To change

December 31, 2009, 07:11 AM posted in General Discussion

Hello everyone....Can anyone explain the difference between 變 - biàn = "To change" and 換 - huàn = "to change"

Is it that 變 applies to transforming/changing the same thing/person, where as 換 applies to changing one thing for a different thing?

For example "to change my car" I would use 換 and for "my face has turned red" I would use 變


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December 31, 2009, 04:12 PM





變 一般表示從沒有到有


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January 01, 2010, 04:23 AM

Hi hamshank

Both "变" and "换" can be translated as "change" in English, and this often makes foreign learners of Mandarin confused. Very roughly speaking, "变" is often used in the sense of "alter",on the other hand, "换" often connotes "exchange".

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January 01, 2010, 06:50 AM

A common application of 换 huàn is:

换货 huànhuò (exchange goods)

[That one is for you Changye, give it your best!]  

To minimise 'Changye damage' I will get in first and say that I have never had any trouble in China getting things exchanged, even at the 'two dollar' shop.  

退钱 tuìqián (getting your money back)  

Another good example for 换 (exchange) is 换人 tui4ren2 (substitute a player in a game on the sporting field)  

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January 01, 2010, 10:44 AM

Hi changye & bodawei

Thanks for the insight! It sounds like I was along the right (ish) lines then.