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Answer to the difference between “短(duǎn)”and “矮(ǎi)”

Jun. 4, 2014

Correct Answer: C

In the Chinese language, both “短(duǎn)” and “矮(ǎi)” can be used as adjectives indicating “short.” However, these two words are actually used in different contexts.

If we want to describe the length of something as being short, then we usually use “短(duǎn),” and the opposite of “短(duǎn)” is “长(cháng) long.”

Examples:

              Nǐ xǐhuan duǎnkù ma?
1. Betty: 你 喜欢     短裤     吗?

              Do you like short pants?

Liú Méi: Bù xǐhuan, wǒ xǐhuan chángqún.
刘 梅:  不  喜欢,  我  喜欢    长裙。

Liu Mie: No, I like long skirts.

    Zhè ge gùshi hěn duǎn.
2. 这   个  故事   很     短。

    The story is very short.

But, if we want to describe someone’s height, then we generally use “矮(ǎi).” To express the opposite of “矮(ǎi)” we can use “高(gāo) high or tall.” For example, “个子高(gèzi gāo) tall height.”

Examples:

    Nǐ juéde Tom ǎi ma?
1. 你 觉得  Tom 矮 吗?

    Do you think Tom is short?

    Yáomíng de gèzi hěn gāo.
2. 姚明        的 个子 很   高。

    Yao Ming is very tall.

Translation of the dialogue:

Olaf hěn ǎi, tā de tuǐ hěn duǎn.
Olaf 很  矮,他 的 腿 很    短。

Olaf is very short. His legs are very short.

In our test, if we want to describe Olaf’s height we should use “矮(ǎi).” If we want to describe the length of his legs, then we should use “短(duǎn).” So the answer is C.

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