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Chinese words that hit the spot

随便, Chinese to English, Chinese language, English counterparts

Mel Patching (British)

Some things can be expressed so much better in Chinese than in English. After a while of learning, you will see. Once you get past the awkwardness every beginner feels in language learning, and you start to own your progress, it won't be long before you find yourself substituting English words for Chinese ones, not the other way around. 

Trust me, once you learn some of these awesome words, your loyalty to your beloved English will start to wane and a new infatuation will begin. 

1) My all time favourite: 麻烦 (máfan)

Dictionary Definition: Troublesome; inconvenient; annoying; to trouble someone; to bother someone (Can you see how awkward it is to try to translate it in English?) 

How to use it:

坐公交车太麻烦了,咱们打的吧。

(zuò gōngjiāochē tài máfan le, zánmen dǎ di ba.)

Taking a bus is too inconvenient, let's get a taxi.

麻烦你帮我翻译这句话。

(máfan nǐ bāng wǒ fānyì zhè jù huà.)

Can I trouble you to help me translate this sentence? 

对不起,太麻烦你了!

(duìbùqǐ, tài máfan nǐle!)

Sorry to have put you through so much trouble. 

I just love to yell 太麻烦了! (tài máfan le!) for anything I can't be bothered to do. 

And it's great to substitute into English:

Dictionaries are too máfan, I always use apps on my phone instead.

2) The totally awesome: 随便 (suíbiàn)

Dictionary Definition: To do as one pleases; casual; random; careless; arbitrary; anyhow 

How to use it:

When I taught English at a middle school, the first question the students would ask when they entered the room was, "Where do we sit?" I would answer, "Anywhere." This would be followed by lots of gleeful exclamations, "随便坐!随便坐!" (Suíbiàn zuò!) "We can sit anywhere! We can sit anywhere!" Ah, the little joys in life. 

Should we go by bus or taxi? 随便!

Should we have rice or noodles? 随便!

Should we speak English or Chinese? 随便! 

It's a great word to use whenever you want to tell someone, "It's up to you, just do whatever you want." 随便你! (Suíbiàn nǐ ) Or if you don't want it so carelessly done: 不要这么随便做! (Bùyào zhème suíbiàn zuò!) 

Let's just 随便走走 until we find somewhere nice to sit down. 

3) 事 (shì)

Dictionary Definition: matter; affair; thing; item; business; trouble; job;

Personal definition: stuff

This little word can be put to a million uses, so you should make it your best friend.

When you have stuff to do: 我有事 (wǒ yǒushì).

When you are so busy: 我有这么多事 (wǒ yǒu zhème duō shì).

When something is not your business: 不是我的事 (bùshì wǒ de shì).

When you find a job: 我找到事儿了(wǒ zhǎodào shì er le).

When you are ok: 我没事 (wǒ méishì).

I have a lot of 事 to get done this morning.

Send us any more words you think do a better job than their English counterparts!

2016-06-21

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