He is so old that maybe he is older than the house he lives in

Angelo di fuoco

Senior Member
Russian & German (GER) bilingual
I'm trying to translate the following sentence to Chinese:

He is so old that maybe he is older than the house he lives in.

My attempt:

他寿这么高没人知道可以他比他住在那儿里的房字更老。

I've chosen 寿 and 高 because it's a very old person.
I'm particularly unsure about the relative clause.
 
  • Ghabi

    AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod
    Cantonese
    It sounds strange to say someone's older than a house in Chinese. I'd say the sentence in a convoluted way: 他年纪一大把了,他现在住的这栋房子,他出生的时候大概还未盖呢.
     

    xiaolijie

    Senior Member
    UK
    English (UK)
    Agree with Ghabi. The problem is in English, "old" is one and the same word but in Chinese you'll need one for people and quite another for things, so "He's as old as something" doesn't sound as neat as it does in English.
     

    Ghabi

    AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod
    Cantonese
    Sidenote: there's the term 房龄 used in property context. But I'm not sure how to use it naturally in this context.
     

    Jerry Chan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hokkien
    Agree with Ghabi. The problem is in English, "old" is one and the same word but in Chinese you'll need one for people and quite another for things, so "He's as old as something" doesn't sound as neat as it does in English.
    Is it only me?

    他似乎比他住的老房子/老屋還要老
    This doesn't sound strange to my ears.
     

    Emma XIN

    New Member
    China - South Min dialect & Mandarin
    Is it only me?

    他似乎比他住的老房子/老屋還要老
    This doesn't sound strange to my ears.
    Agree with you. When I want to say the house is old, I usually say 这房子很老了.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Angelo di fuoco

    Senior Member
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    Sorry for not replying until now, but I've been really busy the last days. Chinese is my weakest language, so I'd like to take my time to read the replies carefully.
     

    kenshinhsu

    New Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    Is it only me?

    他似乎比他住的老房子/老屋還要老
    This doesn't sound strange to my ears.
    Agree. It sounds natural to me.

    I would say :
    他这么老了,可能他比他住的房子还老。

    He is so old that (这么老了)
    maybe he is older than (可能他比____还老)
    the house he lives in. (他住的房子)

    Hope this helps you!
     
    Last edited:

    Wanling.2010

    New Member
    chinese
    Don't nitpick. Chinese is a very flexible language. In China when you say that you are older than your house. People would think that you are imaginative in expressing. and such way of description can also be regarded as a kind of humor.
     

    Ghabi

    AL/OL/Ar/Zh mod
    Cantonese
    I'd use 老 as a modifier for inanimate things (老照片、老房子) but I wouldn't use it as a predicate for them (i.e. I won't say 這房子很老; I'd say 這房子很舊 instead). But apparently other collegues have different preferences.:)
     

    samanthalee

    Senior Member
    Mandarin, English - [Singapore]
    I'd use 老 as a modifier for inanimate things (老照片、老房子) but I wouldn't use it as a predicate for them (i.e. I won't say 這房子很老; I'd say 這房子很舊 instead). But apparently other collegues have different preferences.:)
    I agree with Ghabi. I won't say 这房子很老 either, unless I'm doing creative writing or in very very informal settings. If the word 老 has to appear in the statement, I would say 这房子很老旧. It's probably not wrong to say 这房子很老, but it's definitely not my variant of Mandarin (and we know there are quite a few variants of Mandarin, depending on your age and your region. :))
     
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