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Moderating positive adjectives with "hai"

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Whenever you want to imply that something is "good," but also kind of "meh," you can use 还 (hái) in front of the "good" adjective.

Commonly Used Expressions

Besides expressing continuation, 还 (hái) can also be used to weaken positive adjectives. Used with the adjective "good," this is similar to saying "fairly good" or "pretty good" in English. It's also sometimes used by a speaker to be more modest. Below are some of the most common adjectives that get "toned down" by 还 (hái) in this structure.

Structure

Subj. + 还 + 好 / 可以 / 行 / 不错

In this pattern, 好 (hǎo), 可以 (kěyǐ), 行 (xíng), and 不错 (bùcuò) combined with 还 ()hái can all be taken to mean "pretty good" or "all right" or "decent" (but also kind of meh... not great). As in English, intonation and facial expressions help convey the meaning. If expectations were already low to begin with, 还可以 (hái kěyǐ) can have the sense of "pretty darn good;" it all depends on context and tone of voice.

Examples

  • 还 好hái hǎo.I'm OK.
  • 爸爸 做 的 菜 还 可以Bàba zuò de cài hái kěyǐ.The food that dad cooks is OK.
  • 我们 老板 还 不错Wǒmen lǎobǎn hái bùcuò.Our boss is not too bad.
  • 这 家 店 还 行,不太 贵。Zhè jià diàn hái xíng, bù tài guì.This shop is OK. It's not too expensive.
  • 我 男朋友 的 工资 还 可以Wǒ nánpéngyou de gōngzī hái kěyǐ.My boyfriend's salary is OK.
  • 新 的 办公室 还 不错Xīn de bàngōngshì hái bùcuò.The new office is OK.
  • 我 觉得 这里 的 菜 还 可以,没有 那么 难吃。Wǒ juéde zhèlǐ de cài hái kěyǐ, méiyǒu nàme nánchī.I think the food here is OK, it is not too bad-tasting.
  • 这 个 牌子 还 不错,很 多 年轻 人 喜欢。Zhège páizi hái bùcuò,hěn duō niánqīng rén xǐhuan.This brand is not too bad. Many young people like it.
  • 房子 还 可以,但是 有 点 贵。Fángzi hái kěyǐ, dànshì yǒudiǎn guì.The apartment is not too bad, but it is a bit expensive.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books