really? Is this really what I'm spending my time doing? 真实, 确切,的确,明确

Yes, there's a million of these and back in the day I did know them very well. If you want to know actual proper uses of words like reality, real, actual, etc, try reading some articles, scientific ones, or wikipedia that discuss these concepts. I used to know, but I kind of forgot. But, these you need to know.

真实 = 真的而不是假的

确切 = precise which synonyms with 准确 = accurate

What about 正确 then? Well, we'll call that "correct."

的确 = 确实 = really, this post is really boring 这个博客确实很无聊,这个的确很无聊. Yes, 确实 has the 实 which lines it with with ‘true, truth" that 的确 lacks, and this usage sometimes reflects that, but bite that bait too hard.

明确 = clear, definite, defined, definitively.

Good, you're done, know these, you need to.

痛快得很, I'm just so fucking 痛快

Great, so 痛快 is a word you need to master as yes, as the locals say, it is proverbially “tested the fuck out of."

痛快 = to one's heart's satisfaction (yes, typical chinese "description/definition”)

定义一 。。。快乐 hence the 快

定义二 。。。"straightforward" "direct" "frank" 爽快,爽直.

定义三。。。to one's heart's content. I prefer the formulations like 玩得很痛快. Had a really good/excellent time. But the dic and n词库 uses seem to follow the standard 吃个痛快, 喝个痛快. DO YOU GET IT! You need to know this meaning and usage! BYE!


和蔼 means kind and it's all over the fucking test. No one ever taught it to me, ever. I've rarely hear anyone say it. You need to know it。


the answer is 好你个. I have nothing else to say about this. Trust me.

能耐 = 本事

能耐 = 本事 = ability, skill, etc

本能 = instinct,

know it, good, get it, gone

意思 What do you mean? The many meanings of 意思。 你是什么意思!

Ok, really all you need to know for this is 意思 is a synonym for 意愿, meaning wish, intention, desire, (kind of, not really at all, but yknow).

But, since you're here, you might as well enjoy the fun. 既然你来了就安之。

1. meaning. Normally what you think of as 意思意思. What does that word mean? More appropriately this is 意义意思。

2. intention/meaning (fake meaning) 意愿的意思

Dic: 他一点没有表示出要度假的意思。 Yes, here it means intention/desire/wish. 出现的次数少之又少。

3. token of affection, appreciation, gift = 小意思的意思, 这就是小意思吧。

4. interestingness 有意思、没意思的意思, really interesting, 很有意思。
真没意思 = this fucking blows.

5. and last but not least, my favorite, 意思意思 which of course means bribery. That's the real reason you have to say 意义意思 instead of 意思意思, because chinese is wonderful.

Ok, I know there are some gradatations and lots of other small meanings of 意思, but here are the crucial and important ones (intention, hint) is also one, but whatever.

Are you suprised? 惊动,惊人,惊讶,吃惊,

Ok motherfuckers, here we go.

惊动= to disturb, startle. It's got the 动 so you can kind of see it coming. Don't distrub him while he's sleeping, the noise over there strartled him, you get the idea. The disturb here seems rather close to the 打扰 uses of disturb in many cases. It easy to separate out this one.

惊人 = 很惊人的, in my notes I have (likely from the dic) surprising, amazing, astonishing, always with a 的 after it. n词库 seems to confident that 惊人 errs on the side of astonishing and amazing, rather than surpising. After reading their examples I will side with them on the "incredible, amazing, awesome (not good)" flavor of this word. 很惊人的成就, but am far from wholly convinced. Their translations are very convenient. I imagine the scope of this word is fairly broad. What you need to know is it's grammatical usage.

惊讶,吃惊 - apparently synonyms = surprised, amazed. (of course n词库 goes with the translation astonished, the rarely used 极端 word in the english language which inevtiably leads to rather chinglish style translations and the "astonished" tinged chinglish you hear out of chinese mouths. Ok, I'll say it, I don't use n词库 because its got chinese editors who really suck. It's not that chinese people have to suck at explaining their language, understanding their language or mastering english, but they do, and I've been in their school system and I've lived in their society, so I know why. And I don't believe in website registration, especially shady governmentish places like n词库。)

With 惊讶 you most often see, 感到惊讶, 十分惊讶, 让人很惊讶, etc. DO YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE IN USAGE FROM 惊人! YOU SHOULD!

吃惊 collocations wildly similar to 惊讶, 让,使,令人吃惊, 非常,十分吃惊, NOTICE the usage and that all dictionaries will mark 吃惊 as a verb and 惊讶 as an adjective. You're not crazy, don't worry.

we're done here.


由不得 与 不由得

They will test the fuck out of these two, and for some reason I didn't remember them that well.

Anyway all the dictionaries list 不由得 as the 2nd definition of 由不得, but we're going to disregard that because we think its stupid and not helpful, like when the dictionary starts telling me all confusing words also mean all other ones as a 3rd or 4th definition 到底,究竟, etc.

由不得 = not "up to" X - 这件事由不得你. This (matter) isn't up to you.

不由得 = can't help.

horrible dict example:

他看到那些蚂蟥,不由得身上发麻。 Seeing those leeches he couldn't help but feel grossed out.

So, nciku and my dict and other examples often have this type of sentence,


他说得这么透彻,不由得你不信服。 with the prominent feature being the 不 after the subject and before the verb. This is a known issue, and I will work it out one day, just be aware of it.

Lucking for the test you just need to remember that 由不得 has this "not up to you" sense, remember 由不得你, and you should be fine.

与其说。。。不如说, 与其。。。不如

Another 再容易不过了的语言点。OK! 与其只能跟不如一起用, 不能跟不如说。

This is simple as simple can be, if you have a 说 in one of the pairs, the other one has to be paired up with 说 as well. I never learned this because NO ONE EVER FUCKING SAYS 与其说!It's clearly an old grammar construction and if you try to muck it all up and make it 白话文 by adding a 说 it won't catch on! I mean I'm sure 地道的北京人或北方人可能会这样说,但是北京话总是那么怪怪,除了在教材里,所谓的标准普通话语言点只出现在北京人的嘴唇,很得意感觉,确实有人这么说, 没想到。

I remember the first time I heard some use 潇洒 (a not unreasonably out of use word, at least in writing) it was some old lady on the streets of beijing commenting on 外国人潇洒的生活, I almost couldn't keep up talking to her, after using some 北语 books for a year it turns out at least a few out of the thousands of words I learned as "口语” still occasionally popped out of people's mouths.

On a separate and final note, what they mean by ‘口语’ is not 'words you will come across in the course of speaking or listening to chinese, but more, words that will never be used in writing. Well, what about "not so formal" writing you ask? Well, even not so formal writing still shies away from anything too "口语” and since all writing holds extremely formal or even 文言文 as its goal/standard, well, you can figure it out.

Well, what about internet writing? Well, look at that and tell me if you think its "口语“like, in the sense that you could ever imagine anyone every talking like that casually in a conversation.

Well, what about the news or the radio? No, that would be "special" "media chinese". Even the talkshows are full of this "conversational chinese" which only resembles conversations on tv or the radio. If you happen to run into actual conversation on the radio, it will be incredibly 土 and full of slang and 不标准 的词、口音等等。 Go, go look at some youtube clips of people actually talking, I dare you, of better yet, try to listen to the people at the table next to you at dinner. That's actually conversational chinese, or what you chinese teacher would call (not fit to be taught, and not useful for you! Don't talk like that, don't talk like a real person, eh. Yet, one minute after class they all drop their "teacherese". Bizarre, but hardly the most bizarre thing about china or even language use here.)

So, after learning a bunch of 口语 you really want be able to talk to people or understand people talking, and you may ask your teacher what this is useful for then? Well, she'll say, you can "chat" have "small talk" with people. Yes, this is true. You can say, hey, is this lightbulb the right size? Will it really blow up the lamp if I use a 60 watt?" Well, you probably won't be able to say those things, but you'll get close enough for government work. Additionally you'll truly be able to talk about nothing with random people. I mean nothing, because you have no in-depth knowledge of anything nor know the words to discuss the news, culture, geography, etc. You would need to know the words and be reading the news and watching tv to get that far, but from learning 口语 you'll obviously never get those things.

So, why do your teacher say this? Well, it's kind of their dream (in my opinion) to just have that small talk conversation in english, so they think if you can shoot the shit for 30 seconds on "the weather" or "the traffic", it's fucking incredible. They don't really think you would care of even ever want to learn about real chinese things and discuss them with people, they barely want to do that. I dare you to ask your teacher if she reads any newspaper or knows any news. Oh, who am I kidding, the teacher obviously doesn't give it any thought at all, their thought is i teach these fucking words and then i get my money, lets not bullshit after all.

So, they are covered when you say, I can't read this newspaper or I can't read this book. They'll say "Of course, I taught you 口语”。 That's the virtue of teaching 口语, you can't test it against anything and you have no expectations that after learning it 之后你会有真正的机会用它。 God bless you 北语, God bless you america.


The test will try to fuck with you and put other shit here, but you want this one, and the 着’s, at least according to "beijing teacher accent" is 1st tone zhao.

你想怎么着,就怎么着。Do what you like. / (forced: You wanna go do it, then go do it.)

Great, we're done here.

Ok, let's quick say 着 is like 做, but don't take that too far. Great. Bye!

普及 and 普遍

Ok, what we need to know here is that 普及 is a verb and 普遍 is not. Ok, good. The problem is what kind of verb is 普及 anyway, and why is it left as sort of an afterthought when 普遍 is as 普遍 as a word can be. Ok, we know 普遍 is an adjective and roughly how to use it, (ok, better than roughly). That leaves 普及。

Normally there is no problem since we know 及 means 到, but, every once in a while we come across some tricky issues like:

随着计算机及因特网的普及, 一种被称作“计算机综合征”的现代新生病越来越危及人们的健康.

Gotta love the "Interwang" there. But seriously, there is a crucial point here, you can't use an adjective here and that includes 普遍。 Why is that? Well, it has to do with chinese grammar and I'll explain it later in another post about issues I have with chinese grammar.

So, anyway, this translates to something like "Following the spread/adoption of computers and the internet...." (which nciku leaves as "with the popularization of computers and the internet) The issue here has to do with 1, the 的 being followed by a verb. And 2, the verb here is always going to in the past tense here and it will effectively be a noun. Now, in English, when I hear "With the adoption of the internet in all quarters..." I don't think, what's the verb in that sentence because to me that sentence doesn't have a verb, it has a noun. But here chinese only lets "verbs" become "nouns" and not "adjectives". In english this always comes across as these iffy words like "change" 'following the change', is change there a verb, a noun? Does english limit this type of thing to verb becoming nouns in those cases? Who knows, who cares? I do.

Get it? Get the issue? Get the point? Great. Use 普及 they're always trying to fuck with you.

Oh yes, and you must know 普及本 which means "popular edition" whatever the fuck that means in english, they'll test this too.

Ok, back to 'normal' uses of 普及。 Rather pedestrian stuff, eg. nciku:


Yes, it means what you think it does, and that's why nciku still kinda blows. But, it saves time when I'm too lazy to do real internet searches or open my dictionary.

普及 然后 名词 to be “普及'd" 。 Easy enough. Toodles.



难道 is a word I have never liked, basically because I have felt that it is impossible to use. Also, I never ever hear anyone use it. True, it can be found in writing, but words I almost never hear anyone ever use in speech (偏, 万万,难道) I tend to shy away from since I lack sufficient 语感. Not to worry, since 难道's usage is relatively simple and for our purposes you just need to know that at the end of a 难道 "sentence" you often find a 不成 or a 吗。 Just remember that and you'll be fine.

Yes, english ways of expressing this emphasis are very different leading to me not using 难道 very much, and also, just looking at examples, where 吗 or 不成 is placed at the end, the sentences often feel grammatically icky. Example:

Nciku: 难道没看见我正忙着吗?Which they translate as "Don't you see I'm busy at this moment?" Passable. In these type of situations I will never use 难道, I will always use intonation, 怎么, 真的 to emphasize. Furthermore, in actual use I see, 难道 is nearly always placed at the very beginning of the sentence which feels even more

Example 2: Nciku:

难道你忘了自己的诺言吗? = trans: Can you have forgotten your promise?

This is one of the major problems in comprehension and use, in translating this idea, the translations inevitably are full of these awkward constructions that don't seem to jive with the chinese or if they do, are filled with these akward double negatives (single negatives) or no negatives where one obviously would be required.

You'll often see things like "Is it possible that you've really forgotten your promise?" Which for me at least, is very hard to assimilate into a thing in English. I'll always think "Have your really forgotten your promise?". Which lead to chinese like : 你真的忘了自己的诺言吗?

Example: 3 Dict:

难道你不懂吗: Don't you understand?

Ah, negative territory. Let's look at this:

你懂吗 = You get it? You understand?
你不懂吗 = You don't understand?
你真的(还)不懂吗 = You really (still) don't understand? (Incredulous that other party doesn't understand.)
难道你不懂吗- ...?

So, the only time I can think about the phrasing: 'Don't you...?" is something like "Don't you realize how important this is (to me)?" Which in Chinese I will always say 你了解这个对我有什么意义吗? which can easily be translated back into english as: Do you realize how important this is to me? The issue is, here the "don't" seems to be the 难道 feature in chinese, but in english I have to think this usage is either a bit more extreme or somehow doesn't mesh with actual 难道 usage in Chinese.

So back to
难道你不懂吗- ...?

So, we can see why they translate this as "Don't you understand?" since it follows the "don't you" pattern seen to be used with 难道, but somehow it feels awkward. The akwardness comes from this step from

你不懂吗 to 难道不懂吗 is very different in english from the step from
你了解这个对我有什么意义吗? to 难道你了解这个对我有什么意义吗?

In english, the pressure on and context from the second pair is clear, but with the first pair, with this question and context being so common and pedestrian, the usage and meaning and 难道 is lost or confused.

I can feel the difference relatively quickly between "Don't you realize how important this is to me?" and "Do you realize how important this is to me?" even though in 9 out of 10 cases (maybe 10 out of 10) they can be swapped with no change in stress, meaning, emphasis, etc.

With "You don't understand?" and "Don't you understand?" I really have to think of a high pressure situation where I'm going to feel like "Don't you understand?" makes any sense. This means all your common feelings about the word understand, and all common usages associated with it, like working in a classroom, with a teacher, etc, have to be scrapped and you have to put "understand" in a different context.

"You don't understand" 你不懂吗? Is a teacher's question just like 你懂吗 - "You understand?" A teacher will never rightfully say "难道你不懂吗?“

So, when will we need 难道?

One last thing before we get to that. The "classroom" 'Don't you understand what I'm talking about here?' I don't think will use 难道。 Example:

Teacher teaching students, has tons of equations and student in reponse to question is going through some of the equations on the board to answer a question. He gets tripped up in one section and the teacher interrupts him and points to the section that is confusing. He could just as easily say "...Ok, (do) you understand what I'm talking about here? This part is relates to x as a variable of coordination...blah blah blah." as he could say "...Ok, don't you understand what I'm talking about here? This part relates to x as a variable of coordination...blah blah blah." I SUPPOSE, this "don't" adds emphasis, but my gut feeling is that english usage here is very free and 难道 is much stronger and means something when used (almost always) as opposed to these type of situations in english where a respondent would not be able to report which one the teaacher used.

Ok, so, back to when to actually used 难道 with understand. That mad scientist (man do I hate that example, but it what you get from going to college) says to his colleague after discovering a way to travel through can still use both "Do you know what this means?" and "Don't you know what this means?" to great and approximately equal effect. But, BUT, the man who's wife has been cheating on him from the beginning (If you're a cylon, you've been one from the start) and finds all the love letters she has been keeping since the two commenced their relationship, and just happens to have his friend sitting next to him when he discovers all this actually has to use "Don't you know what this means?" instead of "Do you know what this means?" Why in this case, of all cases (like the "realize" case above) do we have a difference in meanning? Well, let's talk about the emtions of the speaker and the context so we can figure out what's going on here as opposed to the mad scientist and the simple classroom "understanding" case. With the husband, when he's addressing his friend, there is absolutely no sense of discovery to be found in the other party, the other party already knows, he sees the letters, he knows of the relationship in every sense that the husband now does. The husband's use of "Don't you realize what this means?" is filled with a certain sense of reproach, disgust, and "writing off". There is nothing to be said to the other party. Maybe the friend tried to say something, or suggest something and husband cut him off "Don't you realize what this means?" The is the "full rhetorical", its implication is "you know exactly what this means." There is no question here with this "full rhetorical question". It is direct statment of fact "You know exactly what this means." If, IF, the husband happened to say "Do you realize what this means?" this meaning is incredibly different, its implication is that the other party doesn't yet understand something relating to this discovery. The husband could follow this up with some observations or related things that the friend doesn't know about, "Do you realize what this means? All those trips when I trailed her I really had something to be worried about. All those times I suspected she was flirting with those guys I was right." These last two sentences are intented to inform and update the friend. They follow the question with a response. The response is the answer to the question, it IS what the letters and discovery means.

Put this in contrast to "Don't you realize what this means? All those trips she took where I tailed her for hours. All those times I suspected she was flirting with other guys, they werel all true, I was right all along." Where the follow up comments aren't the "response" to the rhetorical question, but rather the additional commentary, simply more follow up. The friend already knows these things, he can't be informed about them. These are throw-away lines, added expository details. In fact these expository lines could replace the first "full rhetorical" with that "full rhetorical" either being assumed or it's meaning is transferred to these already known truths being restated. Or, to put it another way

"Don't you realize what this means? All those trips she took where I tailed her for hours. All those times I suspected she was flirting with other guys, they werel all true, I was right all along."

is equal to

" All those trips she took where I tailed her for hours. All those times I suspected she was flirting with other guys, they werel all true, I was right all along."

But, and seriously, thanks for reading, all you really need to know is at the end of the sentence you add a 不成 or a 吗。

I'll let you figure out the essential features of the other two situations, mad scientist, teacher. I'm tired and I don't want to write this post anymore


不是 means “from time to time", "sometimes", or "occasionally"。I know that's a pretty broad meaning, but you'll get the idea from context. 不时 seems to be used to less like the english "from time to time" (though it can be used that way apparently) and more like the an action that that happens a few times, or over and over, sporadically over a period of time. Example:

My dictionary: very english like use " 她不时来给我找点麻烦” She comes to bother me from time to time. (Yes, I know why this english translation is troublesome.)

nciku use, for example, more chinese usage

他的讲话不时被热烈的掌声打断 which they have translated as "His speech was punctuated with warm applause." which is ok, but the 不时 here really means 'he was interrupted during the course of the speech a few times by "warm applause"' or "a few times during the speech he was interrupted by "warm applause"'. At least, that's how I read 不时。 I think there's a fair or at least small amount of freedom here and in context you get the general idea, which with chinese is sometimes as much as you can hope for.


索性 is similar to 干脆 or 就, that is depending on how you understand these two words in use. In the dictionary 索性 is given a definition of "might as well" or "simply", while in my notes I have "without hesitation" written. My dictionary uses two examples with 既然, which obviously complicates the understanding of this word.

既然已经做了,索性就把他做完。 - Since we've already done it, we might as well finish it. (What kind of fucking dictionary is this anyway? I mean, seriously, what does that fucking chinese sentence mean?) The translation in the dictionary is just incredible (Since we've already started it, we better finish it.)

Since 既然 means "since" in the sense of a "compromise", the second clause necessarily will always read "might as well" if it makes sense that way. Example:

既然你已经做了,就把它做完(吧)。 Since you've already done it, you might as well finish it.

To me, 索性 really can be used in exactly the same way one would use 就 with an optional 吧 at the end of the sentence.

On the internets it seems some collocations utilize 索性 like 索性放弃 but, imagine in actual use one can almost always use 就。 Given that, if one must absolutely express the concept "might as well" which every dictionary insists is 索性's 定义 without a 既然 introduction, and 就 cannot replace it, you have to use 索性。 For example, from the internet 索性做了和尚, 索性再醉一回。

The problem is everywhere everyone insists 索性的近义词是干脆, but I can nowhere find 干脆 with that kind of usage/meaning. I really don't think 干脆 means "might as well" while I do think 索性 likely means that. The 相同点 is merely the directness/bluntness the “simply" or "just" or as the they say the "straightforwardness" of the two and their swappability in some situations. I really don't think 干脆 means "might as well", but people translate it into "might as well". On the other hand, its entirely possible 干脆 has picked up this meaning or in chinese this discussion is entirely irrelevant because this level of distinction entirely doesn't exist (very likely).

If you go on nciku you can see a little comment about this issue which is not so curiously left out of all teaching materials and dictionaries (not unexpected at at all), but as usual their write up is pretty useless.


爱护 is verb meaning "to take good care of". What sort of things can you take care of? Oh, yknow public places, things you use that are also used by others, and I suppose children and "later generations" in the more abstract sense, the more "cherish" or "treasure" sense, but god knows there's about 50 other and better ways to say that with regards to the "children". 保护 should be thought of almost exclusively as "protect".

Easy, we're done here.

缕 -lv3 a "wisp" "strand" 量词

On the famed measure word section of the grammar portion I came across this one, didn't really remember seeing it before。 I believe the phrase was:

一缕光线 - (a streak/stream of light?)

From the dictionary the only place I can possibly remember hearing/seeing it is from the phrase 一缕头发 which apparently is a lock of hair。 Perhaps there is another way of saying "a lock of hair" that I'm forgetting. (The dictionary provides possible translations including strand of hair, but in English I tend to think of a strand as one, with "a single strand of hair" being the phrase I think is most commonly used.) To me a lock of hair is most certainly more a small amount of individual strands bound together.

Not very important, but if the test book felt this measure was important enough to know, you should know it too, like I now do.

X自己过不去, 跟自己过不去, 和自己过不去

For some reason I didn't really remember this, but you can say 跟自己过不去 或者 和自己过不去 or any of the other 和,跟,同,与 介词。

What the fuck is 万万 anyway? 万万, 千万, and 完全

So, I never got a good introduction to 万万, I always just saw it pop up on test questions next to 千万 as one of the answer choices. For a long time I never got a good explanation of it either. I also never ever heard any one say it in real life or even in teaching material "dialogues", etc.) and almost never saw it written. One day I decided to look it up and it turns out, 万万 really doesn't have anything to do with 千万. To a native English speaker 千万 feels like something, it has a strong feeling of suggestion and exhortation for a positive or negative thing. 万万 on the other hand is used only in the negative sense with a meaning and usage equal of 完全

我完全不同意。 = 我万万不同意。

My dictionary has the line 那是万万不行的。 When I look at this line all I can think is that any person would more likely say 那是完全不行的, or maybe its just me.

And yes, 万万等于一亿, in some older books you will actually not see the character 亿, this character may have been a later invention, who knows.