Questions tagged [word-choice]

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

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15
votes
5answers
6k views

What is the difference between yǐqián (以前) and zhīqián (之前)?

I'd like to have some way to differentiate between yǐqián (以前) and zhīqián (之前), in order to help with memorising them both. Referring to Modern Mandarin Grammar (Claudia Ross, Routledge 2006), it ...
3
votes
3answers
305 views

Difference between “believe” 认为 and 相信?

This question is related to: Is there any difference between 想, 觉得 and 以为? What are the difference between e.g. 想, 觉得 and 认为 when expressing opinion? In there, they mentioned both 认为 rènwèi and 相信 ...
1
vote
2answers
81 views

Understanding 照相 and 照片

I am having some confusion about 照相 and 照片. In my Chinese lesson they introduced them: 照片 Zhào piàn (noun) photo 照相 Zhào xiàng (verb) to take a picture They also showed this example: 我照了几百张照片。 I ...
2
votes
3answers
131 views

Modern and ancient word choice: 昔人 vs 古人 vs 前妻 [closed]

Older Chinese folks (古人) love to use 昔人,but they never use 古人 in their poem or lyrics. (OR can someone give me an example where 古人 was actually using 古人 in their writing?) For instance, a favorite ...
2
votes
3answers
611 views

What is the difference between 这个 and 此?

I wonder there is any difference between two words to express this, 这个 and 此. What difference, if any, is there?
3
votes
1answer
109 views

How can I ask “which one is your favorite/do you like more”?

I want to ask "which one is your favorite?", like between A and B, which one do you like more. Can I say "哪一个你最喜欢?" or "哪个你更喜欢?"? Is there a better way to ask? At this ...
4
votes
1answer
92 views

Are there common rules about the usage of verb-object compounds?

Before jumping into my question, please forgive me if this question has ever been asked by someone else (I didn't find one though), but could someone please explain to me the rules (or the way) of ...
5
votes
3answers
492 views

Questions ending with 么: Do 么 and 吗 have the exact same meaning?

I was chatting online with a Chinese person and he sometimes added 么 at the end of questions: 你觉得汉语难么? 是因为声调掌握不好么? Can 么 and 吗 be used interchangeably? Do they have the exact same meaning?
12
votes
4answers
6k views

Differences: 干,办,做,搞,弄

What's the difference between all these five words? They mean all "to do", they're driving me crazy! I write some example sentences with some of them (hoping that's the right one), just to understand ...
4
votes
3answers
129 views

Difference between Verb + 不了 and Verb + 不动

My teacher gives me two examples to state the difference between 不了 and 不动 as follows. (A)我的腿受伤了,所以我走不了。 (B)我累得走不动。 I also read in Chinese Grammar Wiki but I still get confused. (1) My teacher said ...
3
votes
5answers
921 views

What is the meaning of “拜了个拜”?

I heard this phrase from some Chinese-speaking stranger. I assume it's related to farewell since the stranger was waving hand to someone else, but what does it mean exactly? Is there a certain context ...
3
votes
2answers
75 views

In which dialect of Mandarin can I see or hear 乳酪?

In this website they write "乳酪 ru3 lao4" is a word which is used in Taiwan to describe cheese. But my Taiwanese friend told me they don't use this word, they use "nai3 lao4" or &...
1
vote
1answer
56 views

Don't both 關心 and 在意 mean the same thing?

I recently learned a sentence: 大家都和關心也很在意這件事 However, don't both 關心 and 在意 mean the same thing -- to care about? Is there a difference?
1
vote
1answer
50 views

Which is correct:了 or 过 in 我去。。。他家,知道他住在哪里

我去。。。他家,知道他住在哪里. I do not know what to choose in this sentence: 了 or 过. In my opinion: (1) 我去了他家,知道他住在哪里. (I had been to his house) (2) 我去过他家,知道他住在哪里. (I had had the experience of being in his house) ...
1
vote
3answers
102 views

What is the difference between 走路, 行走, and 步行?

Are these words perfectly synonymous, or are there rules to distinguish them? Google Ngram shows that they're all used with about the same frequency. I don't like it when several different words have ...
8
votes
3answers
3k views

Difference between 各 and 每?

I'm used to using 每 for every. However, 各 came up one day and appears to me to have the exactly same meaning. Is there a contextual difference between the two that I am missing or can they be swapped ...
4
votes
1answer
147 views

difference between two words for balance of account

I want to pay off the remainder of my credit card bill. Can someone help me differentiate between 余额 and 尾数?
2
votes
2answers
203 views

What are appropriate objects of 制作?

My dictionary, along with many websites I've checked translates 制作 as: to make to manufacture What sorts of things may I 制作? The second definition of "manufacture" leads me to believe that, for ...
0
votes
2answers
105 views

Is 进 correct: 他喜欢进我的房间(来)和我聊天儿?

他喜欢进我的房间(来)和我聊天儿。A website gives me another option: 他喜欢到我的房间(来)和我聊天儿. It changes 进 into 到. Is 进 correct? Or are both 进 and 到 OK?
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between 而, 但 and 和

和 means 'and', and so does 而. What is the difference between the two. I also know that 而 means 'but', and the second question is what is the difference between 而 and 但. Give me an example sentence, ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

“同儕” vs “同僚” vs “同事”

I know that 同事 means colleague, but I have seen 同儕 and 同僚 used in similar context. Below are random examples of each I found on google: 在同儕關係中彼此地位平等、較能相互學習。 由於他過度地自負,同僚們不喜歡他。 Are these words ...
1
vote
3answers
91 views

真心 VS 认真 difference

I was trying to say “He made this with all his heart” and then looked for how to say “with all one’s heart” in Chinese. I found a lot of ways to express the sentence but I’m still not sure which one ...
5
votes
3answers
402 views

Percent: 成 vs 百分之

Is there any difference between 成 and 百分之 when it comes to telling about percentage? I've just encountered 成 for the first time and started wondering.
2
votes
3answers
288 views

On a HSK6 test, why is 社会稳定,人民生活水平显著提高,这一切都给人留下了深刻的印象 the incorrect sentence?

In a YouTube video a native Chinese speaker answers questions on the HSK-6 test. He gets one wrong: to identify which "has grammatical errors or uses wrong words" below: A. 每个人都可以有所作为,...
2
votes
3answers
208 views

Differences between words that tell time: 时间 vs. 时候, and 点 vs. 小时

What are the difference between 时间 and 时候. They both means time as far as I know Also, what are the difference between 点 and 小时 which both means hour And can you give some examples?
3
votes
1answer
187 views

What does 泉 mean in 道具泉, in the context of a handbill?

At 33:41, the Chinese Univ. HK Philosophy student below asks Dr Samson Kwok Pak-nin (in Cantonese) to hand him Dr Kwok's placard. He calls it 道具泉. I know 道具 means prop, but how does 泉 - Wiktionary ...
4
votes
6answers
401 views

成语 or expression for perservering

I am looking for an expression (maybe a 成语) which can describe the idea of, "I know I have a long way to go, but if I keep trying, I can succeed." For example, "我的发音还差得远,可是" Meaning, "My ...
3
votes
1answer
123 views

Why 明 for tomorrow and next year but 下 for next month?

I would like to understand why you can say 明天 and 明年 but not 明月, or why you can't say 下天 and 下年 but you say 下月. From the dictionary, 明 and 下 both seem to mean "next". Maybe the logic behind is "just ...
0
votes
3answers
174 views

链接, 连接, 连结, 联接, 联结 - lianjie - is it a joke and if not, what's the difference?

Amongst 链接, 连接, 连结, 联接, 联结 - which one is the most correct to use in which situation? Is one more formal than others? Maybe the meanings are different? Please, write as much as possible about ...
2
votes
3answers
69 views

Is 导致 or 促使 better in 自负和冲动 [导致 / 促使] 了他的失败 (“arrogance and impulsion contributed to his failure”)?

If we are to translate "contributed to" in "someone's arrogance and impulsion contributed to his failure," should I use 导致 or 促使? 张三的自负和冲动导致/促使了他的失败。
8
votes
4answers
473 views

Does Chinese have a phrase equivalent to “For all I know”?

There is an expression in English: "For all I know, ...." The following clause often has a modal expressing uncertainty or the hypothetical nature of the assertion, like "might", ...
0
votes
4answers
423 views

你 vs. 妳 for second person

When writing to a female, is it appropriate to use 妳 for “you”? Could it be misunderstood as a reference to breasts or milk? Example: 我见过你面带笑容,我见过你面带愁容。
3
votes
3answers
141 views

Why is 人口 in this sentence 多, not 大?

中国是世界上人口最多的国家. Why is 人口 in this sentence 多, not 大? In English way of thinking (or my English way of thinking), a population is something that can be "huge" rather than "much"/ "many". Is Chinese way ...
5
votes
1answer
79 views

Why in the multiplication table, different characters such as 如,得,歸,中 are used?

It seems to me that the following rules apply: When the answer is a one-digit number, the character 如 is used. When the answer is 10, the character 得 is used. When the answer is a multiple of 10, ...
1
vote
1answer
59 views

What's the difference between shǐ yòng 使用 and yòng 用?

Both mean to use. However, sometimes you need both and sometimes you can simply say yòng 用. Examples: 謝謝你使用拼音 , thank you for using pinyin 謝謝你用鉛筆 , thank you for using a pencil
8
votes
7answers
7k views

What's the most usual way to say “hand sanitizer” in Chinese?

I'm finding in the non-touristy places in China where I'm spending my time in cheaper places etc that there's often no place to wash your hands, or it's dirty, or there's no soap. I've been ...
7
votes
6answers
2k views

Why is 当然 the correct choice in 我学了10年汉语了,汉语水平 [一定 / 当然] 很高?

I recently had to select the correct answer for a homework assignment: 我学了10年汉语了,汉语水平 。。。 很高 I chose 一定,but the correct answer turned out to be 当然 Was my answer incorrect, why? How do these two ...
4
votes
1answer
279 views

What is the difference between 元 (圓), 幣, and 金?

In currency exchange booths, and in conversation, I've noticed this: US dollar = 美元, 美金. Hong Kong dollar = 港幣 Japanese Yen = 日元 Singapore dollar = 新幣 Euro = 歐元 There's also 英鎊 for the pound ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Are there any differences between these Chinese terms for “French fries” / (hot) “chips”?

I just felt like some French fries for the first time since I've been in China so I bought some from a Dico's here in Zhangjiakou. I ordered by pointing at the menu becuase I'm just beginning at ...
3
votes
6answers
231 views

Is「天佑美國」the correct translation for “God Bless America”?

Look at this mural from Chinatown, San Francisco: Attribution: American flag in Chinatown San Francisco by Pedro Lozano. License: CC BY 2.0 It says「天佑美國」, but is that correct? Shouldn't it be「天祐美國」...
1
vote
3answers
109 views

When speaking, how would one say “cannot study”? E.g. 不能学习 or 学习不了 or 无法学习

Recently, I've been turning my Chinese learning towards speaking and listening, rather than reading and writing. Now, I might say "cannot study" in a few ways: 不能学习 学习不了 无法学习 The sentence I have in ...
3
votes
2answers
471 views

Correct use of 惹人心烦: is 然而我不要惹人心烦 a suitable way to say you don't want to be a pain in the neck?

I am not sure if I used the idiom 惹人心烦 correctly. This is the sentence I used: 好啊,然而我不要惹人心烦。 Would that be a good use of it or is there a better way of saying you don't want to be a pain in the ...
-2
votes
2answers
132 views

Please critique my short story: Liǎng ge jiǎozi

I have written a short story in pinyin for a special person. As for grammar/vocab, feel free to suggest corrections. More importantly, what was your interpretation of the story? The recipient knows I ...
2
votes
3answers
455 views

The word “why”: what's the difference between 为什么 and 怎么?

In Mandarin, usually 为什么 is used to express "why". Sometimes 怎么 is also used to mean the same thing. What makes them different? Most grammar books I beleive introduce 为什么, but I feel many Chinese use ...
1
vote
4answers
150 views

Is the “to” in “Let's meet from 4 _to_ five”, 到?

A simple question, trying to say, let's have a lesson from 4 to 5 -- want to make sure that "to" is indeed 到.
10
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the difference between 必须, 得, 必需, and 需要?

I know that all of them mean "to have to" in some form or another, but are they interchangeable?
2
votes
3answers
196 views

Translating “很快就有人去了.” ? Confusing word order

Can anyone help me translate this sentence properly? 很快就有人去了. My attempt is “Very quickly and soon, some people left.” However I don’t really understand the 很快就 part. Like i thought if these were ...
2
votes
3answers
102 views

Is 'Tamen “shi” zai ying guo ma?' a grammatically correct way to express “Are they in Britain?”

In Chinese it will be "Tamen zai ying guo ma?" But I studied that we use shi to connect nouns, so can we also say: Tamen "shi" zai ying guo ma? Is it also grammatically correct? It's just easier for ...
1
vote
1answer
357 views

Difference between 小老婆 and 小老太

I have been going to a Chinese restaurant a lot lately, and the owner is a very friendly little old Chinese lady. Should I call her 小老婆 or 小老太? Is it rude to call her 小? Also, I think Chinese are ...
3
votes
4answers
741 views

Is 你今天早上怎麼樣? or 你這個早上怎麼樣? okay for asking “How are you this morning?” and

Is "Ni jin tian zao shang zen me yang?(你今天早上怎麼樣?)" ok? Can we also say, "Ni zhe ge zao shang zen me yang? (你這個早上怎麼樣?)" because we do say, "Ni zhe ge xing qi zen me yang? (你這個星期怎麼樣?)" for how are you ...

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