28 votes
Accepted

Why is hot water called 开水?

One of the meanings of 開 is 沸騰 (boiling) in 《漢語大辭典》開32. It's nothing to do with "open" or "how". 開水 boiled water 熱水 hot water 燒水 to boil water When the water is still very hot, we can use 開水 or 熱開水 ...
  • 5,846
19 votes
Accepted

What's the difference between 帐户 and 账户?

账户 is the correct form, and 帐户 is a common typo seen a lot in online services. 账 or 账本 means "books", and 记账 is the action of "accounting". The word 账户 means a "bank account", and is also used as "...
  • 397
16 votes

Can 您 to be used in plural form?

We do not use 您们 as a plural form in Chinese. If you want to show respect for more than one person with 您, you can add number + 位 to address these persons. For example: 您二位 for two persons 您三位 for ...
  • 763
15 votes

How do new Chinese characters get added to the language?

From the point of view of computing, rather than linguistics, character sets are standardized and revised by committee. In the PRC, the GB2312 character set standard has evolved into GBK: With the ...
15 votes
Accepted

Does Chinese have an equivalent to “Person A”?

You would say 甲、乙、丙、丁…… which come from 天干, you could also say 路人甲、路人乙、路人丙…… If you know the person's surname, you could also say 李某、王某…… In case if you want the specify that person's ...
  • 3,089
14 votes
Accepted

Proper letter writing etiquette

I think those are generally fine for normal purposes, especially if you're emailing. Traditional etiquette has substantially declined with email use. 亲爱 is quite a bit more personal than the ...
  • 4,920
14 votes
Accepted

Difference between 肯定 and 确定

肯定 certain; sure; affirm; (the outcome is virtually a fact) 确定 determine; confirm; finalize (the outcome is already a fact) You can say, "Team China certainly (肯定) will lose to team Germany in the ...
  • 70.8k
13 votes

Why can't I say "我的腰不好”

腰 or 腰子 is slang for kidney. In traditional Chinese medicine theory, kidney is responsible for producing and storing sperms. Thus 腰不好 becomes a slang implying weakness in bed. It takes a cheeky ...
  • 4,502
13 votes
Accepted

What are the most common Mandarin words for each pinyin syllable?

After a bit of searching I could not find a proper resource to answer this question, so I started compiling compiled a comprehensive list by hand. Since you say that the most common character for each ...
  • 5,386
12 votes
Accepted

What are the differences between 报名,登记,挂号?

Definitions: 报名 To fill in personal information to the organizer in order to participate in the activities. (参加活动时,向主办单位填写个人资料。) 登记 To record the relevant matters in the form or the booklet of the ...
  • 1,446
11 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning behind 5000萬「袋住先」and D7689!@#?

The pronunciation of "D"-"7" is similar to a Cantonese foul phrase (something similar to fxxking hard). 689 is a common way to refer to the current Chief Executive (CE) of Hong Kong, because he won ...
  • 2,421
11 votes
Accepted

Politeness in referring to a recent death

TL;DR The most general euphemism for "die" in Chinese is 去世 Literally means "leave the world". Similar to the English expression "pass on/away". It would be polite enough to address anyone's ...
11 votes

Can 您 to be used in plural form?

Usually 您 is not pluralized with 們 like other personal pronouns. This is because etymologically 您 is a contraction of 你 and 們, and still connotes second person plural in some varieties of northern ...
  • 688
10 votes

What Chinese characters are rare in modern but common in classical Chinese?

There are people studying this. Classical Chinese Character Frequency List Modern Chinese Character Frequency List Now do your own comparisons because I'm lazy. Update -- I feel less lazy today so ...
  • 4,502
10 votes
Accepted

Do people use 刻苦 nowadays?

Yes 刻苦 is still commonly used in colloquial language. “他那一年刻苦地学西班牙文” is grammatical. In spoken language it sounds more natural to say “他那一年学西班牙文学得很刻苦” . 刻苦 is 'hardworking' while 认真 is 'take seriously'...
  • 14.8k
10 votes
Accepted

When to use 世界 and when to use 国际

I guess you just use them the same way as in English. Look at e.g. this list: Everything that uses 国际 translates as 'international'. Similarly in this list everything that is 世界 translates as 'world'. ...
  • 7,118
10 votes
Accepted

What other words than 奥 exist for places of reveration?

四隅(four corners of a room) 宧(yí / ㄧˊ):室內東北角(northeastern corner) 窔(yào / ㄧㄠˋ )同“穾”:室內東南角(southeast corner) 奥(ào / ㄠˋ):室內西南角(southwest corner) 屋漏(wū lòu / ㄨ ㄌㄡˋ):室內西北角(northwest corner)
  • 5,846
9 votes
Accepted

How to answer "wait" in a conversation in simple Mandarin?

等一下 is fine, but if you want shorter answers, there are other options: 等等:pretty much the same as 等一下 馬上:means immediately, will be there in a moment These are the two word answers I can think of ...
  • 540
9 votes
Accepted

The real meaning of "傲嬌"

傲嬌 is a word from Japanese animation and just used in the Internet. 傲娇指的是这样一种性格: 表面上对陌生人/喜欢的人很冷淡或趾高气昂,即展现出“傲”的一面,而一旦关系突破某一好感度/耻度界限后,或者遭遇某种契机(特殊事件)的时候,就会突然变得害羞、娇俏可人,即表现出“娇”的一面。 ref : http://zh....
  • 761
9 votes
Accepted

Ways to politely insult somebody's intelligence in Mandarin?

I don't know if there is a way to politely insult someone's intellect, that almost seems like an oxymoron to me. 糊涂 (silly) is the only expression I can think of that doesn't stigmatize the ...
  • 7,118
9 votes

Which one is correct? 桂林的冬天 or 冬天的桂林

Both are correct. There is no "better" because they both have very different meanings. In 我不喜欢桂林的冬天, you are referring specifically to "the state of the weather" only; i.e. how you ...
  • 3,318
9 votes
Accepted

Nuance between the two words for orange , cheng se and ju se

IN SHORT Both words are indeed used. In everyday conversation they're usually not distinguished but have different usages. If we go a little deeper, they also represent different colors: 橘色 has a more ...
  • 2,605
8 votes
Accepted

The concept of presumptuousness

The concept of 'presumptuous' as in 'arrogantly making assumptions about the beliefs or preferences of another person without regard to the possibility of being wrong'. The words that fit those ...
  • 14.8k
8 votes

What is the meaning of 當 and 自強 in 男兒當自強?

男兒 is MAN 當 is 應當, which means SHOULD,MUST 自 means 自己, SELF 強 is a verb short for 圖強,here 圖 means FIND WAYS TO DO STH,and 強 means TO BE STRONG. So 男兒當自強 means A man should find ways to make ...
8 votes

How is 之 used in these sentences?

The former 之 is equivalent to 的, but more often used than 的 when followed by a single character that would otherwise be expressed in a two-character word. In this case, it is followed by 处, which ...
  • 559
8 votes
Accepted

Can 丢 refer to people?

丢 KEY 6 {colloquial} (of a person, child, etc. that went missing) have disappeared, gotten lost ex.: 我们的孩子丢了 发现孩子丢了,第一时间并不是去报警 公安刑侦局打拐办主任:孩子丢了要立刻报警 梦见孩子丢了,是什么意思?
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