Answers to the Exercise on Correct Ways to Say “A Little Bit” in Mandarin

Correct Answer: B
“一点儿(yìdiǎnr)” is a Chinese measure word which means “a little.” “有一点儿(yǒu yìdiǎnr)” is an adverb which also means “a little.” These are two very simple Chinese words, however, Mandarin beginners often get confused by them because their English translations are identical. Can you tell me what’s wrong with the sentence: “牛肉一点儿贵(niúròu yìdiǎnr guì)?” If not, let’s take a look at the differences between “一点儿(yìdiǎnr)” and “有一点儿(yǒu yìdiǎnr),” then it will be easier for you to get the answer.
“一点儿(yìdiǎnr),” is often used before a noun to express the meaning “a little” or “a few.” Chinese people often use “一点儿(yìdiǎnr)” in the following sentence structure  in daily conversations: “Subject + Verb + 一点儿(yìdiǎnr) + Noun.
Wǒ xiǎng hē yìdiǎnr hóngjiǔ.
我   想      喝 一点儿 红酒。

I want to drink a little wine.
Wǒ yào chī yìdiǎnr tiándiǎn.
我   要   吃  一点儿 甜点。

I want to eat some dessert.
However, “有一点儿(yǒu yìdiǎnr),” cannot be used before nouns. It is often used before adjectives and verbs. In daily speech, people can omit “一()” and just say “有点儿(yǒu diǎnr).” The common sentence format is: “Subject + 有点儿(yǒu diánr) + Adj / Verbs.”
Wǒ dùzi yǒu (yì)diǎnr bùshūfu.
我  肚子 有(一)点儿 不舒服。

My stomach is a little uncomfortable.
Bob de tóufa yǒu (yì)diǎnr shǎo.
Bob 的 头发  有(一)点儿 少。

Bob doesn’t have a lot of hair.
When “有(一)点儿(yǒu ()diǎnr)” is used before verbs, the verb used usually refers to a mental-state, such as “喜欢(xǐhuan) like,” “讨厌(tǎoyàn) hate,” “希望(xīwàng) hope,” etc.
yǒu diǎnr xǐhuan nà ge xīn tóngshì.
我   有   点儿 喜欢    那 个  新  同事。

I kind of like that new colleague.
yǒu diǎnr dānxīn Bob de jiànkāng.
我   有   点儿 担心    Bob  的 健康。

I’m a little bit worried about Bob’s health.
Translation of the dialogue:
Anna: Jīntiān tiānqì zěnmeyàng?
Anna: 今天     天气  怎么样?

Anna: How’s the weather today?
John: Jīn tiān yǒu yìdiǎnr lěng. Nǐ duōchuān yìdiǎnr yīfu.
John: 今   天   有   一点儿冷。  你 多穿         一点儿衣服。

John: It’s a little bit cold today. Put on more clothes.
In our test, “冷(lěng) cold” is an adjective and “衣服(yīfu) clothes” is a noun. Therefore, we use “有一点儿(yǒu yìdiǎnr)” before “冷(lěng)” and “一点儿(yìdiǎnr)” before “衣服(yīfu).” The correct answer is B.

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