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Apr 4

Expressing Meaning in Mandarin

Have you ever wanted to use one word (意思yì si) to express five meanings? In Chinese, different words in different situations have different meanings. The phrase about (意思yì si),有意思 (yǒu yìsi),also have many meanings.

Learn Basic Chinese Phrase – “有意思 (yǒu yìsi)”

Alice:
zuì jìn wǒ fā xiàn wáng míng duì zhāng hóng tè bié hǎo 。
最 近 我 发 现 王 明 对 张 红 特 别 好 。

John:
duì ā , wǒ yě fā xiàn le 。
对 啊 , 我 也 发 现 了 。

Alice:
hēi hēi , wǒ jué dé tā duì zhāng hóng yǒu yì si 。
嘿 嘿 , 我 觉 得 他 对 张 红 有 意 思 。

John:
wǒ yě jué dé 。
我 也 觉 得 。

What does Alice think about Wang Ming and Zhang Hong?

A. Zhang Hong is an interesting girl
B. Zhang Hong kind of likes Wang Ming.
C. Wang Ming kind of likes Zhang Hong.


The correct answer for this Chinese quiz is C.

Read the dialogue again:

Analysis:

“有 (yǒu)” means to have something, and “意思 (yìsi)” indicates meaning. “有意思 (yǒu yìsi)” has two meanings.

Firstly, “有意思 (yǒu yìsi)” can be used to express that someone likes another one. In the test, Wang Ming kind of likes Zhang Hong, so he is quite nice to her, which was noticed by Alice and John.
The correct answer for this Chinese quiz is C.

Finally, “有意思 (yǒu yìsi)” means to be interesting.

Example:

wǒ jué dé dì xīn yǐn lì zhè bù diàn yǐng tǐng hǎo kàn de 。
我 觉 得 《 地 心 引 力 》 这 部 电 影 挺 好 看 的 。
I think the film Gravity is interesting.

What does meaning(意思yìsi) mean?

Michael is my friend from American. One day, he emailed me that he knows 有意思but he is confused about one conversation about 意思. The conversation as follows.

A:
Nǐ zhēn yǒu yìsi.
你 真 有 意思。
You are so interesting.

B:
bù hǎo yì si , wǒ kāi wán xiào de 。
不 好 意 思 , 我 开 玩 笑 的 。
Excuse me, I’m kidding.

He said he is confused about these two “意思 (yìsi)”.

In fact, the first “意思 (yìsi)” means being interesting for person, and the second is used to show sorry.
“意思 (yìsi)” is commonly used in Chinese, and it has different meaning in different situations.

(1). Literally, “意思 (yìsi)” refers meaning.

Examples:

Nǐ zhīdào zhèɡe dāncí shénme yìsi mɑ?
你 知道 这个 单词 什么意思吗?
Do you know the meaning of this word?

nǐ dǒng wǒ de yì si ba 。
你 懂 我 的 意 思 吧 。
You know what I say.

(2). “意思 (yìsi) is often used to describe interesting things or people. For example, if a person is humorous, you can say “你这个人真有意思 (nǐ zhè ɡe rén zhēn yǒu yì si)”.

Examples:

Māo hé Láoshǔ zhèbù dònɡhuàpiàn tǐnɡ yǒu yìsi de.
《猫 和 老鼠》 这部 动画片 挺 有 意思的。
The animation Tom and Jerry is interesting.

nǐ zhēn yǒu yì si , lǎo ài kāi wán xiào 。

你 真 有 意 思 , 老 爱 开 玩 笑 。
You are so interesting. You are always kidding.

(3). It often appears in the expression “不好意思 (bù hǎo yìsi)”, means sorry or excuse me.

Example:

A:
Bù hǎo yìsi, wǒ chídào le.
不好 意思,我 迟到 了。
Sorry, I am late.

B:
Méi ɡuānxi.
没 关系。
It doesn’t matter.

(4). “意思 (yìsi)” is a token of affection or appreciation, ect.

Example:

xiè xiè nǐ zuó tiān bāng wǒ zhào gù nǚ ér , sòng gěi nǐ yì shuāng shǒu tào ,
谢 谢你 昨 天 帮 我 照 顾 女 儿 , 送 给 你 一 双 手 套 ,
Thanks for looking after my daughter. This pair of gloves is for you as a token of my appreciation.

yì dián ér yì si .
一点 儿意思 .

(5). “意思 (yìsi)” can also refers suggestions, hints or trace.

Example:

Tiān yīn le, yóudiǎnr yào xiàxuě de yìsi.
天 阴 了,有点儿 要 下雪 的意思。
It is cloudy. It is going to snow.

There are all the meanings of 有意思 and 意思. 有意思吗?

Author: Amy Zhang

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