Questions tagged [word-choice]

Questions about what word fits better in a certain context or situation.

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2
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3answers
133 views

What is the difference, if any, between 开心 and 快乐

Dictionaries will give "Happy" for both. A Mandarin song has the title 你开心所以我快乐 https://youtu.be/Sb1ojccxvyw Question therefore is whether there is any signifying difference in usage? That is, ...
2
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2answers
76 views

Meaning of 一挺 in 雪人大肚子一挺,他顽皮地说:“我就是冬天。” [duplicate]

雪人大肚子一挺,他顽皮地说:“我就是冬天。” What is the meaning of 一挺 in this sentence? I know 挺 can describe something as straight or erect, but I am confused why 一 is said before it.
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2answers
77 views

Expressing “Both A .. and B”

I came across the following sentence: 我既是一个语言的从教者,也是一个语言学习的爱好者。 I understand that "既 A , 也 B" is a sentence structure for expressing "both .. and ..". I was wondering about what effect 既 has on ...
2
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2answers
68 views

什么事 vs 什么: what’s the difference

Both 什么事 and 什么 seem to mean “what” (well, maybe literally 什么事 means “what thing”). So why is it that in this sentence we employ 什么事? 发生了什么事? What happened? Is it incorrect to write instead: 发生了什么? ...
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1answer
43 views

Why characters with “口字旁” were chosen in this transliteration?

In 神天聖書 (a classical translation of the Bible to Chinese), the Fifth Book of Moses was translated as: 摩西之第五書名曰吐嘚咡挼咪啞譯言復講法律傳 I guess that 吐嘚咡挼咪啞 is a transliteration of Deuteronomy. But I failed to ...
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3answers
57 views

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
252 views

Difference between 问问 and 问

What’s the difference? I saw this sentence and was confused why there’s two 问s: 等他回来的时候问问他。
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4answers
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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3answers
43 views

How to imply someone is terminally ill?

In English, you can say "My cousin is sick." And that sort of conveys a lot. Your cousin could have cancer and be terminally sick, but could also be crazy ("sick" as in slang for cool), or sick as in ...
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4answers
347 views

Is there a difference between 回转 and 掉头?

Is there a difference between 回转 and 掉头? I have heard them both used to describe a U-turn, so are there any subtle differences between the two words?
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6answers
52 views

要 to indicate “will [verb]” vs “need”

Consider the sentence: 我要去北京。 This means "I will go to Beijing". But 要 also means "need". So could this sentence also be translated as "I need to go to Beijing"? How would you make the distinction ...
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2answers
46 views

Is this clear? 我们等了一段时间,其间我们没观察到任何直接和明显的副作用, … (waiting around for side-effects)

From my writing in Writing critique request: Zhou Ziwang gets an injection from the "doctor", this part seems particularly problematic: Original version: 没有发现了立即而明显的后果,... I intended for ...
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4answers
806 views

To describe a man acting creepily towards a woman, is there a word that means 害怕 (afraid) but less strong?

Imagine a scenario where a man is acting creepily towards a woman. Writing from her perspective, she might say something like 他让我感到害怕 He makes me feel afraid but 害怕 seems too strong here. She'...
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2answers
35 views

Does 到了现在我才清楚了解当时的情况 imply that the situation is completely clear, or just that it's clearer than before?

This question is related to Writing critique request: Zhou Ziwang's father takes her to the "doctor". In particular: English version: These days I have a clearer understanding of the ...
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2answers
31 views

How do we trade-off succinctness for accuracy in 每当我爸忙的时侯他就让我吃?

I'm having trouble with one part of this answer from Tang Ho relating to the story Writing critique request: Zhou Ziwang was fat when she was young: 我爸忙时就让我吃, --> (每当)我爸忙(的)时(侯)(他)就让我吃, When my ...
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4answers
85 views

If I was fat, and now I'm not, which is better: 我长胖 or 我长胖了 or 我长了胖 or 我长了胖了?

Suppose in the past I was fat, and now I'm no longer fat. I'm wondering which 了 is appropriate: 我长胖 我长胖了 我长了胖 我长了胖了 I don't think we can just leave off the 了. It makes sense to put 了 at the end as ...
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1answer
53 views

What are the advantages of 人类将如何演变 over 人性会怎么改变?

I'm analyzing Writing critique request: Zhou Ziwang and the revolutionary new technology and in particular these two sentences: Intended English meaning: How will mankind change? My writing: ...
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2answers
69 views

Why use 碰头 (pèngtóu) to mean “meet” instead of say 见, 见面, or 看见? (In e.g. 过两分钟我们在外面碰头)

In the Chinese translation of Matilda (p. 195), we have: “好,你把东西收拾一下,过两分钟我们在外面碰头。” "Good. Gather up your things and I'll meet you outside in a couple of minutes." and on the next page: ...
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5answers
117 views

Difference between 什么都不 and 什么都没

Is it a difference in the tenses? Like one's a present and the other is future? Explain with examples please And can we say 什么也不 and 什么也没?
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1answer
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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2answers
68 views

Is 批判 or 批评 better in 别人总是批判我?

I wrote this: 现在我觉得伊斯兰规矩太多了,别人总是批判我。 I currently feel like Islam has too many rules, other people are always criticizing me. My teacher and I had a somewhat long discussion as to whether it ...
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2answers
835 views

Is there a neutral way of saying “deliberately”?

I wrote a sentence which involved 故意 (gùyì; deliberately) and my teacher explained that 故意 is a negative word: you can't deliberately do something good using 故意. (I won't reproduce that sentence, ...
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2answers
55 views

How is my sentence? 我以为我没有工商卡,可是,我顺便找到了。

I wrote this message to a friend on WeChat, who previously helped me open a 工商银行 account: 我以为我没有工商卡,可是,我顺便找到了。我说错了。 I thought I had no ICBC bankcard, but, I stumbled upon one. I said the wrong ...
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3answers
83 views

Is there something wrong with saying 千万不喜欢 to mean I absolutely do not like something?

This sentence seems unproblematic: 我不喜欢抽烟。 I don't like smoking. But I want to emphasize the strength of my dislike: 我千万不喜欢抽烟。 However, searching for "千万不喜欢" on Baidu doesn't give many hits, ...
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2answers
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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1answer
387 views

What's the difference between 校园 (meaning “campus”) and 校院? Is 校院 incorrect?

It seems like 校院 is infrequently used, while 校园 is normal. I'm not sure if this is because 校院 is incorrect, or because it's less common. It's possible to find examples of 校院 being used online, e.g. ...
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3answers
107 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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1answer
54 views

Different types of rain in Chinese?

Inspired by this question on the Spanish stack exchange Things like drizzle, mist, or downpour?
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4answers
90 views

a word/phrase for 贪小便宜的

Need a word to describe someone who doesn't need the product but buys it because he/she has a coupon. I would use 贪小便宜的 , but what is a proper equivalent in English Have seen the posts https://...
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2answers
45 views

Is this an awkward ordering of words? (Cantonese)

In the following sentence: 你要重新開過一次機。 The official translation is: you will have to restart the machine again. I feel this Has a very awkward word order since the object (機) is at the last after a ...
2
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1answer
68 views

How to determine if a word occurs more in written or spoken language?

I recently encountered the word 随着, which was translated by my text as a figurative "following", as in "Following X, Y". At first glance, this "following" translation sounds very formal, almost too ...
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2answers
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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3answers
53 views

Should one say “习题解答与提示” or “习题解答或提示”?

If the appendix of a textbook consists of the solutions to some exercises and hints to other exercises, should it be named as "习题解答与提示"or"习题解答或提示"? Edit: The following is from 《群表示论》by Prof. 丘维声, ...
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3answers
142 views

Is “保守” considered derogatory in Chinese?

In English, the word "conservative" seems neutral. However, the Chinese word "保守" seems to carry a negative connotation (Am I right)? What word should I use if I would like to express the english word ...
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5answers
231 views

Can 吃 be used for liquids?

I was confused by the lyrics of the children's song 三个和尚: 一个和尚挑水吃 两个和尚抬水吃 三个和尚没水吃呀 三个和尚没水吃 没水吃呀 I've seen other versions of the song that use 喝 instead of 吃, which makes more sense to me....
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3answers
151 views

How does do (做) mean become (成)?

In the sentence ‘I want to be[come] a policeman’, why is the verb for ‘become’, ‘do’? 我想做一个警察。 Wǒ xiǎng zuò yīgè jǐngchá. I have seen one of the dictionary definitions of 做 to mean become, ...
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3answers
98 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 ...
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1answer
64 views

Why “外籍球员” is written as “外援” instead of “外员”?

"外援" literally means "foreign assistance". Why are "外籍球员" called "外援" then?
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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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3answers
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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1answer
53 views

Fixing sentences with object and complement after a verb

While perusing an article on allsetlearning.com about complements, I came across an interesting example of an ungrammatical sentence: 回来中国, where the object and complement are both placed after the ...
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1answer
60 views

Difference between 给 and 跟

What is the difference between 我给你讲 and 我跟你讲? These two phrases both seem to translate to I told you. But when would one be preferable to another? Thanks
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3answers
83 views

Does 害虫 and 益虫 cover different types of animals?

I’ve been looking into the word “pest”, and the dictionary showed me 害虫, but 虫 means insects, so I wonder whether the word 害虫 only means harmful insects or it also can be used to refer to other pests ...
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3answers
226 views

Is “繁体字” a “贬义词”?

Since "繁" means "complicated"; “繁体字” seems to have a slightly negative implication. Would "正体字" be a better translation for "traditional Chinese"?
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1answer
53 views

Is Autumn being referred to by the female pronoun 她? Is this normal?

This is from my 3-rd grade 语文 book (there's a version here): 现在正是金秋时节。我们已经看到了她缤纷的色彩, 听见了她美妙的声音,分享了她带给我们的欢乐。 I translate this to: It's currently Golden Autumn. We already see her diverse (缤纷的) ...
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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?
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2answers
53 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?
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2answers
57 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? ...
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2answers
82 views

Why is 弄 (nòng) in 他终于弄明白了?

I found the following sentence in a grade three 语文 school book in China (transcript). 他终于弄明白了,这块大石头是从遥远的秦岭被冰川带到这里来的。 [My translation] He finally understood, this big rock is from the distant ...
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2answers
91 views

快 vs 快点, what's the point of “点” in this case?

快 is one of the HSK level 2 vocabulary words which means "quick". Issue is this: I know online translators are unreliable but each translator I've used translates "快点去开门" as "Go and get the door" ...