No Nonsense Newbie Tips: Alternatives to “一点”

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.

As with 喜欢 and 非常 before, lets take a look at some great alternatives to 一点.  Incorporate a few of these into your daily vocabulary and you can be sure to climb out of this newbie rut.  

 

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.

Example:

千年后人类啥样 手长脑缩水有点吓人

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.

Example:

全身减肥哪种方法比较好?

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.

Example:

最近,研究表明喝牛奶可以稍微降低长粉刺的风险

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“.

Example:

他在回忆当时的不习惯和略感害怕的心情

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.

Example:

尽管洛杉矶银河队以1:2输掉了比赛,但这丝毫没影响贝克汉姆的心情

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?

 

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One Response to No Nonsense Newbie Tips: Alternatives to “一点”

  1. Sam October 13, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    Is there really that much of a difference in meaning between 一点 and 有点? I’ve always been taught (maybe wrongly it seems) that the difference is more grammatical, eg. …有点+adj. vs. adj.+(了)一点.
    Love the blog posts by the way, thanks!