In this installment of No Nonsense Newbie Tips, we want to help our readers escape the 喜欢 (xǐ huan) rut.
Found in chapter 1 of all beginner textbooks, 喜欢 is an easy catch all for anything and everything. 中国菜？ 喜欢。 王老师？ 喜欢。 骑自行车？ 喜欢。 在沙滩上散步？ 也喜欢。
Surely, your favorite hobbies, foods, people, and ideas deserve more descriptive words than tired old 喜欢. Today, we’ll discuss alternatives to describe things you like, are fond of, prefer, or enjoy.
This is not to say 喜欢 isn’t a good, functional word. On the contrary, it is a very frequently encountered verb, and is essential for learners to grasp. However, if you find 喜欢 becoming a crutch for anything and everything positive, it is important to incorporate more situation specific words to help you escape this rut!
And when you master the vocabulary from this list, be sure to try out FluentU.
FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
1. 享受 (xiǎng shòu)- To enjoy
Instead of telling your boss you really “喜欢“ your first week on the job, let him know you “享受” it instead. This word, meaning enjoy, can be used in a wide range of contexts, as in English. From immediate sensual pleasures to grander ideas of freedoms or rights, 享受 can be used to show appreciation or enjoyment of things both tangible and abstract.
liú dòng rén kǒu jiāng yǔ shì mín xiǎng shòu tóng děng dài yù
The “floating population” (migrant workers) will enjoy the same treatment as city residents.
ān jìng jià qī xiǎng shòu zuì měi yǐn jū dì li de xiǎo lǚg uǎn
During a quiet holiday, enjoy the most beautiful and remote small hotel
2. 欣赏 (xīn shǎng)- Appreciate, admire, savor
Similar to 享受 in that it can be used to describe “enjoying” or “appreciating” something, 欣赏 more specifically means something suits your taste or preferences, as in art, music, or food. It can denote a level of sophistication to 欣赏 an exquisite piece of art, a complex balance of flavors, or the grandiosity of nature.
yóu kè zài xiàn dài yì shù bó wù guǎn xīn shǎng yì shù zuò pǐn
Tourists admired the works at the Museum of Modern Art
huā diǎner shí jiān xīn shǎng suǒ yǒu zhè yī qiè, zhè yàng zuò huì bǐ nǐ yòng jìn měi fēn měi miǎo qù dé dào gèng duō yào kuài lè de duō
Spend more time appreciating everything, you’ll be far happier than if you try to cram everything in all the time
3. 倾向于 (qīng xiàng yú)- Inclined towards, prefer, prone to
If you are with friends trying to decide between two dinner options, instead of the predictable “我更喜欢。。。”, use “我倾向于。。。“. 倾向 means tendency or inclination, and adding the particle 于shows your preference toward the following option. This phrase is a bit more formal than, and can never directly substitute for, 喜欢. It is a good way to indicate your preference for one of several options. Similar to “I’m leaning towards…” in English.
rú guǒ wǒ yǒu jī huì zài zhōu mò qù dǎ gāo ěr fū huò zhě qù huá xuě, wǒ zǒng shì qīng xiàng yú huá xuě
If I have the option to play golf or go skiing on the weekend, I always prefer to ski
gōng sī qīng xiàng yú jiāng wài bāo fān yì fú wù jiāo gěi néng tí gōng quán miàn jiě jué fāng àn de hé zuò huǒ bàn
Companies prefer to outsource translation services to partners who can provide comprehensive solutions.
4- 热衷 (rè zhōng)- Fond of, keen on, crazy about
Probably closest to 喜欢 out of these four, 热衷 goes one step further. Beyond simply liking something, 热衷 shows your ardent enthusiasm or fondness, even bordering on 疯狂 (fēng kuáng-crazy) adoration.
zhōng guó shāng rén rè zhōng tóu zī fà guó pú táo jiǔ zhuāng
Chinese businessmen crazy about investing in French wineries
rè zhōng“zǒu chū qù” zhōng qǐ duì wài zhí jiē tóu zī é yǒu wàng chí xù zēng zhǎng
Chinese businesses keen on foreign direct investment hope to continue growth
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.