Krazer
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Tense and use of 了
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30 votes

Usually 了 is used to indicate past tense (or the completion of). Such as: 我吃了 了 is added to the end of the sentence that change the statement to past tense. You can add 过 before 了 to add ...

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How to describe differences between Cantonese and Mandarin?
14 votes

The pronunciation of the two are totally different. Hong Kong people humorously call it "the chicken talking to the duck" as they cannot understand each other. The two are both tonal languages (...

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Techniques for improving pronunciation
12 votes

Have you tried practicing with tongue twisters (绕口令)? They can help with both listening and pronunciation. Repetition is really the only way to go if you want to master pronunciation. Here are a ...

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What is the difference in use between 完 and 了?
Accepted answer
10 votes

You can use 完 and 了 together or separately. 了 is usually used to indicate the completion of an action. E.g. 你买了好多东西 (You purchased a lot of stuff). See the question "Tense and use of 了" to learn ...

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Why isn't 到 (dào) used in 某天我去北京?
10 votes

到 more or less means "to arrive (at)," 去 means "go to (someplace)." E.g., 你到18歲才能喝酒。You can drink alcohol, when you are (lit. "arrive at") (the age of) 18. When used together with 去 (e.g., 到马路那边去), ...

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What's the difference between 否则, 要不, 不然, and 要不然?
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8 votes

否则 is often time more formal and comes across as more strongly worded (directly admonishing the listener). Much like saying "you need to do X, otherwise/if not, Y will happen (as a consequence)." E.g....

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Difference between 合适 and 适合
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8 votes

The biggest differences between the two are: 合适 is an adjective while 适合 is a verb. 合适 can be used as an attributive modifier. E.g., 合适的机会 适合 cannot. I.e., you cannot say 适合的工作

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What is the meaning of 报 in 你有报语言培训班吗?
Accepted answer
8 votes

I think the 报 here is referring to registering/signing up/apply as in 报名. A: Have you registered/signed up for X class yet? B: Yes, I have (registered/signed up). 甲: 你 X(课/班) 报名了吗? 乙: 嗯 我报了。

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Why are people writing 打井 (dǎjǐng) = "to dig a well" on this construction site wall?
7 votes

This and many things like it are what is considered 非法小广告 or illegal small advertisements. No surface is really safe from these ads. Essentially it's graffiti used to advertise some business or ...

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哪里 as an answer
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7 votes

Oral conversations have gotten more colloquial. At time you will see people mixing formal and colloquial patterns, especially online. It's the same etiquette as if you would express if someone were ...

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Difference between 盖,修,建
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6 votes

盖 literally means "to cover" something (e.g., put a roof over). This character is often heard used in an oral context to describe building something, and is used in a more colloquial manner. Note that ...

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Translation/Meaning: 棒棒机
6 votes

棒棒机 can refer to a category of smaller phones (usually the more rugged kind), typically used to refer to older model phones, particularly the bar-style phones. In some areas of China, most notably ...

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"惡" vs "噩" vs "厄"
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5 votes

Did you know? 厄 is a 象形字, a pictogram. It is said that about 4 percent of the characters in the Chinese are derived directly from individual pictograms, but most of the characters are pictophonetics. ...

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How to indicate plurality/singularity
5 votes

You can use (person) noun + 們, 很多 + noun, 幾 + classifier + noun or demonstrative pronoun + 些 + noun。 As in: 朋友們 ([some] friends) 很多朋友 ([many] friends) 这些朋友 ([these] friends) 幾個朋友 ([how many/some ...

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How do we know what characters correspond to Chinese names?
5 votes

Usually people ask. Like people asking if a person's name is spelled a certain way, most Chinese people ask if it is a certain character. E.g., Your surname is 'Li'? Is that 'Li/李' as in plum (李子) or '...

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What is the difference between using 光 vs using 只?
4 votes

I've consulted my cousin who lives and studied in China, here is a summary of his response. Originally, 光 was used to describe the brightness of flames. However, it can also be used to describe the ...

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How do you say "preferences" as opposed to "demands"?
Accepted answer
4 votes

When asking for preference, you can use 愿意 to indicate what you are willing/prefer to do, or ask what he is willing/prefers to do. You can also use 想 to ask/indicate what he/you wish(es) or is ...

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How offensive is 他妈的?
4 votes

I believe that 他妈的 would be a general curse like "f--k!" (or "damn"), but not an insult , whereas 你妈的 would be a personal insult like "f--k you" or "you mother(truck)er." Think of 他, in this context, ...

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Where is the correct place to use 您 when addressing others?
4 votes

It's just a matter of conveying respect to the other party (elders, superiors, customers, or potential clients). 您 is a Beijing honorific that made it into vernacular Chinese. 你 is a simplified form ...

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Is there a difference in connotation between questions ending in 吗 vs. X 不 X
Accepted answer
3 votes

There's also 嘛 and 吗. Practically, there is little difference between the two, aside from the pronunciation. 吗 is most used in questions where speaker is usually neutral about the question. 嘛, ...

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Character to use for the onomotapoeic sound "choong!"
Accepted answer
3 votes

I believe you are looking for 噌, or cēnɡ (the equivalent of "whoosh"). As in: “噌”的一聲,火柴劃着了.

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Difference between 新式 and 新型
2 votes

式, 型, and 类 all share similar meanings. You can use them to describe a category, type, classification, kind, model, or pattern of something. The nuisances can be subtle depending on the context or ...

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Which is the right order 您好,大姐 or 大姐, 您好?
2 votes

Age/gender nuances aside, either is fine. I'd like to point the context you worded you greeting it what got you those looks. You're in part mixing formalities with colloquialism. Because you are ...

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Which expressions should I choose to say “thanks for your help”?
2 votes

I think both uses are correct, depending on the context. The former might be more appropriate for work and labor (as in you help someone do something), while the latter might be more appropriate for ...

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Do 衣服 and 衣饰 carry different connotations or are they synonyms?
Accepted answer
2 votes

The former refers to clothes in general, while the latter refers to clothing ornaments/decorations (such as embroidery, patterns, etc).

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How to describe a puppet show
Accepted answer
1 votes

A "puppet show" can be called 木偶戏, 木偶剧, 傀儡戲、人偶戲、or 人偶劇 . You can refer specifically to a puppeteer as 操纵木偶者 or simply (遮蔽)操纵者. But to refer to puppeteers in general, I feel that 操纵木偶的艺人(们) would be ...

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Different nuances of words such as 进行, 实施, 执行, etc
1 votes

In my experience, it's all about the context of how they are used. 进行 refers the the advancement/progression/implementation of something that is currently under way, while 实行 refers to the (initial/...

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What is the best way to teach a child Mandarin?
1 votes

They say the best way to learn is by example. Why not learn it together with your child? Start with songs or flash cards.

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Are there any online resources for learning Chinese 4-character idioms
0 votes

Chinese-Tools.com offers a dictionary of them that you can search by character or pinyin. You can even search by ones with English translation/descriptions.

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Which tone is it (in pinyin)?
0 votes

Have you tried using 發音 or 念 as in 這個字你怎麼發音 or 這個字怎麼念? Sometimes, I think it's better to ask if it sounds like another character (by association). E.g., 這個字像「心臟」的「心」嗎?

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