Other, another, the other

April 27, 2012, 11:24 AM posted in I Have a Question

Hello, 大家好!

I have been browsing through lessons and discussions, but seem to be unable to find any lesson about words "other", "another", "the other".

I was looking in dictionary (www.mdbg.net) but the search results are too many and not very clear.

I found 其他 (其它) qítā meaning "the rest" and also have seen some examples.

Then I saw 另 lìng, standalone or combined lìngyī 另一, lìngwài 另外. Also 他人 tārén, 以外 yǐwài.

These are just too many dictionary terms with too little information as to their proper use. So I remain confused and don't know what to say in situations like these:

1) (among many people in the restaurant)

Q: 这是你的同学吗? zhè shì nǐde tóngxué ma? Is this your classmate? A: No, my classmate is another person. (can't see her around right now, or when not present, it does not matter who she is)

2) (two books lay on the desk) 你想我看这本书吗?Nǐ xiǎng wǒ kàn zhè běn shū ma? Do you want me to read this book? No, the other one. (Let's suppose I can use neither "那本书" because they are both too close to each other, nor "left" or "right" etc.)

3) (talking about things) Is (it, something) red? 是红色的? No, it is some other color. (It is definitely not red, but I am not sure what color it actually is.)

Regarding the third example, what could I use referring to time, such as "some other time" (not now, but I don't know when yet)? Would 日后 rìhòu be acceptable?

Thank you

Jindra OK4RM

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April 27, 2012, 04:35 PM

I'll take a stab...

1. I'd use 另外: 他不是(我的同学),是另外个人。他现在不在. - This is because you can't point the person out

2. Again, I'd use 另外: 不是这本书。是另外一本书。

3. Here I think you could use a variation of 另外/其他/别的 but I tend to use 另外

4. For "some other time" I'd use 其他: 咱们可以在其他的时间见面.However, colloqually, you'll often run into 回头 or 底下 to mean "later on" - 这件事情咱们回头再聊吧;咱们底下在谈吧

I can't really explain why unfortunately. :( I think of 其他 as "another" or "the others", "the rest". Good question and hopefully we'll have an expert help us out. =P

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Oh, great, thank you very much, niubilicious. I am looking forward to 另外 experts' answers.

Unfortunately, questions regularly come to my mind on Friday, Central European Time, which sadly is already weekend, Shanghai time :-)

Have a nice weekend,


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April 28, 2012, 11:10 AM

If in doubt, Qingwen it!  Search "另外" in the lessons search and you'll find:


This lesson will hopefully answers most of your questions!  If I remember correctly, 其他的 and 别的 are used the same way where as 另外 and 另一 are treated differently.  Anyway, here are my interpretations:

1) To be honest, even in English I'm not really sure if I would say that, but if feel as though if you say: 不是他,我同学是另外一个人 it kind of feels to me the person is going to be in the same room.

2) 另外一本 would sound alright to me

3) 不是,是别的颜色 or 其他的颜色

4) I would use 改天, search 改天 in the search in the top right under glossary, but that would refer to another day, but even in English the meanings are more or less the same.

Hope this helps!

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Oh, many thanks, darkstar94! My problem is that I never guess the right search phrase when looking for this kind of things :-) That QingWen is exactly what I was looking for.

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Yeah I have to admit the search can sometimes not be realiable when looking for specific Qingwens, if you can't find it you can usually use the glossary and them find it from there.