Best Chinese Synonyms book?

October 29, 2013, 08:48 AM posted in General Discussion

Hi.  I've got about 1500 characters under my belt, and lately my most common problem is working out the subtle differences between all the new words I'm learning 比方说 立刻和马上; 提议和建议。Because a dictionary pretty much provides the same definition, I need another reference to understand the difference.

I've researched and found the following books:

1700 Groups of Frequently Used Chinese Synonyms 

Chinese Synonyms Usage Dictionary by Teng Shou-hsin 

The 2nd one seems the best to me, however I can't read traditional characters so I don't think I'll get this one.

Does anyone have any other recommendations for a book to thoroughly explain the differences between synonyms?

Thanks a lot


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October 29, 2013, 02:01 PM

You probably just need a good dictionary that explains such things.  For example, the longman dictionary and 现代规范汉语词典 both have fairly extensive entries comparing words close in meaning - I'll drop examples from both below (longman is in traditional charecters, but if you are already to the point of worrying about small differences in meaning or usage it is probably time to learn both charecter sets anyway, as it is really easy - alternatively yo could rely primarily on 现代规范汉语词典 or drop the entires from longman into google translate and tell it to turn them into simplified).  Both are available through pleco.

Any entries not featured in either probably have a prettysignificant  difference in usage that you will pick naturally from exposure (ie, 马上 is colloquial, 立刻 is more formal, you don't need a dictionary for that as you will pick it up uncionciously through exposure once you are reading or talking regularly) - lots of things will come naturally as you are exposed to more of the language.



dēng shí




dēng shí / mǎ shàng




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November 07, 2013, 08:03 AM

Ting Yun, Thanks a lot for your comments, I'll have a look into that