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总是 VS 一直: “Always” is not always the same in Chinese

There are two ways to say “always” in Chinese, and these are the words “总是(zǒngshì)” and “一直(yīzhí)”.  Both  “总是(zǒngshì)” and “一直(yīzhí)” share the meaning of “always”, but people sometimes mistakenly use both interchangeably. One should be aware that there also…

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Learning Chinese as an Adult VS as a Child

When I first came to China, I knew all of two words, “nǐ hǎo” (你好, “hello”), and “xièxie” (谢谢, “thanks”). It took me over three years to get from there to a level of proficiency where I was confident enough…

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When to Use “有(一)点儿” VS “(一)点儿” in Chinese

During Chinese class, whenever I ask my students, “今天上课累不累?(jīn tiān shàngkè lèi bu lèi? / Do you feel tired in class today?)”, they often answer me with the phrase ”一点儿累(yìdiǎnr lèi)”(×). But the correct phrase to use here is”有一点儿(yǒu yìdiǎnr)”.…

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