"他们在吃饭。"

Translation:They are eating rice.

November 16, 2017

40 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Stonerdaydreams

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

November 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MaxGonzale16

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

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Raina535043

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

March 15, 2018

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

December 10, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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)

December 20, 2017

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

May 19, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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"

June 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RuhRoh1

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

November 16, 2017

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

November 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/shuaiscott

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

January 14, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/TimothyKev

What if they were eating uncooked rice?

March 13, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Imericxu
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Why would anyone do that lol

June 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/eld3rr
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U made me laugh thanks :))

January 26, 2019

https://www.duolingo.com/PatrickCho112280

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.

November 21, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ArtBurnap
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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

February 22, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/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

November 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/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.

October 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/wYwXR

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

November 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/daybreak_7

The two characters literally mean "eat rice" and I think it's because rice is a staple in Asia.

November 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/amythefan
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Fan can refer to an entire meal when spoken generally, but also can mean "rice" literally. So it depends on the context

November 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Oni
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"food" or "a meal" should be accepted here. 米飯 is the more correct way to indicate rice.

December 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/MaxGonzale16

吃饭 can just mean "eat," so this can be translated as "They are eating." Adding "food" or "a meal" is unnecessary.

April 17, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Whitten4

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

December 20, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/ManningBar
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我吃饭 - I eat food (>> a general statement) 我在吃饭 - I am eating food (>> action in progress)

November 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/LauraWhitm5

吃饭 just means eating- no one means this to say eating rice. 他们在吃米饭 would mean they are eating rice. SMH

October 12, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/EddieTorre13

Hmm

November 24, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/bronymacaroni

饭 is synonymous with rice but is the more accepted time since rice is specifically 米饭

December 11, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/nIzN4
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"they are eating now" why wrong?

January 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/WaaDoku
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Can someone explain the use of 在 again in this context? I'm lost. Why not 他们吃饭。?

January 29, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Sergy
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在 means something like "right now". That's why it is "They are eating rice" in English, not "They eat rice."

February 10, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/shereepoon

they are eating?

January 30, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/muhammad325939

(They are eating "meal")is incorrect? ??? Why? We were taught fan means meal/food in general. But Dou is insisting on rice exclusively

May 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/MaxGonzale16

You need an article for "meal" since that's a countable noun. "They are eating A meal." Also, "They are eating" should work just fine.

May 7, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Crystal245284

饭 does not mean rice, but it actually means food, not rice

September 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/ManningBar
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I suspect the lesson authors are from Southern China where 饭 often refers to just rice. In Northern China you would need to say 米饭.

It's like the British habit of calling the evening meal "tea". Slightly confusing for new language learners.

November 21, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Crystal245284

Plus, the sentence said, they are eating food not, they are eating rice

September 11, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/skipari
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The preferred translation "They are eating rice" sound almost ironically 'over-literal'. As other people noted already, 吃饭 just generally refers to eating (food), and if one wanted to emphasise that somebody's eating rice in particular, they would say 吃米饭 ...I'm not a native speaker, but I'm very very sure about that - so, reported.

September 27, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/JasperUK
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'They are eating now' should be accepted as correct as 吃饭 does not specifically mean eating rice when spoken.

October 5, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/Indran5
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DOES PUTTING 在 BEFORE 吃饭 INDICATE A PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE?

rice meals meal

October 7, 2018
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