More Cool Things That Are Slightly Easier To Say In Mandarin

Following on from the first list, although I am a native English speaker, sometimes it can be a bit easier to use Chinese to quickly express some concepts. Here are a couple more Chinese phrases that can be a bit easier to say in Mandarin.



Literally: ‘Tiring/painful!’.

Closest English equivalents: ’Thanks a lot’/‘Appreciate it/Wow’.

Why it’s good: this phrase literally means ‘tiring/painful’ but really means something like ‘thanks’ or ‘I appreciate it’. The advantage of this phrase is that 辛苦了 shows you appreciate the difficulty of something at the same time as it expresses your gratitude, giving it an advantage over a phrase like ‘I appreciate it’. You can also use it more broadly to thank people not for helping only you, but for ‘contributing’ somehow to the betterment of society as a whole - for example, you could say ‘辛苦了’ to some firefighters walking past, whereas saying ‘I appreciate your work’, in English, might sound a bit odd.

Example sentence: ‘I also got you some donuts as well on my way back.’
‘辛苦了! 辛苦了!’



Literally: ‘Water’.

Closest English equivalents: ‘To do something dodgy/To cut corners/To be ridiculous’.

Why it’s good: in Chinese ‘water’ can also symbolise ‘dodgy-ness’ or unreliability. So, for example, saying that you’re adding ‘water’ to your work means that you’re half-assing it, not doing a proper job for your employer. If you say an issue has a lot of water, it means that there are dodgy people involved and/or deceptions, so it’s hard to accurately judge the situation. While the word ‘dodgy’ in English is quite good, it’s not always as versatile as using ‘water’.

Example sentence: ‘I don’t dare do online buying and selling, the 水 is too deep’.
‘I have a feeling Joe from Accounting is putting a bit of 水 on it.’