Questions tagged [word-choice]

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

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5
votes
4answers
183 views

Is it acceptable to say 我的名字是……?

I only remember seeing 我的名字叫…… Would 我的名字是…… also be an acceptable choice?
0
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4answers
75 views

Which of “她睡觉的时候…”, “她在睡觉的时候…”, “她睡觉时候…”, and “她在睡觉时候…” are grammatically correct and do they all have the same meaning?

In class, we learned this sentence: 她睡觉的时候,她的朋友正在上网。 Tā shuìjiào de shíhòu. Tāde péngyǒu zhèngzài shàngwǎng. My question is about the following three variants. For the first, we add in a 在 (zài)...
2
votes
3answers
694 views

Is there an equivalent to “awww” in English for expressing sympathy?

Just now, I was talking to someone on WeChat and he mentioned how he got caught out in the rain. I wanted to say "awww" out of sympathy as we do in English, but I don't know how to. The closest I ...
2
votes
2answers
106 views

Is it weird to say either 我今天休息了一天 or 我今天休息一天了 (“today, I rest for one day”) because of the repetition of 天?

In the section about the grammar structure "V + ... [时段]", my Chinese book has these examples (among others): (1) 我今天休息了一天。 Wǒ jīntiān xiūxíle yītiān. (2) 我今天休息一天了。 Wǒ jīntiān xiūxí ...
5
votes
4answers
510 views

How do I determine whether to use 次 (cì) or 遍 (biàn) in these sentences?

The question comes from a problem from my Chinese book which asks to choose 次 and 遍 to fill in the blanks (photo of the original). I transcribe it below: 用“次”或“遍”填空。 (1) 杰希给马克打了两___电话,马克都没接。 (...
1
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2answers
104 views

Is 我去广州见朋友 or 我去广州看朋友 better for saying “I go to Guangzhou to see a friend”?

In class, the teacher asked us to say: I go to Guangzhou to see a friend in Chinese. I thought we should say: 我去广州见朋友 Wǒ qù Guǎngzhōu jiàn péngyǒu but the (substitute) teacher proposed: ...
0
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2answers
41 views

Translation of “to substitute for”?

I'm writing an email to a teacher and I'm trying to say "two weeks ago, you substituted for the teacher of my class". I'm trying to figure out how to say "substituted" and I haven't been able to ...
2
votes
1answer
141 views

Difference between 太太 and 夫人?

What is the difference between 太太 and 夫人? My book (外国人学汉语) translates it as the same word. “Woman (married)” and it says they can both be a suffix as well as a noun. Question:Is there really no ...
4
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4answers
986 views

Why is 肯德基 (Kěndéjī) = Kentucky Fried Chicken not called 肯德鸡 (Kěndéjī) when it's pronounced the same and 鸡 means “chicken”?

Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) in Chinese is 肯德基 (Kěndéjī), which seems to be an approximate transliteration of "KFC". It surprises me that they opted for 基 (jī) instead of 鸡 (jī), which is pronounced ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

缓解 vs. 缓和 - are the true synonyms/同义词?

So, one can 缓解压力 and one can 缓和紧张局势. Can you 缓和压力 or 缓解紧张局势? If not, why not? :-) I guess if you say it enough, it becomes true, right? Many thanks, Hashamyim (incidentally, not my real name lol)
3
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2answers
166 views

Can 一会儿~一会儿 be replaced with 有时候~有时候?

有时候 and 一会儿 seem to be close in meaning, and in the following example sentences: 老王这个人哪,一会儿明白,一会儿糊涂。 晚会上,大家一会儿唱歌,一会儿跳舞,玩儿得很开心。 他一会儿嫌时间过得慢,一会儿又感到他跑得太快了。 王大妈一会儿摇头,一会儿叹气,不知是什么事使得老人如此发怒。 ...
2
votes
2answers
219 views

What is a polite way to ask to 打包 (dǎbāo) “take away” my meal? Is 我想打包 acceptable?

After learning about being polite by using 用一下, 用一用, and 用用 (etc.) instead of just 用 (see my previous question), I'm a bit more careful when asking for things. The other day I was at the cafeteria ...
0
votes
1answer
95 views

What is the pronunciation of 着重?

According to Pleco: zháo zhòng: emphasize; attach importance (v) / emphasis (n) zhuó zhòng: stress; emphasize (v) Both use 着重 as its characters. The first one lists a noun as well as a verb as its ...
2
votes
1answer
79 views

Are 使用 and 施用 interchangable?

In my on-going quest to understand the difference between initially indentical-looking words, I hereby bring you: 使用 vs. 施用! Both seem to mean 'to apply something' and it appears to be acceptable to ...
1
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2answers
162 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
342 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 ...
9
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5answers
2k views

Why do both 太 (too) and 过于 (excessively) occur in 外国人有时候太过于开放 (foreigners are sometimes too excessively open)?

A Mandarin Corner YouTube video describes "3 Things Chinese Like about Foreigners". One sentence from this dialogue is the following: 首先我觉得外国人有时候太过于开放。 Shǒuxiān wǒ juédé wàiguórén yǒu shíhòu tài ...
0
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0answers
65 views

What is the difference between 全部 and 整个? [duplicate]

There are similar words that express "total" - 全部 and 整个. My impression and the hint from the linked answer below is that 整个 can be used to express abstract things (e.g. 过程) while 全部 must express ...
2
votes
5answers
377 views

Since Putonghua is a standard English word, why do people use Mandarin for standard Chinese?

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/putonghua putonghua mass noun The standard spoken form of modern Chinese, based on the dialect of Beijing.
0
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5answers
175 views

What is the difference between 完成 and 完毕?

So, both mean 'to finish, complete sth.'. I guess 完毕 is more formal, because the examples given for it include things like court cases, whereas 完成 seems to be things like homework/general tasks. Any ...
1
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4answers
318 views

What is the difference between 不由得 and 不得不?

I heard that there is a difference between 不由得 and 不得不, but fail to find a relevant page. At least 不由得 and 由不得 are the synonym, and 不禁 is IIRC practically same. But is there any difference between ...
1
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1answer
60 views

Meaning of 祝愿 as wishing or congratulating

I wrote 哇,祝愿碰运气,能碰上这个组啊. By this I meant I wish I can be lucky and end up in that group. I am worried it will be taken as congratulations on you being lucky ending up in that group (which sounds like "...
-2
votes
1answer
93 views

Could a translation error lead to squares to not be considered as rectangles? (Cantonese)

I'm reading a certain set of kindergarten/lower primary maths textbooks that is written by American authors for a Asian company. Whenever students are asked to identify the number of rectangles in a ...
1
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4answers
127 views

Could a translation error lead to squares to not be considered as rectangles? (Mandarin)

I'm reading a certain set of kindergarten/lower primary maths textbooks that is written by American authors for an Asian company. Whenever students are asked to identify the number of rectangles in a ...
0
votes
3answers
72 views

Idiomatic use of 距 and 離

As I try to read Chinese articles, I begin to encounter 距. Some examples are: 该列车用的是世界最先进的100%低地板技术,车辆地板距轨道面仅35cm (TCB). 飛機於距地面一千米處爆炸 (Pleco). 天津距北京約有一百二十公里 (Pleco) Is 距 preferred in ...
1
vote
3answers
217 views

Is there a difference between the use of 暖和 and 温暖?

My dictionary says that they both mean 'warm'. Is there any difference in their usage? Using Google picture search, the only difference I can muster is that 暖和 is used for cats and jumpers, and 温暖 is ...
2
votes
2answers
539 views

Asking someone's age

There are several expressions to ask someone's age. That which I am most familiar with is “他几岁?”. However, I am informed that this can only be used for children (I think the problem is the 几, which ...
2
votes
7answers
192 views

Proper translation of “dancer”?

I would like to have characters for "dancer" engraved on a present for a female friend of mine. What would be the most appropriate? 舞娘 舞蹈家 舞者
2
votes
2answers
200 views

Is the opposite of 上床 下床 or 起床?

I have always learnt that 'to get out of bed' is 起床, but a book of mine says that two elderly people 从来不下床. Is there a difference between the two or is it just a dialect thing? Also, if you can say 下床,...
4
votes
2answers
221 views

Is there a difference between 一共 and 总共?

Is there a difference between the use of these two? In my book, a sentence says '木屋里总共只有两个房间和一张床' - could you say 一共 here instead of 总共?
0
votes
1answer
459 views

The word for “usually” in Mandarin

In Mandarin, there are many words to express the meaning "usually" - 通常,平常,平日,素,率,素来,往往,常,etc... (actually there are way more, but I don't list all of them here). There are too many to choose the ...
1
vote
3answers
198 views

The word for “why” in Chinese

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
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3answers
120 views

Why is 才 correct but 还 not in 我才27岁?

This is the conversation my friend and I had: X:你多大年纪 I:我还27岁 X:还? I:27岁是1990年出生的,跟你同一的90后 X:那应该说,我才27岁 I was going to make an impression that I'm only 27, which implies that I'...
1
vote
1answer
473 views

The word for Silicon Valley in Chinese

On Pleco, there are two entries for the word Silicon Valley, 硅谷 and 矽谷. One is 硅谷, the other is 矽谷. What is the difference between the two?
3
votes
3answers
169 views

详细 vs. 仔细 - are these interchangeable?

So, both of these seem to mean detailed / carefully and texts seem to use them in much the same way. Are they therefore largely interchangeable or is there a difference as to when these adjectives/...
1
vote
3answers
226 views

What are the differences between 锻炼 and 运动 for “exercise”, “work out”, “train”, etc?

When I want to say "working out", "exercising", or "training" in Chinese, I come across these two words: 锻炼 运动 What are the similarities and differences between these two words and their English ...
3
votes
4answers
328 views

When to use 只 or 仅

Is there additional context, in which one is used in a specific situation as opposed to the other? I'm used to only hearing 只 for "only", but when I was using a Chinese learning app, it told me that ...
3
votes
1answer
158 views

How to deal with elasticity/flexibility in HSK vocabulary?

I'll be concise for those knowledgeable, and refer to brief and basic bibliography for those who are not. The Chinese elasticity/flexibility is a lexical property of Chinese terms, two sides of the ...
2
votes
4answers
99 views

Is there any difference between 办 and 申请?

From what I can tell, they seem to be pretty interchangable, you can do both for a visa, passport, etc. Just wondering whether you can 办 something but not 申请 it, or vice versa?
2
votes
4answers
151 views

What situations would one use 祖父 as opposed to 爷爷?

I'm also curious about 祖母 vs 奶奶 , 父亲 vs 爸爸 , and other family words.
1
vote
1answer
243 views

Difference between 打算, 安排 and 计划?

So, I understand from other posts that 打算 is plan in the sense of ‘intend’, i.e. the details of the plan aren't yet finalised, while 计划 is more formalised such that the details of the plan are ...
1
vote
4answers
147 views

As nouns, is there any difference between 变化 and 改变?

Although their noun/verb differences have been covered in other posts, is there any specific difference between using them as nouns only? For example, is there any difference between: ...
1
vote
3answers
107 views

行旅 vs. 流浪者 vs. 游民?

Similar meanings. What (if any) are the subtle differences? Which would be best for a self-description of someone who retired, sold his house, and has been traveling since then (this is the fourth ...
5
votes
5answers
269 views

Saying 不是很多人 or 没有很多人 sounds clunky; how can I say “not many people” smoothly?

Sometimes I say 不是很多人 to mean "not many people"; it's basically a direct translation from English. But it feels clunky to me, and I don't recall a native-Chinese speaker saying this. I found an ...
1
vote
4answers
115 views

Does 与 change the meaning of this sentence?

I ended up writing such a sentence, with some help of Google Translate: 用中文与我联系不是一个好主意。 I tried to say: Contacting me in Chinese is not a good idea. Since my Chinese is pretty basic, I was ...
0
votes
1answer
58 views

How to translate “minister for loneliness”

Recently, I learned that the UK established a "minister for loneliness". http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42708507 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minister_for_Loneliness I thought of "孤獨大臣", which ...
1
vote
3answers
163 views

What is the difference between 拥堵 and 堵车?

I found the following sentence: 这次降雪给交通带来了严重影响,一些高速公路封闭,一些地段出现拥堵。 However, another word I already knew is 堵车, which I have seen more times. So now I wonder whether there is any difference between ...
2
votes
1answer
78 views

What is the difference between the different words for street: 街,路 etc?

Some street names end with 路 and some with 街. I was curious to know if there is any difference in the meaning of the two words. When I look them up in a dictionary both say "street". Are they the ...
2
votes
2answers
126 views

Has 咖啡色 replaced 茶色 in everyday use for “brown”, or can I use both?

I've learned that 咖啡色 now is the most common way of saying "brown". Does that mean that saying 茶色 now is outdated, and not used any more, or are both words still used? Would also be interesting to ...
3
votes
3answers
224 views

Courtesy name or?

My middle name that everyone has always called me by, is Wesley. Since my parents said I was named for that English preacher, I looked up how he is normally called in Chinese. But a Chinese friend (...