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Doing something less with "shao"

少 (shǎo), means "to do less of something" and is often heard when scolding or giving advice (like when parents talk to children).

Structure

Just as you can use 多 to talk about doing something more, you can use 少 to talk about doing something less.

少 + Verb

Note that in English we don't use the word "less" very much. For example, rather than saying "drink less water," we might say "don't drink so much water." In Chinese, though, using 少 is quite natural and common. Avoiding the negative command (telling someone not to do something) is also a subtle way of sounding less bossy and annoying.

Examples

  • 放 点 盐 。Qǐng shǎo fàng diǎn yán.Less salt, please.
  • 吃 垃圾 食品 。Shǎo chī lājī shípǐn.Eat less junk food.
  • 买 点 ,吃不完 会 坏 的 。Shǎo mǎi diǎn, chī bu wán huì huài de.Don't buy too much. It will go bad if we can't finish eating it all.
  • 你 能不能 抽 点 烟 ?Nǐ néng bu néng shǎo chōu diǎn yān?Can you smoke less?
  • 快 期中 考试 了 , 玩 点 游戏 吧 。Kuài qīzhōng kǎoshì le, shǎo wán diǎn yóuxì ba.You're going to take the mid-term exam. Stop playing so much video games.
  • 喝 点 ,明天 还要 上班 呢 。Shǎo hē diǎn, míngtiān háiyào shàngbān ne.Don't drink so much. You need go to work tomorrow.
  • 看 点 电视 ,多 看书 。Shǎo kàn diǎn diànshì, duō kànshū. Watch TV less. Read more.
  • 吃 点 肉 ,多 吃 点 蔬菜 。Shǎo chī diǎn ròu, duō chī diǎn shūcài.Eat less meat and eat more vegetables.

Colloquial Sayings

  • 来 。Shǎo lái.Stop it!
  • 说 废话 。Shǎo shuō fèihuà.Cut the crap.
  • 管 闲事 。Shǎo guǎn xiánshì.Stay out of other people's business.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books