When you’re feeling defiant – 不服


Today we cover a word that is truly Chinese. It has no direct English counterpart and using it will make your Chinese sound more real and authentic: 不服 (bùfú).

不服 basically means to refuse to submit or yield to someone’s

Essential Chengyu: When 努力 is not enough – 力所能及


One of the first phrases that intermediate Chinese learners learn may be “努力” (nǔ lì), which means “to try.” If you’ve been saying 努力 for a while, why not supplement with a more sophisticated way for you to really get …

How do you say you “lack” something? 缺少 vs 缺乏

Learn Chinese - Compare and Contrast 6 - Desert

No doubt that you’ve often seen 缺少 (quēshǎo) and 缺乏 (quēfá) being used, but have you ever stopped to consider their subtle differences in meaning? Both 缺少 (quēshǎo) and 缺乏 (quēfá) mean “to lack” but they’re not always interchangeable.


权力 vs. 权利 showdown

Learn Chinese - Compare and Contrast 5 - Quanli vs Quanli Showdown

In our last post, we covered 2 words meaning rights: 权利 (quánlì) and 权益 (quányì). An astute reader brought up the great question of where 权力 (quánlì) fits in in all of this. Both 权利 and 权力 seem to

Don’t misrepresent yourself in Chinese court!权利 vs. 权益

Learn Chinese - Compare-and-Contrast-4-Rights.jpg

Rights of any kind (legal, human, etc.) is way too difficult an issue that we’re not smart enough to cover at our blog. But what we can do is help you master the Chinese words for “rights”: 权利 (quánlì) and

Essential Chengyu: Are you just happy or 兴高采烈?


高兴 (gāoxìng – happy) is a useful word you learned in first year Chinese, but perhaps it’s time that you found synonyms that let you express yourself with more nuance? We have one for you: 兴高采烈 (xìnggāocǎiliè).

The next time …

Bet you don’t know the difference between 签名 and 签字


Today we compare two words that both involve writing things: 签名 (qiānmíng) and 签字 (qiānzì). If you think the difference is that one means to sign your name, while the other means to write anything, then you’re in good company. …