (who is ~40 years old herself). Still not sure whether using 孩子 is appropriate here. is it?
3
votes
3answers
166 views

Use of 了 - when is it necessary?

我走到海滩边,看到一幢房子前有一块写着“旅馆”的牌子. I went to the seaside and saw a building with sign in front of it which said 'hotel'. Authentic Chinese with my translation. This is in the past. But there is no 了. Is ...
3
votes
5answers
281 views

Can you apply 男子汉 and 女汉子 to non-Chinese?

The term 汉奸 probably only works for Han Chinese traitors, but what about other '汉's?
3
votes
3answers
499 views

Usage of 万 (wàn): ten thousands or just a great number?

I noticed that very often the word 万 (wàn) occurs in poetry (e.g. poetry of the Tang dynasty). My dictionary reports its meaning as "ten thousands", but it looks like it's used in place of a generic "...
3
votes
4answers
898 views

不比 vs 没有 comparison usage

If my understanding is correct, then: 他没有我高。= he's not as tall as me, i.e. he is shorter. 他不比我高。= he's either as tall as me or shorter, i.e. he's at most as tall as me. Is that correct? If so, in ...
3
votes
4answers
534 views

“She” (她) for inanimate objects in Chinese(?)

She in English (as this is the main language of the site) sometimes has the following function: Used in place of it to refer to certain inanimate things, such as ships and nations, traditionally ...
2
votes
1answer
116 views

爱、采 ( A trivalent verb takes 2 objects )

(my 1st post) Could someone give me a sample sentence containing 爱 taking 2 objects? I'm guessing it's << I'd love him to [do ...] >> type of construction? Thank you. HH (from Wikipedia)...
2
votes
2answers
95 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?
2
votes
1answer
122 views

Is 未長未短 grammatically correct (in classical Chinese)?

Is 未長未短 grammatically correct (in classical Chinese)? The article http://www.hainan-today.com/2012/201201/web/201201_28.htm uses “未長未短”: 但与大门前的“翻天覆地”相比,作为景区主体之一的“雨林谷”变化却“含蓄”许多,景观还是两年前的样子,没多没少,...
2
votes
2answers
202 views

What is the function and/or meaning of the 2 '以‘ in this phrase?

I came across this phrase but I cannot really see the function or point of the 2 '以‘。 Must be old Chinese. 授人以鱼不如授人以渔。 (Translated maybe: "Knowledge is the best charity.") What are the 2 '以‘ doing ...
2
votes
1answer
92 views

Can I use 兼 for more than two positions?

兼 takes two objects that are in the same category. For example, 一般来说,在IT行业一个中小企业创始者担任CEO兼CTO是常见的。 在我的家庭,妈妈是个厨师兼清洁工。 However, can I add one or more, and make it more than two positions, such as: ...
2
votes
5answers
421 views

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? ...
1
vote
3answers
94 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
219 views

Is 用一下 preferable to 用用 or 用一用?

Our Chinese book contains this problem: I'm interested in the first example. 我不认识这个字,我想用你的词典。 Wǒ bù rènshì zhège zì, wǒ xiǎng yòng nǐ de cídiǎn. It translates to "I don't recognize this ...
0
votes
2answers
82 views

Difference between 问 and 让 “to ask”

How do 问 and 让 differ in meaning and in what sort of situations would you use either of them? In chinese.yabla.com there are a lot of different verbs with the meaning 'to ask'.
0
votes
4answers
71 views

What's the usage/meaning of 就 in this case?

I've asked a question regarding 就 before here and the answer helped a lot. But I'm a bit confused regarding another example sentence that I came across. The sentence is: 大的行李托运了,这个小的行李就随身带着。 The ...
0
votes
1answer
41 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
123 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 ...

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