"What does this character mean?"


December 2, 2017



I answered "这个字什么意思" which I think is also correct. Less formal, but this is how my Chinese friends and I converse. The shi4 seems superfluous.

December 11, 2017


The 是 seems unnatural. Shouldn't it be 有? That's how I ask my Chinese teacher irl.

March 10, 2018


Would 这个字的意思是什么 work?

December 2, 2017


No, "de" is extraneous here.

December 11, 2017


I've frequently heard you3 instead if shi4.

March 6, 2018


I typed “这个字有什么意思” with my keyboard. I think it should be accepted

March 11, 2018


What is the purpose of 是 in this sentence?

May 30, 2018


"意思" translates to "meaning." It confused me how it was ever used as a verb because the sample sentences don't seem to use it as a verb. And after talking to my Chinese friend, he told me it is not a verb in Chinese.

So, the sentence roughly translates to "this character/word IS what meaning?" ==> "what is the meaning of this character?", which is kind of weird and now I understand why the commentators above think that 有 should replace 是. Then, it will translate into "this character HAS what meaning?" From there, the more natural english expression is "what does this word mean?"

He told me it is also grammatically correct to write "this character's meaning is what" --> "这个字的意思是什么" From the word bank they give, there is no "的" so you can only write "这个字是什么意思"

June 4, 2018


Shouldn't it be "这个字 【有】什么意思?“ ?

April 18, 2018


That's far more natural, this course is riddled with problems like this where the more natural response is rejected in favour of something that sounds bizarre.

April 5, 2019
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