The Differences Between 有点 and 一点

一点 is a great little word meaning “a little bit” or “somewhat“, and is very flexible in usage. It can be used before or after the object to indicate degrees either positive or negative. Its simple utility is enticing.

1. 有点 (yǒu diǎn)- a little bit, slightly

Note that when using 有点 instead of 一点, it is generally used to describe either neutral or negative things.

Example:

qiān nián hòu rén lèi shà yàng shǒu zhǎng nǎo suō shuǐ yǒu diǎn xià rén.
“千年后人类啥样 手长脑缩水有点吓人“
What will humans look like in a thousand years? With long arms and small brains, its a bit scary

2. 比较 (bǐ jiào)- comparatively, rather, quite

比较 is primarily used to compare two comparable objects, but can also be used to indicate a slight degree.

Example:

quán shēn jiǎn féi nǎ zhǒng fāng fǎ bǐ jiào hǎo
“全身减肥哪种方法比较好?“
What method of losing body weight is slightly better?

3. 稍微 (shāo wēi)- a little, a trifle

More formal than 一点, 稍微 always comes before the object you are modifying.

Example:

zuì jìn, yán jiū biǎo míng hē niú nǎi kě yǐ shāo wéi jiàng dī zhǎng fěn cì de fēng xiǎn.
“最近,研究表明喝牛奶可以稍微降低长粉刺的风险“
Recently, research has shown drinking milk can slightly lower the risk of growing pimples

4. 略 (lüè)- slightly, briefly

Also on the more formal side, use this to indicate either “slightly” or “roughly, about“.

Example:

tā zài huí yì dāng shí de bù xí guàn hé lüè gǎn hài pà de xīn qíng.“
他在回忆当时的不习惯和略感害怕的心情“
He was remembering how unfamiliar and slightly scared he felt at that time

5. 丝毫 (sī háo)- At all, the slightest

Literally translated as “strand of hair”, using 丝毫 is sure to indicate you are a serious learner! It is also a bit formal, and often used in the negative.

Example:

jǐn guǎn luò shān jī yín hé duì yǐ 1:2 shū diào le bǐ sài, dàn zhè sī háo méi yǐng xiǎng bèi kè hàn mǔ de xīn qíng.
“尽管洛杉矶银河队以1:2输掉了比赛,但这丝毫没影响贝克汉姆的心情“
Although the Los Angeles Galaxy lost the match 1-2, this didn’t affect Beckham’s mood in the slightest

However, as with other words covered in this series, it is important to build a robust vocabulary of more descriptive words, offering options beyond 一点. A variety of more expressive words present you more interesting ways to interact with your world in Chinese.

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