Comparing "youdian" and "yidian"
一点 (yīdiǎn) and 有点 (yǒudiǎn), usually pronounced 一点儿 (yīdiǎnr) and 有点儿 (yǒudiǎnr) in northern China, mean pretty much the same thing on the surface—"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 while used for descriptions, it also expresses a tone of complaint by the speaker, or some other form of negative impression. It doesn't just mean "a bit," but rather "a bit too" (for the speaker's liking).
A few examples:
- 今天 我 有点 累 。This is a complaint.I am a little tired today.
- 这个 菜 有点 咸 。This is a complaint.This dish is a bit 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, requesting, or expressing the speaker’s expectation. In this usage, 一点 can also be shortened to just 点。
A few examples:
- 请 说 慢 一点 。This is a request.Please speak a little more slowly.
- 快 点，要 迟到 了。This is a request.Hurry up a bit, we're going to be late.
- 老板 ，便宜 点 吧 。This is a request.Boss [shop owner], a little cheaper, please.
- 这个 比 那个 重 一点 。This is a comparison.This one is a bit heavier than that one.
Use 有(一)点 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" of something.
A few examples to help you understand:
- 你 脸 上 有 一 点 番茄酱 。There's a little ketchup on your face.
- 你 碗里 还 有 点 饭 ，吃 完 吧 。There's still a little rice in your bowl. Finish eating it.
Use 有点 Before Just 不 or 没
After 有点, you can use 不 or 没 before the adjective, however the adjective should have a positive connotation, like 高兴 (gāoxìng), 舒服 (shūfu), 喜欢 (xǐhuan), etc. This makes the overall emotion expressed negative still.
- 孩子们 有点 不 喜欢 我们 的 新 家 。The children don't really like our new home.
- 她 有点 不 舒服 。She doesn't feel very well.
- 我 有点 不 相信 那 个人 。I don't really believe that guy.
- 我们 有点 没 听懂 。We didn't really understand what was said.
Use 一点 Before 也不 or 也没
一点 can also be used in the 一点也不 or 一点也没 structure to mean "not at all."
- 这个 菜 一点 也 不 辣 。This dish is not spicy at all.
- 作业 你 一点 也 没 做 ？You didn't do any homework at all?
- 今天 一点 热 。
- 今天 有点 热 。This is a complaint.It's a little hot today.
- 我 一点 饿 。
- 我 有点 饿 。This is a complaint.I'm a little hungry.
- Expressing "a little too" with "you dian"
- Expressing "not at all" with "yidianr ye bu"
- Expressing "a bit too"
Sources and further reading
- 现代汉语八百词（增订本） (pp. 602) [ →buy]
- 现代汉语八百词（增订本） (pp. 633) [ →buy]
- 对外汉语教学语法释疑201例 (pp. 172) [ →buy]
- Practicing HSK Grammar (语法精讲精炼) (pp. 43) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Chinese Grammar - Broken down into 100 items - Basic and Intermediate Levels (汉语语法百项讲练 - 初中级) (pp. 63) Anything Goes (无所不谈) →buy
- Chinesegrammar.info: Where to place 一点儿 (yī diǎnr) in a sentence