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  1. #11
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    Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    I stand with Mister Micawber on this one. "When" semantically pairs with "know" to express a cause; i.e. what would cause you to believe the store is closed:
    Quote Originally Posted by sula54
    "When do you know the shop is closed?"
    If I were asked that question, my response would be along the lines of, "When the shades are drawn" or "When the "closed" sign is posted. That's what would cause me to believe the store is closed" or "That's when I would know if the store is closed." Now, if we change the verb, replace "know" with "think", the result is quite different:

    Max: When do you think the store is closed?
    Pat: I think it is closed on Sunday and holidays.

    I also agree with your interpretation for 五十步笑百步. The number marker 一 , one, is not required in colloquial speech.

    EX: 五十步笑一百步 (一百, one hundred)
    EX: 五十步笑百步 (百, hundred)

    "hundred" (百) says it all. Adding 一 (one) is somewhat redundant, even in English which is subject to article constraints, and so "a hundred", never "hundred" on its own.

    Now, tell me more about that idiom. I understand it's similar to English "the pot calling the kettle black", but what's the literal translation in Chinese? The closest I can get to its meaning, me being a non-native speaker of Chinese, is 50 steps to every 100 smiles? Is that right? Of course not, but I'm trying.

  2. #12
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    Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Temico
    "Bingo~~!" It seems that that "Chinese author" is not the only non-native writer who has gotten the word order confused!!
    五十步笑一百步
    Temico, it was kind of you to correct Sula's English, and it's wonderful to know you're around to help out, but berating isn't something we here at UsingEnglish approve of, so you may want to consider taking me up on my request that - and this now being the third time I've had to ask - to please read the Forum rules.

    Our apologies to Sula.

  3. #13
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    Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    but berating.....
    I quote from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary(Tenth Edition):
    berate--v. scold or criticise angrily

    "Berating"?? Who was "berating", may I ask?? I just reminded him/her of a Chinese proverb which is imbedded in our Chinese culture which also includes "giving face" to our peers. If I wanted to berate anybody, I'd do it in English for all to see and not with a Chinese proverb tucked away in a corner!

    Ask(or PM) Sula to translate the idiom/proverb for you and you'd know who is cluelessly doing the "berating" in this forum.
    Last edited by Temico; 05-Oct-2005 at 13:14.

  4. #14
    sula54 is offline Junior Member
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    Smile Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    Now, tell me more about that idiom. I understand it's similar to English "the pot calling the kettle black", but what's the literal translation in Chinese? The closest I can get to its meaning, me being a non-native speaker of Chinese, is 50 steps to every 100 smiles? Is that right? Of course not, but I'm trying.
    Dear Casiopea,

    Thank you for your explanation for my question and here is the easiest explanation about “五十步笑百步”. (But I have to say sorry first due to my bad English, so if there are any mistakes please do correct me.)

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Once a king said to a philosopher, “I have already made more effort on my kingdom then the other kings whose kingdoms are beside me, but why isn’t the number of my people increasing and the number of people in other countries decreasing?”

    Then the philosopher said to the king, “my king, because you like fighting in a war, please allow me to use a war as an example. When a war is breaking out and one nation defeats the other. The defeated soldiers all flee away from the war field. Some of them run 50 steps then stop, but some of them stop after running more than 100 steps. Is that right for the men who run 50 steps to laugh at the men who run 100 steps?”

    Then the king replies, “No, they just don’t run till 100 steps, but they also run away from the war field.”……….

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Here we can see what the philosopher try to imply ---- the king doesn’t really make more effort than other kings. Therefore, in Chinese “五十步笑百步” means someone is teasing other person without being better than him or her.
    “五十步笑一百步” is all right in fact, but since it is from this philosopher’s book. It is always better to use every word exactly from the passage.

  5. #15
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    Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    Therefore, in Chinese “五十步笑百步” means someone is laughing at the other person without being better than him or her.
    To Casiopea,
    Don't you think that it's high time you reinstated my post instead of deleting it?

  6. #16
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    Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    You're welcome, Sula. And thank you for yours. It was very interesting.

    OK. So, let me get this straight in my mind. The gloss for 五十步笑百步 is as follows, 五十步 (fifty paces) 笑 (laughs [at]) 百步 (100 paces), which means, a man who runs 50 paces away from the enemy and then laughs at a man who runs further, 100 paces away from the enemy, ridicules himself because he, too, is a coward, which is similar in meaning to the English idiom, "the pot calling the kettle black", right?

    I get it!
    Thanks.

    So, in other words, the philosopher was trying to tell the king that his warring ways are directly related to the kingdom's population? Help.

  7. #17
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Temico

    When denotes time while How refers to 'conditions'/'circumstances', or am I wrong?
    I don't think the distinction is always so clear. 'When' can carry a similar meaning to the circumstances suggested earlier. While its customary meaning is time, time and circumstance can blur a bit with a repeated action.

  8. #18
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    Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    I don't think the distinction is always so clear. 'When' can carry a similar meaning to the circumstances suggested earlier. While its customary meaning is time, time and circumstance can blur a bit with a repeated action.
    I see. So if you were to ask a person, "When will the store open, please?", s/he can answer, "At 7am." or "When you see the shutters opened.", both replies being perfectly acceptable to you since "time and circumstance can blur a bit", right?

  9. #19
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    Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    Quote Originally Posted by sula54
    "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    What does this sentence actually mean?

    1. What is the time you know the fact that the shop is closed?

    2. What is the time for the shop to close?

    3. Do you know what time the shop is closed?
    As a native speaker, I would probably take it to mean something more along the lines of "How can you tell if the shop is closed?" If someone asked me I would say something like "When the lights are off" "When the doors are locked" or "When the 'closed' sign is up".

  10. #20
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: "When do you know the shop is closed?"

    Quote Originally Posted by Temico
    I see. So if you were to ask a person, "When will the store open, please?", s/he can answer, "At 7am." or "When you see the shutters opened.", both replies being perfectly acceptable to you since "time and circumstance can blur a bit", right?
    You're moving well away from the original sentence. If you ask 'When will you know the shop is open?', it would be a different question. I said there is an area where the distinction can blur a bit- that is very different from saying they are synonymous. I did not say they were synonyms. We can use 'when' and 'where' interchangeably sometimes in relative clauses, but that doesn't mean they are synonyms. It is not right to say that if something happens in certain contexts it should be true of all. Also 'when you see the shutters up' could equally be a time reference.

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