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  5. "您需要什么?"


Translation:What do you need?

December 22, 2017



The drop down hints note that 您 is to be used in more formal situations, which is interesting. Does anyone know of some times you'd use 您 over 你 in day-to-day life in China?


Much like "vous" in French and "Sie" in German. Used when you meet a stranger, your customer or need to show common respect (like in ads, notices, announcements, etc.).

您 comes from the liaison of 你们, so technically there should be no 您们, In real life, the plural form of 您 is occasionally seen. But more often 您 is used for addressing a single person (usually the customer or any random reader of your sign). For example, it would be weird to use 您们 during a lecture, 各位听众 (or just 各位) would be more appropriate.

There are some other cases where you shouldn't use 您. For example, the author of a book shouldn't address the reader as 您, unless you are trying to express "this book is written specially for YOU!", which is too flattering. 您 is also never used between lovers and relatives, as it gives a sense of aloofness.

Note: It's okay if you can't remember all the nuances. Even if you don't use 您 when you meet a stranger, you won't be seen as too rude, especially if you are not a native Chinese speaker.


I do really like when people can explain things that way, it really make things a lot easier for us. Thank you


I'm pretty sure you can use 您 when addressing your grandparents to show filial piety/respect for the elderly (孝).


Also like "tú" and "usted" in Spanish!


In China, the only time I heard 您 was during formal speaches for events and politcal speaches.


Just a though : to me 您 shows respect, the more os when using 需 with 要. Is it correct then to use "What do you need" alone as a translation? I mean, the thing is the absence of the same amount of politeness in the english translation. Is it because I am not a native english speaker that I see things that way or indeed does it lacks a bit of respectfulness in the english sentence to match the chinese one?


The English sentence does lack the level of respect indicated in the Chinese sentence; however, I can't really think of a sentence that conveys the exact same meaning with a higher level of respect. The closest thing would probably be, "Do you need anything?" but I also understand that the Chinese translation for that would be 您需要什么吗 which is slightly different.


Should "What would you like" be correct?


Does this not also mean "Do you need something"? If not how would you say that in Chinese?


You could say "你需要什么吗?" In this sentence, the 什么 changes from a question word into 'something'.


What is the difference between suiyao and yao?


需要 (xūyào) = need, want, demand, require.

要 (yào) = want, wish, desire, demand... So just like in English need & want, there's a lot of overlap. To me, 需要 has a stronger meaning in the way "need" is stronger than "want".



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