The typical phrase spoken when serving food is qǐng màn yòng (請慢用). It lliterally means "please eat slowly", but is better translated as "enjoy your meal", and serves the same function as the French bon appétit.
Like Semaphore said 请慢用 is good for very formal circumstances.
In less formal circumstances you can say something like 慢慢吃 - which basically has the same meaning. This can also be used among family and friends.
The other answers covered the translation part. I am going to give my two cents on the culture side.
Is there a set-phrase that is often used to express this idea?
I don't think so, because traditionally Chinese don't really respond that way. If someone is 'predicting' your order, he's really saying 'I know what you like' as a gesture of intimacy, ...
I can't recall any Chinese expressions used in the same way as calling out with 'Surprise!' in English. I guess the reason might be that Chinese Culture doesn't make Chinese people as playful as English Culture making its people.
We say something different from 'surprise!' in similar cases:
I bring a gift to a friend, before showing him/her the gift, I say:...
I do not think that such a list exists. If it did, Chinese-speaking learners of English would never need to struggle with the pronunciation of their new language. Let's say we have a List E, which contains all the phonemes in English (whichever variety you choose), and another List C, which contains all the phonemes in Chinese (again, whichever variety you ...
I am not a linguist. So I can only give you my perspective as a native Chinese speaker.
To make it short: 看不起 is rarely used on an object, whereas 看不上 can be used on both persons and objects.
我最 看不起 他这种自私的人。 CORRECT
我最 看不上 他这种自私的人。 CORRECT
品味一向很高的她根本 看不上 这种便宜货。 CORRECT
品味一向很高的她根本 看不起 这种便宜货。 Understandable but AWKWARD
my preference: "很不起眼儿" can be translated into “unimpressive”,while "其貌不扬" into "unimpressive-looking". The reason is that "unimpressive" can refer to many aspects such as his appearance, his achievement, and etc. Compared with"很不起眼儿", ""其貌不扬"is more specific to the appearance, so "looking" is added to "unimpressive".
(件事/佢)冇得救: (the thing/he) cannot be salvaged (literally 'rescued')
(我)想幫都幫唔到: even if I want to help, I cannot
(我)冇計/冇辦法: literally, I do not have any tricks for / solutions to a problem
我都愛莫能助: 愛莫能助 is an idiom and can be used colloquially, meaning not being able to help despite having sympathy for the person affected
Common final particles to go with ...
To rate something, I would say:
On a scale of 1 to 10, (I would give it a 6.)
在十分內 = Under a score of 10, 要 is just optional.
Other ways of saying are:
若要评分，我会给...(To give a score, I would give...)
如果要我给分数，我会给...(If I have to rate it, I would give...)
It is not frequent in Chinese to say something like this, comparing to English. ...
I agree with you that the English classification you are using is not accurate because the strong negative inference is lost. 不起眼 represents the outer idea:
but just taking 起眼 shows the highly negative implication of the main term:
Therefore as you've noted, the English term is much softer than Chinese term used in this case. Regarding your side question, ...
inconspicuous; not striking; unremarkable
A Chinese-English Dictionary:
not attract attention; not be noticeable; not be attractive
Zhè zuò chǎngfáng bìng bù qǐyǎn, dàn chǎnpǐn què shì dì-yī liú de.
The factory building doesn't attract much attention, but the products are first-class.
Bié kàn zhè ...
Note that 啥子树子招啥虫 emphasizes more on similarity of couples of marriage.
Dragon's son must be a dragon, phoenix's son must be a phoenix, and that of a mouse must can dig holes.
A great man teaches out great sons, a noble man cultivates noble sons. Normal people have only normal posterities.
Sometimes we neglect the second half ...
Since you are using the reference "dong gua tong" (冬瓜湯, white gourd soup), I assume the restaurant owner is a Cantonese speaker.
The following are some commonly used responses to express your gratefulness from receiving a gift in Cantonese/Mandarin. The last two are not quite suitable in your case. They are generally used when you receive something which is ...
There's no real special phrase for this situation, unlike English's "I beg your pardon". Therefore, anything conveying the sense of "please repeat" or "I didn't hear" works. For instance, as is increasingly the case in English as well, normally you could just say "what?", 什麼?.
To be a little more preciser, as well as polite / less familiar, you could say ...
一事无成This may seem a little different from what you want when translated directly,which is 'haven't done anything meaningful'.But,it is often used to describe a pernson who can't accomplish even the easiest assignment.I believe it's a pretty close one.
The Chinese only have the plain and dry "组织能力差".
As for translation, there is a direct translation with a few touch-ups:
Added 酒鬼 because the Chinese is a less bibulous people, at least on paper.
A direct translation is good in this case because there is no comparable idioms exist in Chinese.
I don't think there is a universal prefix equivalent to 小 or 阿. Certainly you can add 'Little', but that's not a prefix, but an adjective.
In the West, nicknames follow different patterns, mainly using the first syllable of the full name and adding an [i] (-ie, -y or similar):
E.g. John --> Johnnie, Andrew ---> Andy, Lisa ---> Lizzy, etc.
Other countries ...
The break down:
「及」implies 「及時」 (in time) here.
「得」or 「不」 are the two potential particles that indicate " "able , or "unable"
*You either able or unable to come in time. That's why they are called potential particles.
「來」 (come) 「不」(unable to) 「及」 (in time )
「來不及」= unable to come in time = too late
「來不及愛你」= unable to come to ...
As a verb particle, the Mandarin equivalent of 返 in Cantonese is indeed 回
俾返你一啲好處(C) = 給回你一點好處 (M) = give you back some benefit
First, the term 還返 is uniquely Cantonese, "我要還返本書俾佢" in Mandarin would just be "我要还本书给他".
Second, 本 is a classifier without determiner or count word, it is normal in Cantonese, but in Mandarin, you should not omit the ...
I believe 慢工出细货 is good enough.
Although it doesn't mention about care explicitly, it is strongly implied as much care have to be given to produce a delicate product (as 细 means 细緻 here),
and it takes time to breed that work (慢工).
Chinese language doesn't have tense. To indicate event happened in the past, you need to add time reference in the context or verb particle that indicate past verb
我的朋友今年在美国(住过) = My friend (had lived) in America this year
过 is a verb particle that indicates 'experienced' aspect of the verb
我的朋友今年(曾住)在美国 = My friend (had lived) in America ...
I use it! =) My friends use it too. But we are immigrants who have lived in the USA for many years with fluency in both languages (we use both languages) so not sure if our English might have affected that. But, I remember hearing that phrase when I was little in China as well. We usually don't use the direct translation of "on a scale of 1 to 10", instead, ...
Many of them will actually use the English word, as weird as that sounds. This is true mostly with younger and more educated Chinese people. Here is a video of it actually being used in a very natural setting. Skip to 3:58. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqUpsXF4Yu8
"Shoot; it's raining."
"Shoot; I forgot to bring my phone."
"Shoot; I'm late."
"Darn, it's raining."
"Darn! I forgot to bring my phone."
"Darn; I'm late."
"Oh no, it's raining."
"Oh no. I forgot to bring my ...