12 votes
Accepted

Why can't 去 or 回来 be used with 在 or 正在 to become progressive

The answer is "habit". Because we don't write or talk in that way. For example, both 肥 and 胖 mean "fat". We call a fat person as 胖子. 肥子 is not usual because we don't have the habit. He is going to ...
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  • 1,974
11 votes

What is the meaning of the sentence 字了一?

This is a good question. 字了一 should be understood as: (and his) 字 (is) 了一 Thousands years ago, many people in China have a special name besides their first name and last name though nowadays ...
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  • 1,301
10 votes
Accepted

Why is 我找不到 correct and 我不能找 wrong? Which grammatical point am I missing?

In general, "我不能找": I'm not able/ allowed/ permitted/ qualified to look for something/somebody. "我找不到": I am not able to/ cannot find the things that I am looking for. Typically, native ...
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  • 631
10 votes

What's wrong with this sentence 我终于快到中国了

我快到中国了。 I will arrive in China soon (O) 我终于到中国了。 I finally arrived in China (O) 我终于快到中国了。I finally arrive in China soon (?) 'finally' refers to the present or past events (you cannot say 'I finally ...
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  • 68.9k
8 votes

What is the meaning of the sentence 字了一?

字了一 means 表字:了一。 表字: Chinese style name; courtesy name (a name traditionally given to Chinese males at the age of 20 (also called 字)) check http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E8%A1%A8%E5%AD%97 http://...
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  • 5,902
8 votes
Accepted

Which do I use: 喜欢不喜欢 or 喜不喜欢?

Chinese speakers like 4-beat rythm better, so you should be using 喜不喜欢 most of the time.
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8 votes
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Can I use 告诉 to quote what someone has said? Please help!

今年初,我的朋友告诉我他这个学期每个星期要打工三十个小时。 It is correct. You can use 告诉 in this way. You can add a comma to make it clearer. 今年初,我的朋友告诉我,他这个学期每个星期要打工三十个小时。 BTW, the sentence can be simplified as follows. 今年初,...
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  • 1,501
8 votes
Accepted

How to say "it is actually something that does something"?

The usage of 是 is correct. 是 ( shì ㄕˋ ) 〈动〉 (5) 表示肯定判断之词 [be] I think it is actually the idea that can really light up the future. 其实我觉得是主意点亮未来。 我觉得其实是主意点亮未来。 我觉得其实是主意才能真正点亮未来。 To emphasize ...
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  • 1,501
8 votes
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Use of 还 in reference to "on top of that, also"

还 ( hái ㄏㄞˊ ) (7) 更加 [even more]。 (9) 不但(不仅,不光)…还… [not only ...... but also]。 In the economic sense, good ideas can increase productivity, and can also produce new innovations and inventions. ...
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  • 1,501
7 votes
Accepted

连……都 structure: is 连去过故宫都没有 correct?

Nope. 他在北京住了半年多了, 连故宫都没有去过。 or omit 有 他在北京住了半年多了, 连故宫都没去过。 other examples 1.我学英语十多年了,连电影台词都听不懂。 2.我学了十多年英语了,连小说都看不懂。 3.我来过这家饭店很多次了,连他们的招牌菜都没吃过。 4.我认识他3个月了,连他的名字都不知道。 (1)这个箱子连大人都提不动,小孩儿就更加提不动了。 (...
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  • 5,902
7 votes
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Is there something about 是在 that is meaningful in 让任意的值是在一个上下文当中?

The article in the first link is clearly machine-translated from the original version in the second link with some partials not even translated. A lot of the sentences are difficult to understand, if ...
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  • 14.7k
7 votes
Accepted

How to say: "I have been studying Chinese for 4 years."

Basically, all of your three sentences are correct, but different in emphasis. The sentence 1 "我已经学习中文四年了" is the best match for "I have been studying Chinese for 4 years." In this sentence, you ...
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  • 23.3k
7 votes
Accepted

What is the subject of 其他的都很满意?

I am glad to see this interesting question. The omission is really one of the most confusing but fascinating parts of the Chinese language. My explanation would be almost similar to your first one. ...
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7 votes

开一个生日会 explanation as to why 开 is used here?

开会 (“to host/attend a meeting”) is an example of a separable verb—we can add content between the two characters. The 开 relates to the “hosting” whereas the 会 relates to the “meeting”, and the in-...
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7 votes

If a response to a question was "我很喜欢看法国电影," would the question be "你很喜欢不很喜欢看法国电影?" or "你喜欢不喜欢看法国电影?"

I understand your train of thought and it is reasonable: you wish to make the distinction between asking 'whether the person likes French movies a lot', and 'whether the person likes French movies (at ...
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  • 5,455
7 votes

Longest sentence where all characters have the same sound

I believe it is 施氏食獅史 原文: 石室詩士施氏,嗜獅,誓食十獅。施氏時時適市視獅。十時,適十獅適市。是時,適施氏適市。施氏視是十獅,恃矢勢,使是十獅逝世。氏拾是十獅屍,適石室。石室濕,氏使侍拭石室。石室拭,施氏始試食是十獅屍。食時,始識是十獅屍,實十石獅屍。試釋是事。 Pinyin: Shíshì shī shì shī shì, shì shī, shìshí shíshī. ...
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  • 68.9k
6 votes

连……都 structure: is 连去过故宫都没有 correct?

The more smooth way is: 他在北京半年多了,连 故宫 都 没有去过? 连 in this sentence could be omited, but 都 could not be omited if you want to stress your surprise. Some examples: 这孩子挑食, (连)鸡蛋也不吃. The child is ...
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  • 161
6 votes

Which do I use: 喜欢不喜欢 or 喜不喜欢?

The A不AB and AB不AB pattern that widely used in Chinese, and A不AB is sort of just a shorten expression of AB不AB, AB should be verb. or adj.. it means : Will you or not do something(when AB is verb.) ...
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6 votes
Accepted

What does the phrase "足矣" mean?

足矣 means (lucky) enough. So the whole sentence means: knowing a person who understand you (soul mate? I think) in one's life is enough. Implicit meaning: many people won't have even one soul mate ...
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  • 1,225
6 votes
Accepted

A more direct translation for "I [verb] [x] more than [y]"

There is a very direct translation. If "more than" means higher degree/level of the [verb], then I [verb] [x] more than [y] can be translated to 我 [verb] [x] 甚于 [verb] [y]. I [verb] [x] more than [y]...
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  • 545
6 votes
Accepted

What does 一个赛一个不讲理的 mean? Does the 的 determine its meaning?

赛 is the same as 比 in this case. 一个赛一个不讲理的    ↓ 一个比一个不讲理的    ↓ 一个比一个不讲理    ↓ One is more unreasonable than another is. The word '的' is not important, and can be removed.
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  • 1,328
6 votes
Accepted

What does the second "幅” mean in the following sentence?

"一幅幅" in "一幅幅美丽的山水画" mainly means 'one after another', (indicates plural by extended logic) 一幅幅 is short for 一幅又一幅 or 一幅接一幅 (one after another) "一幅幅美丽的山水画" means "...
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  • 68.9k
6 votes

是 does not connect two nouns in "有什么事是我该做的吗?"

In short, the second noun "事" is omitted. The complete sentence should be like this: 有什么事是我该做的(事)吗? For more, in Chinese, the attributive clause goes before. The proper way to translate "Is there ...
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  • 870
6 votes

What's the structure of this word / sentence? 搬进、走出、跑回

The “进” part is called directional complement. Rather simply, as we do in English, you can add a directional word to the verb, to describe where the verb is going. The most common words to indicate ...
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  • 8,655
6 votes

What is 了 doing in 这个表快了+time?

Grammatically, the completion is not only for verbs but also for adjectives. In your example 快了, 快 is an adj. Another example might be easier to understand. 苹果红了, apples turned red. 苹果熟了 is a ...
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  • 23.3k
6 votes

Can an adverb modify another adverb in Chinese?

we don't say 你太快说 你说得太快 means you speak too fast 你快说 expresses that I want you to speak faster, it's like a request. 你快说 can be used on informal occasions (with your friends or your family). We ...
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6 votes
Accepted

Reduplication of adverb in Adv. + V1 + Adv. + V2 structure...?

This is a form of reduplication. However, the general form of reduplication depends on the word. 轻拿轻放 means someone picks up an item, and puts it down. The emphasis is on the gentleness of the action. ...
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  • 1,662
6 votes

How would you say: "This is my family photo taken two years ago of my younger brother's 10th birthday party."

我认为这样就可以了 这张全家福是两年前在我弟弟十岁生日聚会时拍的。
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  • 241
6 votes

What's wrong with this sentence 我终于快到中国了

If you put it into Baidu "我终于快到中国了", you'll see Chinese people sporadically use this sentence. Nevertheless, I believe the intended issue is the mismatch between: 终于 = "at last" (...
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