Refresh Your Life! (Elementary)

The lives of Chinese are changing. As smartphones become more popular, chatting with friends, browsing web pages, and checking microblogs can be done anytime and anywhere.

Harry and Jane are on their way to the mall by bus. They’re having a decent conversation until Jane gets distracted by her smartphone.

            Nǐ zài zuò shénme?
Harry:你 在   做     什么?

           What are you doing?

            Wǒ zài shuā wēibó.
 Jane: 我  在     刷   微博。

            I’m checking Wei Bo.

            Yǒu shénme xīnwén?
Harry: 有      什么     新闻?

            Any news?

            Zhōngguó sìchuān fāshēng dìzhèn le!
  Jane:中国            四川       发生     地震   了!

           An earthquake hit China’s Sichuan Province!

It seems like news travels faster through social networking than it does with news media these days. People like Jane are very active online, and can always be on top of what’s going on in the world.

In the above conversation, you might be confused about  the word 刷 (shuā). Jane says, “我在刷微博。(Wǒ zài shuā wēibó.).” You might be thinking, “Doesn’t 刷 (shuā) mean ‘to brush’ in Chinese?” Since Jane’s microblog probably isn’t a big fan of toothpaste, let’s take a look at this new usage.

First, 刷 (shuā) is indeed a verb, which means “to brush.”


刷牙 (shuā yá): to brush one’s teeth

刷鞋 (Shuā xié): to brush/shine shoes

These are both traditional usages of the word 刷 (shuā). The connection is this: since after brushing objects become as clean as new, people say “刷新 (shuāxīn),” which literally means “to brush it new” or “to refresh.” The content of microblogs is updated so fast that to get the latest news, readers need to check or refresh constantly. When using Wei Bo, for instance, it would be expressed as 刷新微博 (shuāxīn wēibó), or, “to refresh/to check Wei Bo.” 刷 (shuā) can also be used alone as the short form of 刷新 (shuāxīn).


Tā shuāxīn le shìjiè jìlù.
他   刷新     了 世界 记录。

He set a new world record.

Nǐ shuāxīn yíxià yèmiàn.
你    刷新   一下  页面。

Please refresh the page.

Tā tiāntiān shuā wēibó.
他    天天      刷   微博。

He checks his microblog every day.


1. What’s the meaning of “刷新 (shuāxīn)?”__________

A. to refresh

B. to paint with a brush

C. to write with a brush

2. Why do people say “checking microblogs” as “刷微博 (shuā wēibó)?” _______

A. Because it is fun.

B. Because its needs to be refreshed constantly to get the newest news.

C. Because it needs to be cleaned up to get the newest news.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top