The Stack Overflow podcast is back! Listen to an interview with our new CEO.

Hot answers tagged

22

This is actually not one character, but a stylistic conglomeration of the characters in the phrase 招財進寶, meaning "ushering in wealth and prosperity". The characters 財 and 寶 end up being represented with the same 貝 component in this "character". While the left side of 招 (扌) and the right side of 財 (才) are technically not the same component, they look similar ...


19

Very good question. 还是 is usually used in asking questions. For example: 你想去北京还是上海呢? = Did you want to go to Beijing or Shanghai? 这是橙子还是橘子? = Is this orange or mandarin? 或者 is usually used in declarative sentence. For example: 我想去北京或者上海. = I wanted to go to Beijing or Shanghai. 你可以叫我小王或者老王. = You can call me Xiao Wang or Lao Wang.


18

可以 means I can do it, but may I? For example : 我 可以 开车吗? May I drive? (Have the implication of I want to drive) 我 可以 开车。 I can drive (have the implication of I can, but I don't want to (unwilling to do so)) 会 means I am able to, or I know how to do it For example : 你 会 开车吗? Can you drive? (Are you able to drive? Do you know how to drive? Or ...


17

There are multiple uses for both 了 and 过, so it's good you are just asking about usage to express past action or events. 了, as you probably know, is often used to express a change of state. Perhaps somewhat relatedly, 了 can be used to express a past action that is still ongoing. But 过 cannot: when 过 is used to refer to a past event, that past event must ...


16

成 (into) is the result complement of the verb 换(change) 换 = change 换成 = change into 兑换 = exchange 兑换成 = exchange into 兑换 mostly refers to 'currency exchange' 换 can refer to exchange between anything. In "我把十块美元换成人民币" (I exchanged $10 USD into RMB), '换' is obviously short for '兑换'. You can even replace '换' with '兑' (convert) and write: ...


15

Just as @Flake said: In general, "小X" should be used to a person who is younger than you while "老X" to an older person. And here is some additional usages: Generally speaking, 老X is often used to address a male, and 小X can be used for both male & female. 老X can be used to a person who is an acquaintance to you(usually both of you have almost the ...


15

In my opinion, they mean the same:"if". "要是" is a little informal and more common in oral speaking, while "如果" is formal, I think, but you will see both of them in books. I could only catch up with one differences in use between them. For "要是“, because there is a "是" inside, when the verb in the "if-clause" is "是(to be)", "是" can be ommitted, however, "是" ...


15

For people to understand better...


14

Uncles of mother's side are called 舅舅, while uncles of father's side if he's older than your father you have to call him 伯, and 叔 for younger ones. If you have more than one 舅 or 叔 or 伯. You need to add some prefix to specified them, like 大舅 for the oldest brother of you mother, the following are 二舅, 三舅... For 叔叔 伯伯 they apply the same, except there is no 大叔,...


14

The gender neutral form of the term 先生 is an antiquated Chinese title used for addressing a knowledgeable person who is your senior. This person could be a teacher, a principal, a scholar, a professor or a doctor. This term, which literally means "born (生) before (先)", has been in use for a very long time. Somebody who is born before you would be your ...


14

This is more of a history question. 勇 is short for 乡勇, which roughly means "militia". They are temporary soldiers recruited from the local population in times of need, and are usually disbanded soon after. Soldiers wearing 勇 on their uniforms was a Qing dynasty thing though; they stood in contrast to the elite Banner Armies and the professional Green ...


13

“而已” is always used at the end of a sentence and with words like “仅仅”,"只","不过". A similar word in Chinese is "罢了"(actually, this word comes from 满语). You use the structure "......(part A),不过......(part B)而已" to emphasize the expression that A is just limited within B. You could only use "不过", also, and "而已“ weakens your mood and sometimes expresses that you ...


13

A reasonable translation of "你说的" is: "That which you spoke". 的 turns 你说 (a verbal phrase) into 你说的 (a noun). 你说是什么 doesn't make any sense grammatically - it means "You said is what?" You can say, "你说什么" - which is literally, "You said what?" or in proper English, "What did you say?" 你说的是什么, however, means "That which you said is what?" or properly, "What ...


13

人家 has many different meanings. Regarding the meaning in question, The literal meaning is "that person" or "someone", indirectly referring to oneself like "guess who" in English. This might be the reason you find something passive about it. It's used by young girls/ladies to address themselves in a cute, innocent or flirtatious tone. It is informal and only ...


13

They are purists. In the words of Steven Pinker: ...also known as sticklers, pedants, peevers, snobs, snoots, nitpickers, traditionalists, language police, usage nannies, grammar Nazis, and the Gotcha! Gang. According to this article, 纹身 is accepted by a newer version of 《现代汉语词典》 as an alternative form of 文身.


13

In theory, 星期日 should be correct. The concept of a week was introduced from the west, the name of days came from the Sun, the Moon and the stars. When they were introduced to China, only Sunday was preserved, the other days were renamed from 1 to 6, so they became 星期日 (Sun -> 日), 星期一 ... 星期六. But in Chinese, 天 and 日 could be used for the meaning of day ...


13

把 is used as 量词 (measure word) here. 三、“把”还可以表示动作的次数和量。大部分用于手的动作,如:拉、帮、推、拽、搭、抓等,后面都可以用“把”,用法跟“次”“下”“回”相近。 可是,在现代汉语中,表示动作的量的意义有所扩展,这些动作与手关系不大。 如:表现一把、玩一把、练一把等,时下最流行的一个词就是“过把瘾”。 It's usually used in spoken language, has similar meaning with 次/下. So 洗把脸 is similar to 洗一次脸/洗一下脸, but sounds more vivid and direct.


12

There are a few differences between those three words: "以及" can only connect phrases,not words. The phrases after "以及" is commonly considered to secondary. "与" and "和" are used to express the relationship. "与" is more elegant than "和". such as "老人与海". "和" is mostly used in oral form. In some cases,"和" and "与" are somewhat interchangeable, such as "...


12

So who came up with those common name translations at first place? Those common name translations are known as 音译 or transcription. In Chinese, transcription is known as yīnyì (simplified Chinese: 音译; traditional Chinese: 音譯) or yìmíng (simplified Chinese: 译名; traditional Chinese: 譯名). While it is common to see foreign names left in their original forms (...


12

“坏” is a very general word meaning something "useless", but what makes the thing "坏了" has many reasons, and “破了” is one of them, so when something's state is “破了”, you can also say something is “坏了”;However “破” means something is broken or has cracks. So when you describe something that is useless because of inner reasons such as quality, but it still looks ...


11

可以 refers to PERMISSION or "social capacity." Am I allowed (permitted) to do such and such? Or at least can I "get away" with it? 会 refers to "know how." Do I know HOW to do such and such. 能 refers to physical capacity: size, strength, dexterity. I may 会 (know how) to move a large piece of furniture or change a tire (having done so before), but no longer 能,...


11

Check out this page: 3 ways to say 'but' in Chinese - difference between 不过 bù guò - 可是 kě shì - 但是 dàn shì. That page says that: 不过 is softer. 可是 is usually associated with something unfortunate. 但是 is more formal and stronger.


11

As far as I know the people of Beijing and Hebei province often use 瞧,for example: 瞧病(go to hospital) 瞧您说的 In fact,In most north parts of China use 瞧,such as 让我瞧瞧(Let me see) is often heard in Shanxi Province. It is more often to hear such word in dialect than in mandarin.


11

福 [fú] character means "fortune" or "good luck". Posting the "福" character is a tradition for Chinese people during 春节 [chūn-jié] Spring Festival each year. The "福" character is often posted upside-down. It is said that this is because the character for "upside-down", "倒" [dào], is a homonym of the character for "to arrive", "到" [dào]. So this means that "...


11

If you use Facebook, you may know the relationship status It's complicated; the Chinese version is 一言難盡. That said, the phrase is intended be used whenever the situation is complicated, in a good way or in a bad way. On the other hand, despite its intended usage, people often use it for certain feelings or thoughts in disguise, such as when they simply do ...


11

The connotation of 学堂 is more than "an old expression of school", but "an old-style school in ancient China". A typical 学堂 only has one room and one teacher and few students (compared with a modern school). Just imagine the place where Confucius taught his followers. 学校: 学堂:


11

No, you should use 省会 (provincial capital) instead, i.e. 哈尔滨是黑龙江的省会. You could also use 省城 (in a little old-style), or 首府 (especially for 自治区(autonomous region)). 首都 is only used for the capital of a country, e.g.北京是中国的首都.


10

I think it could be close to the fact to say "曾经(once)“ is used in the past tense, while "已经(already)" is used in the perfect(past, present, or future, it doesn't matter) tense, that's why ”了" is often used with it.. So when you are using the present perfect tense or future perfect tense, only 已经 can be used. For example(where 曾经 can't be used): ...


10

只 is more limited in grammatical scope: it can only function as an adverb, preceding the verb. 光 has a larger range of related uses, from being a pre-verbal adverb (also called a restrictive adverb) like 只, to a resultative complement used when a verb 'finishes' an associated noun (e.g. in 吃光了), as well its adjectival/adverbial meaning of 'empty' and 'naked'....


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible