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Answer to the Exercise on a Chinese Moment: The Difference between “一下(yíxià)” and “一会儿(yíhuìr)”

Aug. 20, 2014

Correct Answer: A

In the Chinese language, there are two sentence structures which are often used in people’s daily conversations. They are “verb + 一下(yíxià)” and “verb + 一会儿(yíhuìr).”

In these sentence structures, both “一下(yíxià)” and “一会儿(yíhuìr)” have similar meanings indicating how long the action is, but you may not be completely clear on how to use them in different situations.

Firstly, “一下(yíxià)” can be used to describe a short period of time and it stresses the action itself. Some examples of “一下(yíxià)” in use include “找一下(zhǎo yíxià) to find,” “试一下(shì yíxià) to have a try,” “看一下(kàn yíxià) to have a look,” etc.

Examples

Wǒ xiǎnɡ zhǎo yíxià Liú Míng.
我    想      找    一下 刘  明。
I want to find Liu Ming.

Linda: Zhè jiàn máoyī zhēn piàoliang! Wǒ nénɡ shì yíxià ma?
Linda:这  件    毛衣   真      漂亮!     我   能     试  一下  吗?
Linda: This sweater is so beautiful! Can I try it on?

Salesgirl:  kěyǐ!
Salesgirl:可以!
Salesgirl: OK!

However, “一会儿(yíhuìr)” takes on a different meaning. It refers to “a while” and stresses the process of the action rather than the action itself. In other words, “一会儿(yíhuìr)” describes a comparatively long time as in “等一会儿(děng yíhuìr) wait a while for somebody,” “睡一会儿(shuì yíhuìr) sleep for a while,” “听一会儿(tīng yíhuìr) listen to something for a while,” and so on.

Example1

Māma : Bob, gāi qǐchuáng le!
妈妈:  Bob,该   起床      了!
Mother: Bob, it’s time to get up!

Bob:  Bù, māma! Wǒ xiǎng zài shuì yíhuìr.
Bob:不,妈妈!我    想    再   睡  一会儿。
Bob: No, Mom! I want to sleep for a while.

Example2

Wánɡ Lì: Zhāng Xīn ne?
王      丽:张      欣  呢?
Wang Li: Where is Zhang Xin?

Lucy: Tā gāng chūqu. Nǐ děng yíhuìr ba!
Lucy:她   刚    出去。你  等   一会儿 吧!
Lucy: She just went out. Please wait for her for a while.

In our test, Zhang Wei just wants to have a look and see whether Jack has come, stressing the action “look” itself. Also, Rose says she will wait for Jack for a while. Taking what we just learned about “一下(yíxià)” and “一会儿(yíhuìr),” we can figure out that the correct answer is A.

Back to “A Chinese Moment: The Difference between ‘一下(yíxià)’ and ‘一会儿(yíhuìr)’”

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