Comparing "yisi" and "yiyi"
意思 (yìsi) and 意义 (yìyì) are both nouns that mean "meaning," but with different nuances. 意思 is used in informal situations, and in a wide range of set phrases. 意思 is broader in range of meaning, whereas 意义 is used in formal settings in less colloquial ways.
|意思 (yìsi)||意义 (yìyì)|
|Part of Speech||noun||noun|
意思 and 意义 both mean "meaning" and are sometimes roughly interchangeable
Note that using 意思 sounds more casual, and using 意义 sounds more serious in the following examples.
- 你 这样 做 有 什么 意思？Is there any meaning in doing this?
- 你 能 不 能 解释 一下 这句 话 的 意思？Can you explain the meaning of this statement?
- 你 做 这件 事 的 意义 是 什么？What is the point of you doing this?
意思 is used in a wide array of colloquial expressions
意思 can mean "meaning," but it can also indicate interestingness and other feelings.
- 有 意思interesting
- 没 意思uninteresting, boring
- 不好意思embarrassed, "sorry"
- 意思 意思"just a small gift"
- 明白（你的）意思I know what (you) mean
- 什么 意思what do you mean, what does that mean
- 学 中文 很 有 意思，但是 有点 难。Learning Chinese is fun, but a bit hard.
- 这个 游戏 没 意思，我 不 想 玩 了。This game is boring. I don't want to play it.
- 不好意思，我 又 迟到 了。Sorry, I'm late again.
- 你 的 女朋友 要 过 生日 了，你 是 不 是 应该 意思意思？Your girlfriend's birthday is coming up. Shouldn't you give her a little something?
- 我 不太 明白 你的 意思，你 可以 解释 一下 吗？I don't quite understand what you mean, can you explain?
- 这 句 中文 是 什么 意思？What does this Chinese sentence mean?
意义 means "significance" in a serious way
意义 is much more focused and narrow. 没有意义 is, quite straightforwardly, "meaningless." You won't typically say something you don't mean with 意义 (although your conversations are likely to be much more serious).
- 人生 的 意义the meaning of life
- 没有 意义meaningless
- 毫无 意义utterly meaningless
- 你 觉得 人生 的 意义 是 什么？What do you think is the meaning of life?
- 有的人 认为 人生 没有 意义，你 呢？Some people think life has no meaning. Do you?
- 我 觉得 大 部分 会议 都 没有 意义。I find most meetings meaningless.
- 大家 都 觉得 这次 旅行 很 有 意义。Everyone feels this trip was very meaningful.