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A Way to Say “To do” That You’ve Probably Never Seen

Nov. 10, 2020

1.Apple launches new products

Every fall, the tech community holds its collective breath in anticipation of Apple releasing its new line of products and gadgets. Will smartphones keep getting larger? Is there a new type of wearable device to keep track of your busy life? Will batteries last for longer than 4 hours?

One word that we can use to describe a product launch is 面世(miànshì). “面世(miànshì)” is a verb that means “to come out”, in which 面(miàn) means “to meet” and 世(shì) means “the world” – saying that when something new comes out it “meets the world” is quite poetic, actually!

面世(miànshì): come out

Examples:

píngguǒ xīn chǎnpǐn miànshì le.
苹果新产品面世了。
Apple’s new products have come out.

shīrén de xīnzuò jíjiāng miànshì.
诗人的新作即将面世。
The poet’s new work will be published soon.

2.Advantages and disadvantages of the new products

As with every product launch, fans and detractors alike quickly took to the internet to praise Apple’s devices for their advantages and criticize them for their disadvantages.

Among the advantages were the fact that the new phones will be 5G-enabled (meaning faster download and upload speeds), photography functions (meaning better pictures), and lower-than expected prices (meaning more access).

However, observers were very unhappy to learn that the new models of phones will no longer include headphones and a charger. Many have said that Apple has begun to “搞事情(gǎo shìqíng) do things”.

“搞事情(gǎo shìqing) doing things” is equivalent to, “being provocative”, or, “stirring up trouble”. However, the expression “doing things” has become popular on the Internet, especially in the context of (maybe) jokingly expressing a slight feeling of discomfort.

Examples:

nǐ búyào gěi wǒ gǎo shìqing.
你不要给我搞事情。
Don’t mess with me.

zěnme? xiǎng gǎo shìqing?
怎么?想搞事情?
What’s up? Are you trying to start something?

This way of saying “do” is actually very similar to the English “to do” in terms of its usage, as it can refer to many different verbs and meanings, such as: “fix something”, or, “make something”, whether it means taking small steps or completing a project.

搞定(gǎodìng)

“搞定(gǎodìng)” to accomplish a task or solve a certain issue. It can also mean that you can make someone listen to you.

Examples:

zhè jiàn shìqíng gǎodìng le.
这件事情搞定了。
This thing is done.

xiǎohái tài nán gǎodìng le.
小孩太难搞定了。
Kids are so hard to deal with.

搞小动作(gǎo xiǎo dòngzuò): make small moves

“搞小动作(gǎo xiǎo dòngzuò)” means secretly performing activities that are unfavorable to others, or doing something behind other people’s backs.

Examples:

wǒ hěn tǎoyàn zài bèihòu gǎo xiǎo dòngzuò de rén.
我很讨厌在背后搞小动作的人。
I hate people who do things behind other people’s backs.

zhè háizi shàngkè lǎoshì ài gǎo xiǎo dòngzuò.
这孩子上课老是爱搞小动作。
This kid always plays little tricks in class.

3.When to use 搞事情

The verb 搞(gǎo), meaning, “to do” is itself neutral. However, the expression 搞事情(gǎo shìqíng) is usually negative, but can be used in a wide range of situations ranging from casual joking with friends to more serious condemnations. Just in case, as you get the feel for how to use it, you might want to start by practicing on your friends first!

HSK 3 quiz

In which of these situations would using 搞事情(gǎo shìqíng) to describe what is happening be inappropriate?

A. Your friend asks you to help her find attendees for the event she’s organizing.
B. A car manufacturer releases a new model but charges extra for seat belts.
C. You make fun of your brother for his new hairstyle.
D. A father cooks dinner for his family.

You May Want to Learn More:

Does the expression “plate him!” sound strange to you?

How to express different levels of understanding: 理解 VS 了解

Did You “照骗 (Zhào piàn)” Cheat? Everyone Does it Now!

HSK 1 quiz

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