"他们在吃饭。"

Translation:They are eating rice.

November 16, 2017

29 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Stonerdaydreams

I've been taught 饭 can also mean "food" as a more general term, not necessarily rice.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaxGonzale16

吃饭 can just mean "eat," so saying "eating food" isn't really necessary.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

In chinese 米 is actually the character for rice 饭 kinds of means more like a meal like dinner for instance but generally because Chinese people eat rice it can also mean eating rice.

This is the Cantonese (Hong Kong meaning) because I know Cantonese


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alan946894

2020.7.15
Correct. Also 米 is for uncooked rice, the kernels one would find in a bag. For cooked white rice, it is 米飯 or perhaps 白飯 ( in Canto ).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/canongigue

Similar to Thai, the word 'rice' in Thai also refers to 'a meal', since Thai people has rice as a big part of their meal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Raina535043

I've been taught that too; food should, in my opinion, be correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LydiaA.2413

Well, I typed in "They are eating food" and it was marked correct. So I assume you are correct.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/satwita

I would have written 他们吃饭 without the 在. Can it be written without 在, or is there an extra meaning attached to the 在, such as being in the process of doing it, or being at the place of eating?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/teriyagi

the 在 means that they are in the process of doing an action 他们吃饭 = they eat food (doesn't necessarily mean it's happening now, it could just be a statement) 他们在吃饭 = they are eating food (currently)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Phill858962

So without 在, that sentence is non-specific to tense/time, you'd have to depend on surrounding context. With 在 it the sentence is specifically happening right now.

Is that an accurate summation?

Is there a difference in meaning or connotation wuth something like: 他们现在吃饭。


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Olivia88681

Technically it'd be better put "他们正在吃饭" because "正在" means "in the process of doing" and "在" being more commonly used to express "at/in"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

在吃饭 means that they are currently (now eating) like you physically see it happening in front of you. 他们吃饭 is just a simple statement. Like for instance, they're going to eat but not yet done so.

This is what it means in Cantonese


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RuhRoh1

Why is "吃饭" also "eating rice"? Does it have to do with culture and history?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ArtBurnap

Not many of us English speakers may have given it much thought, but when we say 'meal' we're also making an etymological reference to grain, particularly milled grain, whether or not our meal actually contains any grain at all


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/peterold

米饭 mifan means rice in chinese. Since rice was the staple food in China, it became synonymous with food. These days 吃饭 more commonly refers to eating regardless of if its rice or not.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shuaiscott

Just FYI, 米 typically refers to uncooked rice. You'd never hear some say they 吃米


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TimothyKev

What if they were eating uncooked rice?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Imericxu

Why would anyone do that lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EarlDorianGrey

U made me laugh thanks :))


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vohctrick

That phrase is usually used for just general eating. The closer translation should be they are eating. If they want to say eating rice, it should say chi mi fan. Also, rice is a staple diet for the Chinese particularly South China. Northerns eat more noodles. It's like potatoes for the Irish.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/wYwXR

The literal translation is "eating rice", but the more common meaning is eating a meal. (rice is usually at the meal though)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShannAwesome

The phrase literally translates to "eat rice" because meals pretty much always include rice, so "吃飯" can figuratively mean eating a meal or transliterally mean eating rice


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LauraWhitm5

but only in the south. My husband is from Gansu and they eat noodles, potatoes, or crepes with their meals, unless they are specifically eating a more southern style food.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Alan946894

2020.6.25
I curious what Gansu says as an alternative to 吃饭 when it means 'eat/have a meal'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Whitten4

I am sorry but I dont get why the "zai" is used there..


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ManningBar

我吃饭 - I eat food (> a general statement) 我在吃饭 - I am eating food (> action in progress)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WaaDoku

Can someone explain the use of 在 again in this context? I'm lost. Why not 他们吃饭。?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sergy

在 means something like "right now". That's why it is "They are eating rice" in English, not "They eat rice."

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