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Comparing "youdian" and "yidian"

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一点 (yīdiǎn) and 有点 (yǒudiǎn), usually pronounced 一点儿 (yīdiǎnr) and 有点儿 (yǒudiǎnr) in northern China, all mean pretty much the same thing, "a little" or "a bit," but they have different uses in sentences.

Both Can Be Used for Describing Degree

Usage of 有点

有点 is placed before an adjective, and it usually expresses that the speaker doesn't want or has negative feelings about something.

A few examples:

  • 我 今天 有点 Jīntiān wǒmen yǒudiǎn lèi.I am a little tired today.
  • 这个 菜 有点 Zhège cài yǒudiǎn xián.The dish is a little salty.

Usage of 一点

一点 can't be placed before an adjective. Instead, it is placed after adjectives. The adjectives that can be used are particularly limited. 一点 is often used when comparing, or expressing speaker’s wish or expectation.

A few examples:

  • 请 说 一点Qǐng shuō màn yīdiǎn.Please speak a little more slowly.
  • ,要 迟到 了。Kuài diǎn, yào chídào le.Hurry up a bit, we're going to be late.
  • 老板 ,便宜 吧 。Lǎobǎn, piányi diǎn ba.Sir, a little cheaper please. (directed to the owner of a shop)

有(一)点 Used for Describing Quantity

一点 can be placed before a noun to mean "small quantity," like 一点水,一点钱 while 有点 can't be used this way. Note that 有点 is also a shortened form of 有一点, which means "there is a little something.

A few examples to help you understand:

  • 你 脸上 有一点 yǒu yīdiǎn huī.There's a little dirt on your face.
  • 你 碗里 还 有 点 ,吃 完 吧 。Nǐ wǎn lǐ hái yǒu diǎn fàn, chī wán ba.There's still a little rice in your bowl. Finish eating it.

Negative Forms

You can use 不 or 没 after 有点 and before the adjective, however the following adjective should have a positive connotation, like 高兴 (gāoxìng), 舒服 (shūfu), 喜欢(xǐhuan) etc. This makes the overall emotion expressed feel negative still.

Some examples:

  • 孩子们 有点 喜欢 我们 的 新家 。Háizi men yǒudiǎn xǐhuan wǒmen de xīn jiā.Our children don't really like our new home.
  • 有点 舒服 。yǒudiǎn shūfu.She doesn't feel very well.
  • 有点 相信 那个人 。yǒudiǎn xiāngxìn nàge rén.I don't really believe that guy.
  • 我们 有点 听懂 。Wǒmen yǒudiǎn méi tīngdǒng.We didn't really understand much.

一点 cannot be linked together directly, but can be used in the 一点也不 or 一点也没 structure to mean "not at all."

A few examples:

  • 这个 菜 一点 也 辣 。Zhège cài yīdiǎn yě là.This dish is not spicy at all.
  • 作业 你 一点 也 做 ?Zuòyè nǐ yīdiǎn yě méi zuò?You didn't do your homework at all?

Right and Wrong

  • 今天 一点 热 。Jīntiān yīdiǎn rè.
  • 今天 有点 热 。Jīntiān yǒuyīdiǎn rè.It's a little hot today.
  • 一点 饿 。yīdiǎn è.
  • 有点 饿 。yǒudiǎn è.I'm a little hungry.

Example Dialog

  • A: 这 件 衣服 有点 啊 。Zhè jiàn yīfu yǒudiǎn guì a.This piece of clothing is a bit expensive.
  • B:一点 ,但是 很 好看 ,我 很 喜欢 。Shì guì le yīdiǎn, dànshì hěn hǎokàn, wǒ hěn xǐhuan.It's a bit expensive, but it looks really good and I like it.
  • A: 这 件 衣服 能 不 能 便宜 一点 Zhè jiàn yīfu néng bù néng piányi yīdiǎn?Could we get this a little cheaper?
  • C: 不 好意思 ,不能 还价 ,一点 也 不便宜Bù hǎoyìsi, bù néng huánjià, yīdiǎn yě bù néng piányi.I'm sorry, no haggling. It can't be a little bit cheaper. Not even a bit.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

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