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Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by Yuca007, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. Yuca007 Senior Member


    Please clarify the meaning of this sentence: 将来我工资一长得比房价要厉害
    My personal idea about it was: "In the future, my salary for sure will rise more than the house prices will get worse", but I'm in doubt, because I usually only ever see 厉害 used as an expression like "Cool!" or "You're great!". What do you think?

  2. Jerry Chan Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Cantonese, Hokkien
    "In the future, my salary for sure will
    rise even faster than the house prices do"
    厉害 means dramatically here.

  3. Yuca007 Senior Member

    Aha. What's the function of 要 in here?
    If I eliminated the part with the comparison to the house prices and just wanted to say "My salary for sure will rise dramatically", would that be 我工资一定长得要厉害? (Still wondering what 要 is doing there.)
  4. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    No, you don't need 要 here. It's used only in situations where there is some kind of comparison (ie, the rise of your salary vs house prices).
  5. Yuca007 Senior Member

    OK. And what does 要 express in the comparison? I don't think I've seen it it comparisons with 比 before...
  6. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    As you're still learning, there'll be many things you haven't previously seen :).
    The use of 要 in comparisons is fairly common but subtle, since there is often no need to translate it (比 is easier to remember, as it tends to be overtly translated).
  7. Yuca007 Senior Member

    In what cases is it necessary (or better-sounding) to use 要 in and which not? I know for sure that I have seen lots of comparisons with 比 that did not contain 要. I assume it has a specific grammatical use in the phrase 将来我工资一定长得比房价要厉害. Is it connected to 房价? To 厉害? Does it occur there because of the verb in the front (in this case 长)? Is it facultative?
  8. Jerry Chan Senior Member

    Hong Kong
    Cantonese, Hokkien
    You can see 要 here as a short form of 還要 (还要) (even)
    So these are all correct:
    1. 将来我工资一定长得比房价还要厉害
    2. 将来我工资一定长得比房价厉害
    3. 将来我工资一定长得比房价厉害

    But options 1 & 2 sound more natural to me.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  9. zhg Senior Member

    1.厉害 here means 快 faster. (Strictly speaking I think it should be 涨工资,长seems to be a typo, or I was wrong about this all the time?)
    2.I don't know how other native speakers feel, but I find if we move 要 to after一定 the whole sentence makes more sense and sounds more natural.
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2013
  10. stellari Senior Member

    Mandarin Chinese
    I am not so sure of that. First, 要 alone does not necessarily indicate 'even' as 还要 always does. For instance:
    他比我要高一些 does not say anything about 'my height'. As a matter of fact, it may even implies that 'I' am not that tall. Whereas 他比我还要高一些 indicates that 'I' am already very tall, but he is even taller.

    Second, there is also 可要 and 都要, which can also be seen as the 'full form of 要'.


    The way I see it is that 要 is a simply a filler word in a comparison structure such as 'A + 比 + B+ (要) + adj/adv + extent/degree ' and 'A + (要) + adj/adv + extent/degree'. It affects the meaning and connotation of the sentence very slightly (if at all) with or without it. However, I usually prefer to use it in daily conversation. I can't explain why, but it often feels more natural if this character is present, especially so when you are unsure whether your comparison is correct or not. My guess is that the 要 here is equivalent to a very, very mild version of 'should' .
  11. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    将来我工资一定长得比房价要("more" ≈ 更, 还)厉害
    他年纪稍轻一点,脸也要(= 较 "relatively")瘦一些
    你們倆, 谁要(= 较 "relatively, in comparison")高一些? 他比我要("more" ≈ 更, 还)高一些.
    I think 要 is an adverb of degree and can be roughly translated as "relatively, in comparison" or "more".
  12. SuperXW Senior Member

    厉害 can mean 剧烈的 or 剧烈地 ("drastic" or "drastically").

    要 here is hard to explain, as you can see the disagreement among native speakers. I think all of them have got good points.
    I'd like to add my point:
    要 here coincides with it common meaning: "will be/would be", or from the speaker's point of view, "should be".
    So 工资一定得比房价厉害 is another way to say 工资一定涨得比房价厉害, both emphasize the meaning of "will be" or "should be".

    In some instance, it only function as a mild "softener", just like the English modal verb "would" or "should".
    For example, if you say 他高一些 instead of 他高一些, you probably never really measured it, but you estimated it.

    Anyway, it doesn't matter if you ignore 要 in any of the above comparisons.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  13. zhg Senior Member

    I had consulted the dictionary and thought about the "estimation" meaning before, but it didn't seem to fit with the tone of the sentence, because author used 一定 , I mean, how can you be sure and unsure at the same time.
    In my opinion either you change the meaning of 要 by moving it to other places, or you add 还 before it, like other members have suggested, making it a stronger comparison(this seems to be much plausible as the real estate price is soaring nowadays in China). Also can you provide us the source of your sentence, where did you see it and the context is always more than welcomed.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  14. SuperXW Senior Member

    I said the meaning in OP's sentence could be "will/would be" or "should be", not necessarily "unsure".
    My "softener" theory mainly explains Ghabi's 他要高一些.
    Still, it's like the English verb "would/should": you are confident about something from your own perspective, but the thing haven't really happened, that's the time you use such modal verbs. You can say it's both "sure" and "unsure".
    Generally, I tend to understand 要 here as 将要(will), rather than 还要(even).
  15. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie MOD

    English (UK)
    I don't think that is correct, SuperXW. The 要 in the two sentences are very diffeferent (ie, each is doing a different function in the two sentences):
    - The 要 in (a) is part of the comparative structure: "A 比B (要) C".
    - The 要 in (b) is to add to the meaning of "一定 X", so "一定要 X" is simply a stronger version of "一定 X".
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  16. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    他过得比我要好 = 他要过得比我好?
    他睡得比我要早 = 他要睡得比我早?
    他吃得比我要少 = 他要吃得比我少?
  17. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    他过得比我要好 is slightly better than 他过得要比我好, which is much better than 他要过得比我好.
    The last one sounds ambiguous.
  18. Skatinginbc

    Skatinginbc Senior Member

    Mandarin 國語
    Are you saying they could mean the same? If so, that's really surprising to me.
    To me, 他过得比我要好 ≠ 他要过得比我好
    工资一定涨得比房价厉害 ≠ 工资一定涨得比房价厉害
    要比 (e.g., 长得要比爸爸高) is ambiguous. It means either 比, 会比, or 快要比.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  19. YangMuye Senior Member

    Chinese - Mandarin
    I think they could. But I generally interpret 他要过得比我好 as "He want ..." or "I hope he ...".
  20. SuperXW Senior Member

    In your sentences, they are not the same, as 他要…… is most logically to be understood as "He wants..."
    However, the OP's sentence is different.
    将来我工资一定涨得比房价厉害/将来我工资一定涨得比房价厉害. Here, 要 is NOT good to be understood as "[My salary] wants..."
    If 要 is not "want" here, what's the options left?
    Consider 将来我工资一定涨得比房价厉害/将来我工资一定要涨得比房价厉害, with 将来 一定 in the sentence, I'd like to interpret the 要 here as "will". Not "want", not "unsure", but "will".

    Well, I also agree with your analysis of the structure. You can say their structures are different.
    However, when it comes down to the essential meaning of 要, and the essential meaning of the two expressions and the two sentence, I feel they are the same.
    i.e. The reason you can add a 要 in the structure "A 比 B (要) C" is just because 要 has the meaning of "will/would", for the same reason we made up the 一定要 structure.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013

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