Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The verb "to return" in Chinese

The transitive verb "to return" is rendered in at least the following two ways in Chinese. It can be particularly nuanced when the object is a book.

To return a book to a library, use the verb 還 (huán; this character is also pronounced hái, for which it has an entirely different meaning):

I'd like to return this book. 我要這本書. (Wǒ yào huán zhèi běn shū.)

To return a purchase (including a book!) to a store, use the verb 退還 (tuìhuán):

I'd like to return this book. 我要退還這本書. (Wǒ yào tuìhuán zhèi běn shū.)

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