Yì si (意思)-Most Misunderstood Word with So Many Surprising Meanings

Victor has been learning Chinese for more than five years, and he’s quite proud of his Chinese. But he failed an exam recently with only one question on the test paper: Please explain each “意思 (yì si)” in the dialogue (The answer can be found at the end of the article). zhāng lěi gěi lǐng dǎo sòng hóng bāo shí,èr rén de duì huà pō yǒu yì si。张       磊  给  领    导    送      红     包  时,二  人  的  对  话   颇   有 意 思。 lǐng dǎo :nǐ zhè shì shén me yì sī ?领     导:  你  这  是  什 么 意 思? zhāng lěi :méi shén me, yì sī yì sī.张       磊: 没  什  么,意 思 意 思。 lǐng dǎo :nǐ zhè jiù bú gòu yì si le.领    导:  你  这  就  不  够  意 思 了。 zhāng lěi :xiǎo yì si ,xiǎo yì si.张       磊: 小  意 思,小  意 思。 lǐng dǎo :nǐ zhè gè rén zhēn yǒu yì si,nà wǒ jiù bù hǎo yì si le.领     导: 你  这  个  人    真   有  意 思, 那  我 就 不   好 意 思 了。 And it’s said that Victor got so confused and then cried, and dared not to say he’s good at Chinese language ever again. Haha, it’s just a joke, but not only “意思 (yì si)”, many Chinese words have more than one or even five meanings! That’s one of the reasons why Chinese is difficult to learn. Today, we’ll explore the different meanings of “意思 (yì si)”. 1. Refers to its literal translation: meaning, idea Examples: No. 1: zhè jù huà de yì si mó léng liǎng kě.这   句 话  的 意 思 模   棱     两   可。This sentence is ambiguous. No. 2: zài zhōng wén lǐ, yí gè cí wǎng wǎng yǒu ruò gān gè bú tóng yì si.在     中     文  里,一个 词   往      往     有   若   干   个 不   同  意 思。In Chinese, a word usually has several different meanings. 2. Refers to a person’s opinion or wish Examples: No. 1: qǐng bú yào wù jiě wǒ de yì si.请     不  要   误  解 我 的 意 思。Don’t get me wrong./Don’t misunderstand what I’ve said. No. 2: tā de yì si bié rén bìng wèi zhēn zhèng lǐ jiě.她 的 意思 别 人    并    未    真     正    理 解。What she said didn’t really get across. 3. Means affection, like or love. It’s commonly used when someone start to have interests with another. Examples: No. 1: xiǎo míng duì xiǎo hóng yǒu yì si.小      明    对   小     红     有 意 思。Xiaoming is interested in Xiaohong. No. 2: wǒ jué dé tā duì nǐ yǒu yì si.我   觉  得 他  对 你  有 意 思。I think he has a crush on you. 4. Refers to a token of affection or appreciation; small gift Examples: No. 1: zhè shì sòng gěi nǐ men de xīn hūn lǐ wù,  yī diǎn xiǎo yì si.这   是   送    给  你  们   的  新  婚  礼 物,一 点    小  意 思。This is just a little keepsake for your wedding. No. 2: wǒ zhè cì bāng le nǐ zhè me dà de máng, nǐ bú yì si yì si ma?我  这  次   帮  了 你  这  么  大  的   忙, 你 不 意思 意思 吗?I did you a big favor this time, aren’t you going to get me something?/aren’t you going to give me a little present in return? 5. Refers to suggestion, hint or trace Examples: No. 1: zhè gè tiān qì kàn qǐ lái yǒu diǎn yào xià xuě de yì si. 这   个  天  气  看  起 来  有   点    要  下  雪  的 意 思。It looks as if it’s going to snow. No. 2: kàn nǐ de biǎo qíng, gēn běn méi yǒu xiǎng lí hūn de yì si.看  你 的   表    情,  根   本    没   有    想   离  婚  的 意 思。I can tell from your expression that you don’t want a divorce. 6. It’s used to describe someone/something that is fun or interesting Examples: No. 1: zhè ge kǎ tōng piān tǐng yǒu yì si de.这  个  卡   通     片   挺    有  意 思 的。The cartoon is very interesting. No. 2: wǒ de zhōng wén lǎo shī shì gè tǐng yǒu yì si de rén,hěn yōu mò.我  的    中      文   老  师  是  个  挺    有 意 思 的 人,  很    幽   默。My Chinese teacher is a funny person, he’s very humorous. Words like “意思 (yì si)” might be rather hard to learn but they are very useful in daily conversations of Chinese, so it’s necessary to learn them well. What other polysemous words do you want to learn? You’re welcome to comment in the section below! See Answer Analysis to the Test Paper You May Want to Learn More : “How to Use 以致 (yǐ zhì) and 致使 (zhì shǐ) Correctly?” “Do you know the differences between 不 (bù) and 没 (méi)?” ”How to Use “de” – “的”, “地”and “得” in Chinese Correctly?”

Yì si (意思)-Most Misunderstood Word with So Many Surprising Meanings

Victor has been learning Chinese for more than five years, and he’s quite proud of his Chinese. But he failed an exam recently with only one question on the test paper: Please explain each “意思 (yì si)” in the dialogue (The answer can be found at the end of the article).

HSK 3 quiz

zhāng lěi gěi lǐng dǎo sòng hóng bāo shí,èr rén de duì huà pō yǒu yì si。
张       磊  给  领    导    送      红     包  时,二  人  的  对  话   颇   有 意 思。

lǐng dǎo :nǐ zhè shì shén me yì sī ?
领     导:  你  这  是  什 么 意 思?

zhāng lěi :méi shén me, yì sī yì sī.
张       磊: 没  什  么,意 思 意 思。

lǐng dǎo :nǐ zhè jiù bú gòu yì si le.
领    导:  你  这  就  不  够  意 思 了。

zhāng lěi :xiǎo yì si ,xiǎo yì si.
张       磊: 小  意 思,小  意 思。

lǐng dǎo :nǐ zhè gè rén zhēn yǒu yì si,nà wǒ jiù bù hǎo yì si le.
领     导: 你  这  个  人    真   有  意 思, 那  我 就 不   好 意 思 了。

And it’s said that Victor got so confused and then cried, and dared not to say he’s good at Chinese language ever again.

Haha, it’s just a joke, but not only “意思 (yì si)”, many Chinese words have more than one or even five meanings! That’s one of the reasons why Chinese is difficult to learn. Today, we’ll explore the different meanings of “意思 (yì si)”.

1. Refers to its literal translation: meaning, idea

HSK 3 quiz

Examples:

No. 1:
zhè jù huà de yì si mó léng liǎng kě.
这   句 话  的 意 思 模   棱     两   可。
This sentence is ambiguous.

No. 2:
zài zhōng wén lǐ, yí gè cí wǎng wǎng yǒu ruò gān gè bú tóng yì si.
在     中     文  里,一个 词   往      往     有   若   干   个 不   同  意 思。
In Chinese, a word usually has several different meanings.

2. Refers to a person’s opinion or wish

HSK 3 quiz

Examples:

No. 1:
qǐng bú yào wù jiě wǒ de yì si.
请     不  要   误  解 我 的 意 思。
Don’t get me wrong./Don’t misunderstand what I’ve said.

No. 2:
tā de yì si bié rén bìng wèi zhēn zhèng lǐ jiě.
她 的 意思 别 人    并    未    真     正    理 解。
What she said didn’t really get across.

3. Means affection, like or love. It’s commonly used when someone start to have interests with another.

HSK 3 quiz

Examples:

No. 1:
xiǎo míng duì xiǎo hóng yǒu yì si.
小      明    对   小     红     有 意 思。
Xiaoming is interested in Xiaohong.

No. 2:
wǒ jué dé tā duì nǐ yǒu yì si.
我   觉  得 他  对 你  有 意 思。
I think he has a crush on you.

4. Refers to a token of affection or appreciation; small gift

HSK 3 quiz

Examples:

No. 1:
zhè shì sòng gěi nǐ men de xīn hūn lǐ wù,  yī diǎn xiǎo yì si.
这   是   送    给  你  们   的  新  婚  礼 物,一 点    小  意 思。
This is just a little keepsake for your wedding.

No. 2:
wǒ zhè cì bāng le nǐ zhè me dà de máng, nǐ bú yì si yì si ma?
我  这  次   帮  了 你  这  么  大  的   忙, 你 不 意思 意思 吗?
I did you a big favor this time, aren’t you going to get me something?/aren’t you going to give me a little present in return?

5. Refers to suggestion, hint or trace

HSK 3 quiz

Examples:

No. 1:
zhè gè tiān qì kàn qǐ lái yǒu diǎn yào xià xuě de yì si.
这   个  天  气  看  起 来  有   点    要  下  雪  的 意 思。
It looks as if it’s going to snow.

No. 2:
kàn nǐ de biǎo qíng, gēn běn méi yǒu xiǎng lí hūn de yì si.
看  你 的   表    情,  根   本    没   有    想   离  婚  的 意 思。
I can tell from your expression that you don’t want a divorce.

6. It’s used to describe someone/something that is fun or interesting

HSK 3 quiz

Examples:

No. 1:
zhè ge kǎ tōng piān tǐng yǒu yì si de.
这  个  卡   通     片   挺    有  意 思 的。
The cartoon is very interesting.

No. 2:
wǒ de zhōng wén lǎo shī shì gè tǐng yǒu yì si de rén,hěn yōu mò.
我  的    中      文   老  师  是  个  挺    有 意 思 的 人,  很    幽   默。
My Chinese teacher is a funny person, he’s very humorous.

Words like “意思 (yì si)” might be rather hard to learn but they are very useful in daily conversations of Chinese, so it’s necessary to learn them well. What other polysemous words do you want to learn? You’re welcome to comment in the section below!

See Answer Analysis to the Test Paper

You May Want to Learn More :

“How to Use 以致 (yǐ zhì) and 致使 (zhì shǐ) Correctly?”

“Do you know the differences between 不 (bù) and 没 (méi)?”

”How to Use “de” – “的”, “地”and “得” in Chinese Correctly?”