Politicians are masters of contradiction
Politicians have a way of making rules for everyone else and exempting themselves. So it is no wonder that the common use of 卻 ㄑㄩㄝˋ (què) to indicate contrast came up in writing my latest blog on taxes: Politicians Should Meditate More 政客們應該多多冥想 in Chinese.
The dictionary fails us in this regard, my tutor explains. Even though the listed definitions along the lines of still, but, yet, however, and to decline are sometimes applicable, the way 卻 is used the most is to point out a contradiction or contrast between two statements or actions.
I’m going to save my sentence about taxes for that blog post on taxes, but here are a four other sentences to show how 卻 is used. These should be easy to understand and will prepare you to more easily understand the sentence in the upcoming blog post.
(ㄊㄚ)(ㄅㄨˋ)(ㄒㄧˇ ㄏㄨㄢ)(ㄍㄨㄥ ㄗㄨㄛˋ),
(tā)(bù)(xǐ huān)(gōng zuò),
(he)(not)(to like)(to work)
……(ㄎㄜˇ ㄕˋ)(ㄑㄩㄝˋ)(ㄒㄧˇ ㄏㄨㄢ)(ㄏㄨㄚ)(ㄑㄧㄢˊ)
……(kě shì)(què)(xǐ huān)(huā)(qián)
……(but, however)(indicates contrast/contradiction)(to like)(to spend)(money)
He doesn’t like to work, but likes to spend money.
(you)(yourself)(to think, to want)(to go),
……(but)(indicates contrast)(not)(to let)(me)(to go)
You are thinking of going yourself, but you don’t want to let me go!
(he)(not)(to think, to want)(to get married),
……(ㄎㄜˇ ㄕˋ)(ㄑㄩㄝˋ)(ㄒㄧㄤˇ)(ㄊㄢˊ ㄌㄧㄢˋ ㄞˋ)
……(kě shì)(què)(xiǎng)(tán liàn ài)
……(but)(indicates contrast)(to think)(to court, to be dating, to go steady)
He doesn’t want to get married, but he wants to be in a loving relationship.
(ㄨㄛˇ)(ㄒㄧˇ ㄏㄨㄢ)(ㄍㄡˇ), (ㄎㄜˇ ㄕˋ)(ㄑㄩㄝˋ)(ㄅㄨˋ)(ㄒㄧˇ ㄏㄨㄢ)
(wǒ)(xǐ huān)(gǒu), (kě shì)(què)(bù)(xǐ huān)
(I)(to like)(dog), (but)(indicates contrast)(not)(to like)
……(ㄊㄚ ㄇㄣ˙ ㄉㄜ˙)(ㄇㄠˊ)(ㄉㄧㄠˋ)(ㄇㄢˇ)(ㄉㄧˋ)
……(tā men. de.)(máo)(diào)(mǎn)(dì)
……(their)(fur)(to fall, to lose, to shed)(to fill)(ground, earth, place)
I like dogs, but I don’t like their fur shedding all over the place.
Is any of this acceptable?
You can see that the gist of these sentences is to question whether or not this contrast is acceptable or makes sense. The character 卻 does not necessarily translate into a specific word, but suggests English phrases such as
- …yet you won’t….
- …but for some reason…
- …in spite of that…
- …but still thinks it is okay…
Another Chinese Lesson Blurb in the near future will have to do with a Chinese idiom that we ran across while discussing the last sentence here. It is rather violent, but it made me laugh! Stay tuned!