Sunday, June 29, 2008

Chinglish: "遇到问题" and "meet a problem"

Some Chinese students translate "遇到问题" to "meet a problem". This is not correct. The correct way to say it is "I have a problem", "I had a problem", "this problem happened to me before". Say whatever but avoid "meet", because that's a word for people, as in "I met him on the street". If you have to have an exact match for "遇到", say "encounter", as in "the operations team encountered a serious problem at the time the system went live". But it's too formal for normal use.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"in [with] regard to" ,"regarding","concerning", "about"

> Can i use them as a sentences like the followings?
> 1) I have set bunch of ideas as regard the problem.
> 2) With regard to the problem,i have set bunch of ideas.
> 3) I have set bunch of ideas with regard to the problem .
> 4) In respect to the problem, i have set bunch of ideas.
> Are those sentences correct?

There's no difference between these words or phrase ("in regard to" ,"regarding","concerning", "about", and "with regard to"). But it sounds weird when you mix formal words ("with [or in] regard to") with informal words such as "bunch of". And obviously whoever uses formal words should never write "i" when he means "I". Many Chinese and Indians have this horrible yet easily correctable mistake in not using capital letters when they should.

I don't think you can say "bunch of" not following "a"; "a bunch of" is correct but "bunch of" is probably not. "As regards" is heard. I'm not sure if anybody says "as regard".

No "to" between two verbs

> "Let’s help push the cart across the bridge"
> 能解释下 "Help" and "push" 为什么能并列吗?

Most verbs need "to" to be inserted in front of the verb following it, e.g., "He told me to do it". There're a couple of verbs that don't need the "to", e.g., "He let me do it". And there's one verb that can, but doesn't have to, be followed by "to", and that verb is "help", e.g., "We can help you to finish the job", "We can help you finish the job". In fact, Americans often omit the "to" and I think more and more British do that too now.

In very informal English, people omit "to" after "go", e.g., "Let's go eat", or omit "and", e.g., "Go ahead do it".

Don't omit that "that"

> He tried to isolate the germ he thought was causing the disease.
> 我认为 i thought 是插入语,插入语在句中不做任何成分,所以这句话在
> was前是不是缺了一个that 呢?

I agree. The word "that" should not be omitted.

Also see this:

"There're too many people make such mistakes."

Indeed many Chinese say that because it's a direct translation from Chinese. The word "that" (or "who") after "people" should not be omitted. Or just say "Too many people make such mistakes."

You deserve it!

> 日常的会话中也常常用到一句“You deserve it!”,这句话是说这是“你应得的”,就是“活该、
> 自作自受”的意思。比如有人老爱脚踏两条船,结果到头来同时被两个女人给甩了,这种人
> 你就可以对他说 You deserve it.

Most of the time I hear people say "You deserve it!" in a positive way, although the negative usage is also heard:

"You're all hardworking people. At the time our company is coming to the end of an unprecedented profitable year, you all will receive an unprecedented bonus, because you all deserve it!"