Did you see him today?

Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by baosheng, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada, English

    I am trying to translate the following question:
    "Did you see him/[insert name] today?"/"Have you seen 老陈 today?"
    (Context: not sure if a roommate is home/has been home or not and want to check with another roommate)

    看,看到,见,看见。。。 I tend to use all of these and don't always know the difference (I don't think they all have exact equivalents in English, do they)

    Would any of these sound natural/correct for this situation:
    1) 你今天看他了吗?
    3) 你今天见他了吗?
    4) 你今天看过他了吗?
    5) 你今天见过他了吗?

    I hope my question is clear. Thanks!!
  2. sinnerqk New Member

    yes there is a little difference between the two"看“ and "见“。
  3. tarlou Senior Member

    These sentences mean "Did you see him today?":
    你今天看见他了吗? 你今天看到他了吗? 你今天见到他了吗? 你今天见他了吗?
    你今天看见过他吗? 你今天看到过他吗? 你今天见到过他吗? 你今天见过他吗?
    (To me, 你今天见他了吗 is less preferred since it can be interpreted in another way. See below 你今天见过他了吗.)
    (A single 看 is not appropriate for "Did you see him".)

    Using both 过 and 了 in the above sentences is weird, except for a single 见:
    However, to me this sentence means "Have you met him today?". Imagine that you are assumed to have a meeting with someone, the question is asking if you have that event finished on your schedule.
    If it appears in an ancient movie, it can mean "Have you visited him today", where he is probably the emperor (but then 他 is an inappropriate word) and you are assumed to visit him on a daily basis to say "how are you".

    As for a single 看, 你今天看过他了吗? means "Have you visited him today?" and he is probably an elder or a patient in hospital. 看 means 看望 here. Typically, the sentence may be 你今天去医院看过他了吗.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  4. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Thanks, sinnerqk and tarlou, for your replies! Your explanation is very helpful :) (I didn't realize the number of ways one could say this in Chinese... and they all pretty much mean in the same thing, right? (in the list at the top of your reply))
  5. tarlou Senior Member

    Yes, they are almost the same. 看见/见到/看到/见 are interchangeable here.
  6. Glastium New Member

    To make it easier, you can always regard 看 as look, and 看到/看见 as see. The same applies to 听(listen) and 听到/听见(hear).

    So 2/4/5 are all acceptable and equally natural.

    More examples:

    A: 看那边! Look, over there!
    B: 什么?我什么都没看到. What? I didn't see anything.
  7. baosheng Senior Member

    Canada, English
    Ah, that makes things a lot easier when translating. Thanks, Glastium!

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