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Answer to the Exercise on Similar but Not the Same: “没错(méicuò)” and “不错(búcuò)”

Nov. 5, 2014

Correct Answer: A

In the Chinese language, both “没(méi)” and “不()” can be used as negative adverbs meaning “not” or “no.” However, if they used in conjunction with the same word, “错(cuò) wrong,” as in “没错(méicuò)” and “不错(búcuò),” their actual meanings are quite different from each other.

没错(méicuò)

In Chinese, “没错(méicuò)” is the negation of “错(cuò) wrong,” meaning “right” or “certainly.”

Examples

Betty: Qǐngwèn zhèlǐ shì Lǐ Hóng de jiā ma?
Betty:请问       这里 是  李   红  的  家  吗?
Betty: Excuse me, is this Li Hong’s house?

Wánɡ Xīn: Méicuò, qǐng jìn.
王      心:没错,   请    进。
Wang Xin: That’s right. Please come in.

Méicuò, nà gè rén shì xiǎotōu!
没错,   那 个  人   是   小偷!
That person is certainly a thief!

不错(búcuò)

Essentially, “不错(búcuò)” is also a negation of “错(cuò) wrong,” meaning “right.” But in fact, in the Chinese language “不错(búcuò)” usually implies “not bad” or “it’s Ok.”

Examples

Lǐ Píng: Bruce, nǐ de hànyǔ hěn búcuò!
李  萍:Bruce, 你 的  汉语    很   不错!
Li Ping: Bruce, your Chinese is pretty good!

Bruce: Xièxie!
Bruce:谢谢!
Bruce: Thanks!

Jīntiān de tiānqì zhēn búcuò!
今天    的  天气   真     不错!
The weather today is nice!

In our test, Nancy tells LiLi that his guess is right, so the correct answer is A.

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