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Lesson 25 – Intermediate – Learning Similar Words of 普遍, 普通 and 期待

Many Chinese language learners pay much attention to remember the words during the process of learning for the purpose of expand their vocabulary to improve Chinese language skills. Of course, in this period, the students should also attach importance to the similar words in meanings and application. For example, 普遍and普及are a group of similar words that the students need to master and distinguish. The former one is an adjective to say something is widely and has common point, implying there are few exceptions. For instance, 爱虚荣是人普遍的弱点.

However, 普及 can function as both verb and adjective. As a verb, it means to spread widely so that everyone knows and uses it like 普及计划生育知识. If it functions as adjective, it describes the things of widely used. You can say 电视机已经很普及. When mentioning these two words, some of the students who attend to volunteer programs in China may think of the word 普通, which is similar with 一般in meaning and application.

普通is an adjective to say something very common or usual conditions, emphasizing the things are not special. The reduplication form is 普普通通. You can say 这种情况很普通and 普通人. Very similar but different, 一般is to mean something ordinary, stressing certain things are just as the same as a majority of other things. Since all are the same, they are neither too bad nor too perfect. For example, 孩子一般六点就到家,今天都七点了怎么还没回来.

The last but not least group of words are 期待and等待, the former of which has the similar meaning with “expect” in English such as 期待他的来信and期待他的到来. It emphasizes to expect and wait, the complement after which is usually not the specific time. Foreign students who got internships in China should know等待is just to wait until the things expected appear. The complement can be the specific time like 你别着急,再等待两天,有消息马上告诉你.

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