Discussion in '中文+方言 (Chinese)' started by alejandro123, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. alejandro123 Member

    My question seemingly very simple, in fact constantly makes me scratching my head. I wonder how to say that something is 'effective' or ‘something will work’ using Chinese. I know a few words but its usage always depends on context. I need some examples to be more clear about that. Words are: 管用,有效果,行得通, 起作用 Maybe there are more similar words these I mentioned?
  2. SuperXW

    SuperXW Senior Member

    I think the most common and universal saying is 有用.
    It fits almost anywhere.
    Opposite: 没有用.

    管用 is more casual, usually used as an oral expression.

    行得通 ("can run through") is an oral expression. Strictly speaking, it's used on the ways or methods, not on stuffs.

    有效果 ("has [useful] effecs") is more formal.

    起作用 ("affect") is also more formal.
    作用 can be a scientific term. So 起作用 can also discribe the process of experiments and so on.

    The two verb 有/起 are similar when discribing effectiveness.
    So you'll also hear 起效果, 有作用 etc.
  3. BODYholic Senior Member

    Chinese Cantonese
    I like to add that 效果 is, primary, a noun. In my region, we rarely hear people say 有效果. It's usually 有效 (effective).
    eg 这种药对你的病相当有效。(adjective)
    eg 这种药的效果不错。(noun)

    You may also like to know,
    反效果 - negative effect
    副作用 - side effect
  4. alejandro123 Member

    ok, so the only difference between 管用 and 行得通 is that the first one refers both to stuff and methods, the second one only to methods?
  5. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie Senior Member

    English (UK)
    The two are very different, alejandro, but I don't think it would be very "effective" to learn the difference without first knowing the basic meaning of each word. I therefore suggest that you learn these two words well, and then as the next step ask about the difference between them. Otherwise, all will still be fuzzy no matter how well we show you the difference.

    As I've seen another similar thread by you, I hope this advice will help you to a more 有效的 approach.
  6. alejandro123 Member

    If I didn't know the basic meaning of these words, I wouldn't have started this thread at all. I didn't start learning Chinese yesterday :) I think that good question is that kind of question that helps not only me but others too. For example someone want to say that my approach to learning 行不通 but I don't know wheter I can say it is 不管用 as well. This is that sort of question. Maybe it should be more precise.

    You say that they are very different (maybe you can try to explain me the difference) but I'm not so sure and this is the reason I created the topic.
  7. xiaolijie

    xiaolijie Senior Member

    English (UK)
    Since you simply put out a list of near-synonyms and ask for explanation of the difference between them, it is not an effective approach and it wouldn't help your case. There are thousand ways to tell you the difference and all would be irrelevant and wasted unless you would at least give some indication where your problems are. For example, give some concrete examples and tell us what you think, then we'll know where to start and how to help you. The rules of the forum specifically asking you to provide complete sentences and background information every time you ask a question is for this very reason.
    For a start, look at some threads that have got good response and good result and you may get some idea of how to make your questions work better for you. Also, don't forget the forum rules. They are not just rules. They are there to help those who are not familiar with the forums to make the best of them: http://forum.wordreference.com/faq.php?faq=faq_forum_rules_header#faq_rules_faq
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
  8. alejandro123 Member

    Ok, you are right. Supposing that we have that sort of a situation:


    I know that I can use 行得通 but I wonder if 管用 is also correct:
    B: 这样做的不管用/这个做法不太管用

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