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Answer to “以为(yǐwéi)” vs. “认为(rènwéi)” – Similar but Different

Jul. 15, 2014

Correct Answer: A

In the Chinese language, both “以为(yǐwéi)” and “认为(rènwéi)” can be used to express what one thinks or thought to be true, in other words, to show one’s original opinion. But, when it comes down to it, they are actually quite different from one another.

Firstly, “以为(yǐwéi)” has a special meaning. It is used when the speaker, after discovering that what he thought is actually not correct, still expresses his previous, incorrect idea.

“我以为(Wǒ yǐwéi)” = “I believed something, but it turned out to be wrong.”

Example1:

          Lǐ Tíng, jīntiān zhōngwǔ chī shénme?
Mary: 李 婷,今天       中午      吃    什么?
          Li Ting, what do you want to eat for lunch?

Lǐ Tíng: Miàntiáo, wǒ hěn xǐhuan chī miàntiáo.
李 婷:     面条,      我 很   喜欢    吃  面条。
Li Ting: Noodles. I really like to eat noodles.

           Nǐ xǐhuan chī miàntiáo? Wǒ yǐwéi nǐ xǐhuan chī jiǎozi.
Mary:你 喜欢    吃    面条?   我  以为 你  喜欢    吃  饺子。
           You like eating noodles? I thought you liked eating dumplings.

Example 2:

          Jim, nǐ  wèishénme chídào?
Boss: Jim,你    为什么     迟到?
          Jim, why are you late?

        Duì buqǐ. Wǒ yǐwéi jīntiān shì xīngqī rì.
Jim:对不起。我   以为 今天    是   星期 日。
        Sorry. I thought today was Sunday.

Unlike “以为(yǐwéi),” “认为(rènwéi)” is just used to express one’s own opinion. It simply means “believe / think / consider / feel”, which may or may not correspond to actual facts.

“我认为(Wǒ rènwéi)” = “It is my well-founded opinion that…”

Example1:

           Zhè fèn gōngzuò zhēn nán!
Mina:这     份    工作     真     难!
           This job is really very difficult!

Wáng Míng: Bié dānxīn. Wǒ rènwéi nǐ néng zuò hǎo tā!
王         明: 别   担心。  我    认为 你  能    做   好  它!
Wang Ming: Don’t worry. I believe you can do it well!

Example 2:

            Liú Fāng, nǐ xǐhuan Anny ma?
Betty: 刘 芳,  你  喜欢   Anny  吗?
            Liu Fang, do you like Anny?

Liú Fāng: Wǒ hěn xǐhuan tā.
刘     芳: 我  很    喜欢   她。
Liu Fang: I like her very much.

            Wèi shénme?
Betty:为    什么?
            Why?

Liú Fāng: Wǒ rènwéi tā hěn shànliáng.
刘    芳:  我   认为 她  很   善良。
Liu Fang: I think she is really kind.

In our test, Peter thought James was an American, which it turns out is untrue, so the answer is A.

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