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以为 / 认为

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by kirsitn, Nov 30, 2007.

  1. kirsitn

    kirsitn Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norway, Norwegian
    Both 以为 yi3wei2 and 认为 ren4wei2 are translated as "think, believe" in my dictionary. Is there any difference between them? And how do they relate to 觉得 jue2de2?
  2. palomnik Senior Member

    I'm a bit rusty, although I'm working on honing my skills again. My understanding is:

    以为 yi3wei2 means to have a certain opinion, to be under a certain impression.
    认为 ren4wei2 means to recognize something as being true.
    觉得 jue2de2 means to feel that something is correct.

    "Believe" in the sense of believing in God calls for 信, or 相信.

    I hope that helps.
  3. kastner Senior Member

    Mandarin, Wu dialect
    1.以为 is such "not sure", 认为 is "defining".
    2.以为 could be something you thought/believed would have happened (which against the facts), for example 我以为他会来。the fact is he didn't come

    觉得 is more like "feel, have a sensation of something" When you say 我觉得他不会来了。 you have a sensation that he won't come but you can't tell why. 我认为他不会来了。 is more like to say I believe he won't come (He might have indication that will not come)
  4. kirsitn

    kirsitn Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norway, Norwegian
    Thanks for the explanation!

    Just to clarify even more... Can 以为 be used about things that haven't happened yet? Or can it only be used when talking about something which has happened (so that you know that what you thought would happen was not what actually happened)?

    Here's an example from a children's book that I'm trying to read:


    Does this translate as "I still (wrongly?) believe that we really can take a day off"?
  5. palomnik Senior Member

    It doesn't necessarily mean wrongly, but it does mean that it is only your opinion that you can take a day off.

    I think a better translation would be "I still think that we actually can take a day off."
  6. Staarkali

    Staarkali Senior Member

    To my very personal understanding and as a first approach, you can take it as past and present of think/believe (ie you were wrong or are still in expectation)
    我以为他是明天来的 I thought he would come tomorrow
    我认为他是明天来的 I think he will come tomorrow

    there might have additional meanings but again, as first approach, it helped me much till now :)
  7. kastner Senior Member

    Mandarin, Wu dialect
    For me, the sentence means

    "I thought we could have a day off (but it was proved that I was wrong)."

    The speaker says 还以为 to indicate he has known the result, but he was explaining his former idea.
  8. samanthalee

    samanthalee Senior Member

    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    In modern everyday speech, 以为[以為] is used to indicate having made a wrong assumption. It therefore cannot be used to refer to something that hasn't happened.
    I think kirsitn's trouble is with understanding 以为 to mean I still (wrongly?) believe.
    In this instance, 还 is used as an interjection and does not mean still. I would advise that further discussion on 还以为 be conducted in another thread here.:)

    认为 would indicate believing something to be true, and can be translated as in (my) opinion.
  9. avlee

    avlee Senior Member

    Suzhou, China
    Chinese - P.R.C.
    In some Chinese dialects or slanguage, 以为 is used by some elders to mean think, but as mandarin is getting more and more popular all over the mainland of China. Lots of people tend to follow the correct grammar rules as Kastner and Smanthalee stated above.
  10. kirsitn

    kirsitn Senior Member

    Oslo, Norway
    Norway, Norwegian
    Thanks a lot everyone! It all seems much clearer now. :)
  11. fyhao New Member

    Malaysia, Chinese
  12. paddycarol Senior Member

    Chinese, China
    以为 is often used when the speaker gets an idea with no certain reasons or just by his feelings. Thus, he always gets a wrong idea. Its English equivalent I suppose should be "assume". Ex. "I don't know that guy. I assumed you had hired him."
    认为 is a general word ,like "think".
  13. Staarkali

    Staarkali Senior Member

    Here, assumed will easily be replaced by think in spoken English;
    • to think something in the past always mean the subject was wrong, because if it turns right, you don't say thought, you say knew.
    I thought you wouldn't come (but you came)

    I knew you wouldn't come (and indeed you didn't)
    • to think something in the present will just give an idea of the present situation, but not on the results (true or false) which belongs to the future; in that case, think can easily be replaced by believe
    • to think is used with future or conditional to comply to the appropriate sequence of tenses
    If you still see him, I will think you are cheating on me
    If she still saw him, her boyfriend would think he is still cheating on him
  14. BODYholic Senior Member

    Chinese Cantonese
    There is still one point that no one has highlighted and that is 认为 is a much stronger word compare to 以为 and 觉得. If you are in a debate team or in a sales presentation and eager to convince your potential clients, use 认为. For daily conversation or speaking to someone of seniority, use 以为 or 觉得 even if you know reasons are on your side. For the latter, they sound polite and really pleasing for the ears.
  15. zeg New Member

    u guy are kidding me...

    as a native Chinese these 3 are almost the same to me
    the difference I 觉得 is

    以为 is a very old word has a long history..and has a lot of meanings...one of which is almost =认为 but 认为 is more formal and written...and strong
    觉得 is very informal...and unsure
  16. the.yangist Junior Member

    English - American
    以為 is more like to suppose (falsely).
    認為 is more like to consider.
    覺得 is more like to feel, but in the same capacity that we English speakers use it as a synonym for to think.
  17. liveordie New Member

    以为:hey, you are here! I thought you were in Beijing.
    认为:he is not here. I think he is in Beijing.
  18. Lerry New Member

    Xiamen, CN
    mandarin, english
    wa...o...it is really a good learning place for me, thanks~
  19. may~ New Member

    Well, you can distinguish them by thinking 以为(suppose), 认为(think, or even believe), 觉得(feel like, think, which is much less stronger than 认为); however, as "zeg" said, sometimes 以为 may not mean a wrong expectation, and it could be equivalent as 认为。
  20. although there is some difference between 以为 and 认为, in some works of Luxun,he uses 以为 when he wants to mean 认为 without ambiguity.
    in oral chinese ,we use them the way discussed above.
  21. Testing1234567 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    This question has already been in my mind since I was born. How do we translate "以為"?
  22. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    I think since you already know the basic meaning of 以为, you have to be more specific in your question so that we understand what you really want to know.
  23. Testing1234567 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    How would you translate the word in order to convey a meaning that at first you thought that it was the case and then some times after you know that it wasn't the case? Just using the word "thought" doesn't have this sense I suppose.
  24. ellecelia New Member

    Chengdu, China
    你以为呢? means 'What do you think?
    我以为。。。 I think....
  25. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    Yes, "thought" is right and commonly used. But if you want to be very clear, you can also say "I mistakenly thought that...".
    In fact, you can translate 以为 as anything that you think appropriate in the context in the language you're translating into: "I mistook her for a burglar, so I shot her" (A statement in a court :))
  26. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    以 = use/take, 为 = as, 以为 = take something as (read) = assume ==> 以为 often carries the connotation of "assume" or "presume".
    Of course, 以为 can also mean 認為 (對某一事物經分析思考後所作的判斷), which involves thoughts. In that case, I would translate it as "think".
  27. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    True. I wonder why it's become a rare usage of the term.
  28. Testing1234567 Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Thank you to all of you!

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