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Introduction | Episodes |

25 Shopping 2 买衣服 (下)

Shopping is still in our line up for today. And I have to say we’ll be seeing a lot of what we covered in our previous episode today, so it should be a good review.

Now last time we left off with Mike and 小明’s mom shopping for clothes in their local department store. They aren’t ready to head at home just yet, so let’s check in with them and see what they found and how it works.


售货员:给谁买? 是这个男孩儿吗?


Mike:阿姨,这条裤子有折扣吗? 可以打折吗?


Well it appears they were successful in finding some pants that fit Mike. But alas, the store was out of stock. Did you all catch that? No worries if you didn’t. Let’s take a look at some of the skit’s main phrases and then we’ll watch it again.

麦克, 我们再到那边看看. 我想再给你和小明买两条牛仔裤. Mike, let’s go over there and look. I also want to get you and 小明 two pairs of jeans. Now 条 is the measure word for pants. 牛仔裤 is how you say jeans in Chinese, now this is actually a really fun word. 牛仔 is the word for cow boy, 裤 is pants. So cow boys wear jeans right? In Chinese, the word for jeans 牛仔裤 literally means cow boy pants. Cool no?


麦克, 我觉得这条裤子不太合适, 裤腿太肥了, 你最好试试那条黑色的吧. Mike, I don’t think those pants fit very well, the pant leg is too wide, it would be best if you try on those black ones. 觉得 you should all remember from last time, it means to feel or to think. 不太合适. Now when talking about clothes, 合适 refers to whether something fits or not. So, 很合适 would be really fits. So 不太合适 is doesn’t really fit. 肥 means fat literally. So in Chinese, if something is baggy*1 or like what we see in the sentence, the leg is too wide, 肥 is the word you use. 裤腿太肥. The pant legs is too wide or baggy.


对不起, 这种没货了. 可能明天到货. Sorry this one is out of stock. We’ll probably get more stock in tomorrow. 货 means stock, 到货 literally means arrive stock or in other words to have stock arrive. So 可能明天到货 means the stock will probably arrive tomorrow.

样品是什么号? What size is the sample? Now 样品 is sample or floor model.


Mike:这条裤子有折扣吗? 可以打折吗?


All right, that just about wraps up today’s general overview of the dialogue, now it’s time to get into some specifics.

Our vocabulary list today is actually quite fun because it involves all kinds of clothing related words. So, let’s take a look.

  • 裤子 pants. kù zi
  • 样品 sample, floor model. yàng pǐn
  • 合身 fit, be the right size. (hé shēn)
  • 留 reserve, keep, save. líu
  • 通知 notify. tōng zhī
  • 也 also, as well. yě
  • 特价 special offer, bargain price. tè jià

Now seeing as we’re talking about shopping and clothing today, I thought it would be fun to talk about the clothing radical. Now we see it in the 裤 of 裤子, pants. But before I show you this character, the 裤 of 裤子, I’d like to show you the actual character for clothing. It looks like this, 衣. This is the actual character for clothing.

Now as a radical, it comes to look like this. Can you kind of see how the radical grew out of the character? All right.

So the character for pants 裤 looks like this. When you see the clothing radical, you can be pretty sure that the character you are looking at is somehow related to or has something to do with cloth like pants 裤. Here’re some others. 补 to mend or patch, 裙 skirt, 衬衫 shirt.


Fashion is our spotlight of the day. But rather than focus on the modern, we thought it might be fun to trace the development of the classic Chinese 旗袍 which some of you may know as the cheongsam*2. Cheongsam is the way you say 旗袍 in Cantonese.

There is a popular legend about how the 旗袍 was invented. It is said that once upon a time, a clever skilled and beautiful fisher woman lived by the banks of the 镜泊 lake. When she would fish, her robe would get in the way of*3 her work making things very difficult for her.

Now as a result, she refashioned her traditional robes into what is said to be the precursor*4 to the modern 旗袍. It made work much easier.

Now, at the time, the young emperor wasn’t married, at one night he had a dream where his father told him he would marry a beautiful woman who lived by a lake and wore 旗袍. When the emperor awoke, he sent out his soldiers to find her, and yes, she became his wife.

And not wanting to leave all of her past behind, she brought her 旗袍 with her to court. And soon it became all the rage*5. Now whether or not this legend is true, it remains the question. But what is certain is that 旗袍 originated in Manchuria.


Today’s language points aren’t too hard and we’ve already touched on a lot of them when we went through the dialogue. So let’s start by taking a look at 最好.

Now we know that 最好 means the best, right? Well it can also be used at the beginning of a phrase to imply a suggestion. So 你最好试试那条黑色的吧. It would be better for you to try on those black ones. 小明’s mom is giving her opinion to Mike, right? She is suggesting he try on the black pants. 你最好先睡着吧. It’s best if you first get some sleep. Let’s look at some more examples.

  • 天气不好,你今天最好待在家里,别出去。/只能这样了。
  • 小明,帮我看看这件衣服怎么样?/我觉得这件有点儿小,你最好换大一号的。

打折. To see it a discount or to give a discount. Now the way discounts are done in China is by percent like many countries right. So how would you say thirty percent off? It would be 打七折. Now I know you are thinking 七 is seven but think about this way. In another way to say thirty percent off is to say seventy percent of full price. If something is seventy percent off, it will be 打三折, you pay thirty percent of the full price.

Now I still get confused from time to time when I shop in China because it’s the complete opposite of how we do it in English. But as long as you know how it works, you won’t have too much of a problem. Just remember, that the number goes in between 打 and 折. Let’s look at some examples.

  • 哇, Mike,你真有钱,这个牌子的衣服很贵的。/哪里哪里,我打折的时候买的。
  • 这双鞋现在打折吗?/这是我们今年的新款,不打折

可能. This is an adverb meaning possible or perhaps, should. Now if a helping verb is present in a sentence, then 可能 comes before the helping verb. For example, 明天可能会下雨. It might rain tomorrow. 会 is the helping verb will, now 下雨 is the verb rain, right. So 可能 goes before 会. 可能会下雨.

明天可能到货. The stock should arrive tomorrow. Now there is no helping verb in this sentence. So here we see 可能 come before the verb 到货. 明天可能到货.

  • 今天怎么这么冷?/可能要下雪了。
  • MIKE,兰兰呢?/她可能去图书馆了。

好了, we’ve come to our finish line of the day. Now before we end, I want to read a letter that was sent in by May who, as we can see, lives in Italy. Now, in her letter, she says:

“I noticed in the episode on shopping that the cashier was not in the same area as the store where Mike found his clothing. Why is this?”

Well May, in China you get two kind, two scenarios basically. One is you have a cashier in a store and it’s just that store’s cashier just like we see all over the world. And in some department stores, there might be many stores on one floor. But the cashier is one main cashier there might be two or three main cashiers. But they accept all the payments for all the stores on the floor. And that just how things work here. So there we are! Thanks for your letter May.

And please everybody keep your questions coming we love to hear from you. And on that note, it’s time to wrap up, good luck with your Chinese studies everyone. Don’t forget, please visit our website if you have any questions. And I’ll see you all next time. 加油大家, 再见.

*1:baggy だぶだぶの

*2:cheongsam チャイナドレス、長衫(広東語)

*3:get in the way of 邪魔になる

*4:precursor 先駆け

*5:all the rage 大流行