Questions tagged [word]

For questions about a discrete unit of written or spoken text of the smallest size to convey distinct meaning. In English but not Chinese will usually be separated from other words by a space when written or printed. Other tags that may be more appropriate include [word-choice] and [word-requests].

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20 votes
8 answers
8k views

What's the difference between 星期X and 周X?

When accepting an answer, I noticed that the example used the word 周三 for Wednesday, but in my grammar, the days of the week are 星期一, 星期二, etc... They seem both correct but, what's the difference? ...
  • 6,425
15 votes
2 answers
172k views

Very frequently used word in Mandarin that sounds like "nica" or "nigah"

I work in a group where I am the only person that does not speak Chinese, thus I hear Chinese conversations all day every day. I've noticed that there's a word which is used extremely frequently, in ...
  • 261
13 votes
4 answers
8k 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 ...
  • 555
12 votes
3 answers
617 views

What is the difference between 古怪 and 古里古怪?

According to my book, there is a pattern for building further adjectives from adjectives. If the original adjective is AB (two different characters), its derivation is A里AB. Unfortunately, this ...
  • 1,064
11 votes
4 answers
4k views

Apple Watch has a built in response of "一个字。非常棒!👊". Is this correct?

When you respond to a text message on Apple Watch, there are a number of autoreply options. One of them: 一个字。非常棒!👊 I translate this to English as "One word. Excellent! 👊". This makes a lot of ...
  • 213
11 votes
4 answers
2k views

What is the difference between 究竟 and 到底 ?

So, a teacher explained to me that 究竟 is a more formal way of saying 到底. However, I'm still curious if there are there any other usage differences between the two? Is 究竟 only used in examples that ...
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10 votes
3 answers
3k views

What does 'duang' mean in 'online Chinese'?

I see this word popping up on Weibo and Taobao. It's not written with any character, but spelled out in Pinyin. What does it mean? EDIT: For the annals:
  • 7,118
10 votes
4 answers
4k views

How to correctly use "多" to say "more than"?

I know a similar question has already been answered but I still have a lot of doubts. To my understanding if a number is ≤9, you need to put "多" after the measure word (or after the name if it doesn'...
9 votes
7 answers
5k views

What does 丫 mean? 丫是什么意思?

I'm currently watching a TV show called ”匆匆那年“, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0Tub19BTX4&list=PLn8V6LgDVrvJ3SAHEtI4i6hEL_ODIulko&index=7. I've only watched half an hour of the seventh ...
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9 votes
7 answers
2k views

Chinese words with non-Chinese letters / characters?

Some Chinese words mix Roman letters and Chinese characters. For example: AA制, meaning to split the bill evenly (or "go dutch" as that's often called in English). N次方根, meaning "nth root" (i.e., ...
9 votes
5 answers
829 views

Do all one-syllable words need to be followed by a 子 to make it colloquial?

Do all one-syllable words need to be followed by a 子 to make it colloquial? For example, 椅 becomes 椅子, 锤 becomes 锤子, 尺 becomes 尺子 and etc. I thought about this because I came across a picture ...
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8 votes
1 answer
259 views

How to say the term "招" and "式" in English?

It's used as a classifier, like this: "亢龙有悔"是"降龙十八掌"中的*一招*. and *一招一式*他都记得清清楚楚. So how to say it in English?
  • 183
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

What does 二货朋友 mean?

Another Weibo post. This one has a lot that i dont understand. I think 有天二货朋友看到我的说说 Means “one day two friends said to me..." But that structure is very strange. I would have written 有一天两位朋友对我说。。。is ...
  • 813
7 votes
5 answers
613 views

Difference of 余 and 我

余 and 我 both mean I. But I still can't understand the real difference. Also, I want an example sentence. When I use Google Translate and Bing Translator, the result is same.
7 votes
2 answers
279 views

Why always go up or down?

We (me and my parents) always say: "上厕所", and: "上卧室", ect. We (me and my parents) always say: "下厨房". Personally my house has the kitchen at the top floor. Why is that?
7 votes
2 answers
216 views

Why is "weight" = 体重 and why is "height" = 身高?

Recently, I registered to a running tracker app. The app required me to fill some personal information and two of them were my 体重 (weight) and 身高 (height). I wonder why one uses 体 while the other one ...
  • 1,631
7 votes
5 answers
4k views

What is Mandarin's conversational equivalent of English's "How interesting!" or "That's cool"

In the course of a conversation in (American) English, I often respond to casual observations and statements using a neutral phrase such as "Oh, interesting" "Oh, I see" or "That's cool." I've ...
  • 315
7 votes
2 answers
222 views

What is the difference between 探望 and 看?

Both the expressions 探望 and 看 are, in an appropriate context, translated as "to visit". I haven't been able to figure out the difference between the two. When does one use 探望, when does one use 看?
7 votes
1 answer
234 views

Why 『衛護』's 『護』 is 言部?

護《說文》:『救視也』。但『擭』非同字,《說文》:『搫擭也。一曰布擭也,一曰握也』。 我覺得『衛護』的『護』寫作『擭』更好。如題問,『護』為什麼是言部?
6 votes
5 answers
1k views

What's the logic behind the word 从事?

Usually Chinese words are not made up of random characters, but instead have some kind of underlying logic. Moreover, understanding this logic makes it easier to remember and use the word. However, ...
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6 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is a one-character translation of the English word "Freedom"?

I've been trying to find a single-character translation of the word "freedom," but I can't seem to find one anywhere. The best translation I can find is, of course, 自由, which seems to be a fairly ...
6 votes
5 answers
1k views

What does the `里` mean in `这些狗里有一只穿红色的毛衣`?

In the following sentence: 这些狗里有一只穿红色的毛衣 What does the 里 mean? I think the sentence means something like The dogs wear red sweaters. But why does it require 里 there and what meaning does it add? I'...
  • 5,395
6 votes
4 answers
388 views

part of speech - "微" 管仲,吾其被髮左衽矣。

What is the part of speech of 微 in the following? A dictionary says it's a verb while others say it's an adverb. Do these claims hold water? 微管仲,吾其被髮左衽矣。
  • 499
6 votes
2 answers
454 views

ㄍ一ㄥ? What dialect? What character?

I know ㄍ一ㄥ[gīng] is used extensively in Taiwan and in Taiwanese media, but my question is what dialect/topolect does this come from and what exactly is the character for this word? I know a lot of ...
  • 34.8k
6 votes
2 answers
375 views

Are there large discrepancies between what Chinese consider to be words?

Looking into the Chinese dictionary I have on my phone, I noticed that 我是 (I am) is listed as a word, while I as a non native speaker would consider this to be two separate words. Whether or not 我是 is ...
  • 708
6 votes
2 answers
539 views

Can 来 be used as a 虚词?

来 usually means "to come". In this sentence from an online database: 旱区人民需要我们的帮助来渡过难关 来 does not seem to me being used in its lexical meaning here, but rather containing a grammatical expression ...
  • 1,064
6 votes
5 answers
502 views

Can all adjectives be transformed into adverbs with 地?

In Mandarin if you use 地 to an adjective, it can change into an adverb. For example, 我真喜欢你健健康康地长大。 他舒服地躺在那里。 Now I wonder whether all adjectives can be transformed into adverbs in this rule. Is this ...
  • 5,395
5 votes
3 answers
1k views

What does "死党" mean?

My first impression to this word is something like "enemy" or "enemies", because the letter "死" is used and it means death. But when I do some search, it means "sworn followers"? I really doubt at it....
  • 255
5 votes
3 answers
858 views

Is there any character with radical 月 that has a meaning of 月 (not 肉)?

Is there any character with radical 月 that has a meaning of 月 (not 肉)? What I can find is 期,阴,and 胜,
  • 1,905
5 votes
3 answers
125 views

Are we allowed to omit 载 when it's clear what we download?

下载 means "to download". But there's this line in a story that I read : "啊,是不是因为我在下电影?” Here, it just used "下" and "载" seems to be omitted. My questions are : 1) Are 下 and 载 separable? I mean, ...
  • 1,631
5 votes
3 answers
116 views

Translation of 火箭扫雷车

I have a children's wallchart with a variety of weapons and military vehicles. One of the items is 火箭扫雷车. I think I understand the meaning (it's a kind of minesweeper that uses rockets to clear ...
  • 3,435
5 votes
3 answers
513 views

What is the perceived nuance of the word 友人 in Chinese?

For Example: 那个人是我的友人 vs. 那个人是我的朋友 In Japanese 友人 (pronunciation: yūjin) is a more formal term than 友達 (pronunciation: tomodachi), where the latter is more suited to be used in Japanese spoken ...
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5 votes
5 answers
4k views

How to use “ 难道 ” in Chinese sentences?

My questions: How to use “ 难道 ” in Chinese sentences? What is the difference between 你不知道吗? and 你难道不知道吗?
5 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do you say "To take a gap year"?

Is there a clear translation for the phrase "Take a gap year" (i.e. take a year off between your last year of high school and college (often for travel, work, etc.))?
  • 4,587
5 votes
4 answers
249 views

How can I tell apart which two-syllable adjective forms "ABAB" to emphasize it?

I'm now learning on emphasizing adjectives by the repetition (e.g. 你的脸红红的。). However, some two-syllable words form ABAB and others AABB to emphasize the adjective. For example, 开开心心 好吃好吃 干干净净 便宜便宜 ...
  • 5,395
5 votes
2 answers
3k views

What does 麻烦你了 mean?

I understand the meaning of 麻烦 as "troublesome" (ex. 麻烦你等一下), but am not sure what it means in this phrase. I've heard that this can function as some sort of apology for troubling someone. Is that ...
  • 424
5 votes
6 answers
274 views

What does 能得以 mean?

In the following sentence: 这就是中国书法千百年来之所以能得以传承的缘由。 能 means "can", "be able to ~" 得以 also means "can", "be able to ~" So this is in conflict with each other. For me it seems that one word is ...
  • 5,395
5 votes
6 answers
240 views

Can one use 热 and 冷 to describe people?

In many Indo-European languages metaphors of temperature are used to describe people. Is it the same in Chinese, can we say '他很热' and not mean that they have a high temperature?
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5 votes
3 answers
391 views

Why is 参差 pronounced cēncī?

CC-CEDICT: 参差 (cēn​cī​) uneven / jagged / snaggletooth / ragged / serrated CC-CEDICT: 参差不齐 (cēn​cī​bù​qí​) (idiom) variable / uneven / irregular Judging from Pleco, outside of 参差, the character 参 is ...
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5 votes
1 answer
121 views

Official definition of (單)字, (單)詞, 片語, 成語

As stated in the title, is there an official, or unified, definition of these terms?
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5 votes
5 answers
277 views

Pairs which are of the form AB / BA

I need help with 实现 v.s. 现实 and 罪犯 v.s. 犯罪. I find it hard to remember the distinction between these pairs which are of the form AB / BA. Can anyone help me grasp the underlying ideas/logic/feeling? ...
5 votes
2 answers
259 views

How to translate belief?

I'm trying to write this in Chinese: "Knowledge is a subset of true beliefs." But I can't find a proper word for "beliefs." Notice that 信仰 is faith. Faith has religious connotations; belief is ...
  • 1,810
5 votes
5 answers
245 views

How to say "make money"?

I'm trying to say "the Song Dynasty used this invention to make paper money". So far I've got "宋朝用了这个发明做纸钱“。 The "make money" part is messing with me- I know "做钱“ can mean to print counterfeit money, ...
  • 973
5 votes
4 answers
204 views

How to translate 实时新闻定制和推送系统 to English?

I once worked on a project called 实时新闻定制和推送系统. Now someone translated it to English as Real-time News Ordering and Pushing System. However I feel strange with the word Ordering. I often hear the word ...
  • 682
5 votes
3 answers
319 views

Why is 于 needed after 不屑 (but sometimes not)?

In the following sentence: 也有一些“小资女人”的领军人物开始不屑于说英文了,偶尔来句日文或法文才能彰显自己的不同。 This sentence uses 不屑于, not 不屑, but the meaning would be something like: Also, some leaders of “小资女人” started to look ...
  • 5,395
4 votes
9 answers
3k views

How do you learn and remember 左 and 右?

Because 左 and 右 are so similar in the shape, I am wondering how do you learn and remember them? I need a good method to teach.
  • 1,905
4 votes
2 answers
535 views

Address people using 生 (e.g. 唐生)

Sometimes I hear people from Southern China address other people using 生, e.g. 唐生 for 张国荣's lover 唐鹤德. I looked it up in the dictionaries and searched online but didn't found any explanation on the ...
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4 votes
6 answers
166 views

Why is it 高考那天, not 高考的天?

In the following sentence: 高考那天,我紧张极了。 I understand the meaning. But I don't understand why 那天 is used in such a way. So why is it 高考那天, not something like 高考之天 or 高考的天 (the "of" equivalent in ...
  • 5,395
4 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why is 儿 in different positions in "儿子" and "女儿"?

儿 [Er] child 儿子 [Érzi] son 女儿 [Nǚ'ér] daughter So, why is 儿 in different positions in each word but they are both valid?
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4 votes
8 answers
2k views

What does 摆烂 mean?

The meaning seems obvious but could not be expressed in an exact word of English. For example, 卡纳瓦罗为了获得赔偿金,目前看起来是在摆烂。It may mean that guy tries to get his compensation to act even like a dirty man (he ...
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