New Phrase: Quite Small

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Today I spent all of my time (much to my girlfriends distress) researching and collecting information for a massive blogpost (or three) about the Beijing Olympics last year. Saturday is the anniversary of the opening ceremony and in its honour I am making a super blog post about it. So I apologise to myself and any of you that were expecting something exciting about what I had learnt today.... But what I did manage to put together quickly for you is the opposite of yesterday's phrase 很大 hěn dà.

很小 hěn xiǎo

It can be used in eactly the same way. And here are a couple of examples for you;

zhèxiē chē hěn xiǎo
These cars are quite small.

And secondly;

zhèxiē niǎo dàn hěn xiǎo
These eggs are quite small.

The main difference between yesterdays and todays other than the obvious size difference, is that there are more than one of each of these objects. Therefore the start of the sentence now says;

These instead of this. 这些 (zhèxiē) instead of 这个 (zhè gè). More than one/Several instead of one.

Hope you now have learnt how to say something is quite small. 很小 hěn xiǎo, and the difference between 这些 (zhèxiē) iand 这个 (zhè gè).


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  1. Anonymous Says:
  2. Hi Charlie! This is Wanchi from Interpals. Just wanted to say a bit about the sentence "这些辆车是很小".

    There is no need to say 辆 (liang) after using 这些 (zhexie) because 这些 means "these" and 辆 is only used to decribe one single car, e.g. 一辆车(a car) or 这辆车(this car).

    Also just say 很小 (hen xiao) is ok, don't have to add 是 (shi).

    so just say 这些车很小 (These cars are small) is fine.

    Hope you can understand what I am saying :)


  3. Thanks for the clarification Wanchi. It is really helpful for me.

    So you only use those classifiers with one of something then?

    So 这些猫 zhèxiē māo

    is fine and the single requires 只?

    一只猫 yī zhī māo

  4. Anonymous Says:
  5. i should say words like 只 and 辆 usually follow after a number like 一只猫 (one cat) or 三只猫 (three cats) and just the same with 辆

    whilst "这些" (these) doesn't mean a particular number or quantity but more than one.

    If you want to indicate that "These three cars are small.", it should be like:

    这三辆车很小 (zhe san liang che hen xiao)


  6. Many thanks Wanchi. That makes it much clearer. :D

  7. Puerhan Says:
  8. Notwithstanding @veggieinlove's comment on twitter regarding 'authentic' sounding use of classifiers, I think Wanchi clarifies their use nicely here.

    I think you can also say:



  9. Anonymous Says:
  10. Hello again!

    Compare these:

    这些车很小。These cars are very small.
    这些车蛮小。These cars are quite small.

    这些鸟蛋很小。These eggs are very small.
    这些鸟蛋蛮小。These eggs are quite small.

  11. ahh, ok, so 很 means very? or at least more than 蛮.

    I hadnt learnt this much yet. :)

    Thanks again. :D

  12. Anonymous Says:
  13. Yes and yes.

    My pleasure, mate!


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