Mandarin Chinese confusing word pairs ~ the near-synonyms in Mandarin

When learning Mandarin Chinese, do you feel confusing what the differences between near-synonyms? This article will show you some tips and examples for learning these kinds of words.

Find the different usage and scenario

Some near-synonyms with very similar meaning. It is very hard to identify them through meaning. For these kinds of vocabularies, learners better understand through their usage and scenario.

Example: 開心  快樂  高興

The above three Mandarin Chinese vocabularies all means “Happy” in English, but their usage and scenario are different. Let’s see the explanations as below:

快樂:it is a long turn situation, kind of personality. Also, when I want to bless someone or celebrate a something, I will choice 快樂, such as 生日快樂(Happy birthday)、新年快樂(Happy New Year).

高興:it is a short turn situation. Or I can say it is because of something make me feel “happy”. If I got an excellent test result, I will say “我很高興(I am very happy).

開心:except bless someone or celebrate a something, users can choice either “快樂”or “開心”. The same as “高興”, user can use either of them. The only different is “開心”is bit closer to spoken word.

Catch the differences from the meaning

Some confusing words look similar but actually different, so, you can try to use your first language to help you. Don’t be confused by the characters. let’s see the example as發現/發明/發生.

For the above three vocabularies, they all have “發”, but their meanings are different. 發現means discover, 發明means invent(invention), 發生means happen.

It is very easy to know their different through meaning. The only thing you need to do is to remember them.

The part of speech

Some confusing pair-words are really “confusing”. They have same meaning, with the same scenario, so, how can I identify them? Under this kind of situation, I will suggest you use their part of speech. Here is an example:

迷人and 魅力 all means charming, I will use either of them when I want to tell someone he or she is very attractive. So, what is the different? The biggest different is their part of speech.

迷人is adjective, but 魅力is noun. Since their part of speech are different, their grammatical functions are definitely different. Here come the sentences:

他的魅力誰都比不上 (subject 的  noun)

誰都喜歡他迷人的笑容 (adjective + noun)

These are 3 top hacks when you are learning Mandarin Chinese near-synonyms. Hope this article is useful to you.

Here you can read about Five things you need to know before learning Mandarin Chinese