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  5. "你可以帮我买药吗?"


Translation:Can you help me buy medicine?

December 5, 2017



I've learned that often enough, Chinese people will say this when they want you to do this for them. They are just being polite about asking something of you


Yes, "can you buy medicine for me" should be accepted.


I'm still waiting for them to accept "buy for me."

When 帮 means “for” and not “help”

A common use of 帮 in Chinese is to talk about actions that are done for other people. The structure is exactly the same as above, but it doesn't mean “help” in English. This use of 帮 isn't about people co-operating to do something together (“help”), it's about one person doing something on behalf of another (“for”).



Does it also translate as "Can you help me buy drugs?"


I also wondered if "drugs" would be a correct translation of the character. I am a Chinese Medicine practitioner and have relatively little experience with common parlance vs medical terminology.


In (my) English, you generally cannot say "drugs" for Chinese medicine. "A drug" is something recognized by Western science as affecting the body. "Drugs" as a bare plural strongly implies illegal, recreational drugs. "Medicine" is more general and can apply to traditional Chinese cures.


Can you help me buy NOT help me to buy


I think both are fine


Grammatically, the "to" should be there in English as it's part of the infinitive, even if Americans tend to drop it a lot.


No. This has nothing to do with American or British English. The "to" is simply optional in this structure. An infinitive does not need the "to" in many cases in English. "You need not use it here. I will not use it. You should not use it." Infinitive simply means uninflected for person, tense and number.


LOL - AE get's its share of unfair slings and arrows. Correct - help can precede a 'to' infinitive or a zero infinitive. There are many other verbs that precede zero infinitives (eg see, make, hear, feel, let etc...)


"Can you help me buy medicines" was rejected. I thought there was no way of knowing if something is plural in Chinese aside from context.


"Can you help me buy medication?" wrong? Is medication different than medicine in Chinese?


Medicine and medication are synonymous in English in this case.


Word for word translation doesn't work in this instance: 'Help me (to) do something' means we do it together. 'Do something for me' means help me by doing it (without me doing any of it.)


In any case, 'could' sounds more polite than 'can' here.


Will you help me to buy medicine should be accepted

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