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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. Its doesn't just mean "a bit," but rather "a bit too" (for the speaker's liking).

A few examples:

  • 今天 我 有点 Jīntiān wǒ yǒudiǎn lèi.I am a little tired today.
  • 这个 菜 有点 Zhège cài yǒudiǎn xián.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 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.Boss [shop owner], a little cheaper, please.

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" of something.

A few examples to help you understand:

  • 你 脸 上 有 一 点 番茄酱Nǐ Liǎn shàng yǒu yī diǎn fānqiéjiàng.There's a little ketchup 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

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.

Some examples:

  • 孩子们 有点 喜欢 我们 的 新 家 。Háizimen yǒudiǎn xǐhuan wǒmen de xīn jiā.The 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 what was said.

一点 can also 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 any homework at all?

Common Mistakes

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

See also

Sources and further reading

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