Continuing our No Nonsense Newbie Tips series, today we look at alternatives to 一点 (yī diǎn). 一点 is a great little word meaning “a little bit” or “somewhat“, and is very flexible in usage. It can be used before or after the object to indicate degrees either positive or negative. Its simple utility is enticing.
However, as with other words covered in this series, it is important to build a robust vocabulary of more descriptive words, offering options beyond 一点. A variety of more expressive words present you more interesting ways to interact with your world in Chinese.
1. 有点 (yǒu diǎn)- a little bit, slightly
Note that when using 有点 instead of 一点, it is generally used to describe either neutral or negative things.
qiān nián hòu rén lèi shà yàng shǒu zhǎng nǎo suō shuǐ yǒu diǎn xià rén
What will humans look like in a thousand years? With long arms and small brains, its a bit scary
2. 比较 (bǐ jiào)- comparatively, rather, quite
比较 is primarily used to compare two comparable objects, but can also be used to indicate a slight degree.
quán shēn jiǎn féi nǎ zhǒng fāng fǎ bǐ jiào hǎo
What method of losing body weight is slightly better?
3. 稍微 (shāo wēi)- a little, a trifle
More formal than 一点, 稍微 always comes before the object you are modifying.
zuì jìn, yán jiū biǎo míng hē niú nǎi kě yǐ shāo wéi jiàng dī zhǎng fěn cì de fēng xiǎn
Recently, research has shown drinking milk can slightly lower the risk of growing pimples
4. 略 (lüè)- slightly, briefly
Also on the more formal side, use this to indicate either “slightly” or “roughly, about“.
tā zài huí yì dāng shí de bù xí guàn hé lüè gǎn hài pà de xīn qíng
He was remembering how unfamiliar and slightly scared he felt at that time
5. 丝毫 (sī háo)- At all, the slightest
Literally translated as “strand of hair”, using 丝毫 is sure to indicate you are a serious learner! It is also a bit formal, and often used in the negative.
jǐn guǎn luò shān jī yín hé duì yǐ 1:2 shū diào le bǐ sài, dàn zhè sī háo méi yǐng xiǎng bèi kè hàn mǔ de xīn qíng
Although the Los Angeles Galaxy lost the match 1-2, this didn’t affect Beckham’s mood in the slightest
Other commonly over-used words? What other newbie ruts have you found yourself in?