sucks pondwater

March 24, 2010, 12:26 AM posted in General Discussion

A few days ago, I told a Chinese friend that something political "sucked pondwater," and then, a few minutes later, said something else "sucked." This is aq common expression in California English, but she had never heard it before and couldn't understand what it meant, beyond my saying it means "bad." Could someone tell me how to explain it to her using Chinese, English, or both? And, can you think of what you'd use as an equivalent in Chinese?

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March 24, 2010, 01:32 AM

Well, if something 'sucks' it's terrible. Or, simply very bad!

In Chinese you could say 很不好(hěn bùhǎo),很糟糕(hěn zāogāo), 很不爽(hěn bùshuǎng). All of which would convey a similar meaning.

*The last one is usually only appropriate when describing a situation or condition. It literally means something like 'has a very 'un-refreshing' or terrible, feeling'.

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March 24, 2010, 10:16 PM

Jason Sch--thanks. I tried that, but, although she understood that I didn't like that policy (or whatever it was), she didn't understand why I'd use "sucks" instead of, say, "terrible," or "unacceptable," or something similar. And why "suck" of all words.

Maybe I should look up the words for "drinking straw" and "pondwater" and attack the expression literally. Now that I think of it, I'm going to find out whether this expression has any relation to the "suck eggs" expression.

Amazing how a small thing (insignificant) can become so large.

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March 26, 2010, 03:04 AM

Idioms don't always (usually? ever?) make sense when taken literally. I'd say this is one of those cases. There really isn't much to say other than it means "bad."