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How to Order Donuts 頂 甜甜圈 in Chinese

I really like the word for “donuts” in Chinese.



“(tian2 tian2 quan1)” (cong2) [(zi4) (mian4)] (jiu4) (ke3 yi3) (shi2 fen1) (ming2 bai2) [(ta1)(de.)] (yi4 si.).

“(sweet sweet circle)” (from) [(character) (face)] (exactly) (can/able to) (10 points/completely) (clear/understand) [(it) (indicating possessive) = (it's)] (meaning).

The meaning of “donut” is clearly understood from the (Chinese) characters.


It implies part of the trouble I have.



(wo3) [(bu4) (ke3 yi3)] (chi1) (tian2 tian2 quan1) (zhi3 you3) (yi1 xia4) (er2 yi3).

(I) [(not) (can)] (to eat) (donut) (have only) (one little bit) (that is all).

I can’t just eat one donut.


We have a way to deal with this.



(zai4) [(te4 bie2)(de.)] (chang3 he2)❷ [(wo3) (men.)] (chang2 chang2) (jiu4) (zhi3 you3) (chi1) (tian2 tian2 quan1).

(at/for) [(special)(makes this an adjective)] (occasion)❷ [(I) (makes it plural) = (we)] (usually) (right then) (have only) (to eat) (donut).

We  usually only eat donuts for special occasions.


That way I don‘t have to be limited。



(wo3) (ke3 yi3) (mai3) [(hao3 ji3)(ge.)] (kou3 wei4).

(I) (can) (to buy) [(quite a few)(measure word for item being counted)] (flavor).

I can buy quite a few flavors.


We cut up and share them all.



(suo3 you3) [(kou3 wei4)(de.)] (tian2 tian2 quan1) (kan4 qi3 lai2) (dou1) (zhen1) (hao3 chi1)!

(all) [(flavor)(ed)] (donuts) (look like) (all) (really) (delicious)!

All of the flavors of donuts look very delicious!


Of course, I still need to be careful.



(ru2 guo3) (wo3) [(chi1)(le.)] (tai4) (duo1) (tian2 tian2 quan1), (rang4) [(wo3)(de.)] (du4 zi.) (bu4) (shu1 fu.).

(if) (I) [(to eat) (emphasizes completed action)] (too) (many) (donut), (to make) [my] (stomach) (not) (comfortable).

If I eat too many donuts, my stomach will be uncomfortable.


The whole family helps me eat them.



(suo3 yi3) (wo3) (ke3 yi3) (ding4) (liang3) (da3) (zai4) [(da4)(de.)] (he2 zi.) (li3).

(so) (I) (can) (to order) (two) (dozen) (at) [(big)(indicates adjective)] (box) (in).

So I can order two dozen in two big boxes.



There is something for everyone.



(bu2 guo4) [(ta1)(men.)](dou1) (dei3) [(rang4) (gei3)] (wo3) (chi1) [(pao4 fu2 nai3 you2 xian4)(de.)] (han4) [(lao3 shi4 nai3 you2 niu2 nai3) (kou3 wei4)(de.) (tian2 tian2 quan1).

(however) [(he)(makes it plural) = they] (all) (must) [(make)+(give) = yield] (me) (to eat) [(puffed cream/butter filling) (ed)] (and) (old fashion butter milk) [(flavor)(-ed)] (donut).

However, they must all make sure I get to eat cream filled and old fashioned buttermilk donuts.


They say you can’t buy happiness,

可是 我說「如果你可以買甜甜圈的話,那差不多是一樣的。」


(ke3 shi4) (wo3) (shuo1) “[(ru2 guo3) (ni3) (ke3 yi3) (mai3) (tian2 tian2 quan1) (de. hua4)]❺, (na4) (cha4 bu. duo1) (shi4) [(yi1 yang4)(de.)].

(but) (I) (say) “[(if) (you) (can) (to buy) (donut) (completion of the "if" phrase)]❺, (that) (nearly, almost) (to be) [(same)(adjective marker)].

But I say, “If you can buy donuts, it is about the same.”


Notes on helpful things I learned or was reminded of while writing these sentences:

❶ 而已 (er2 yi3) is added emphasis. It is the difference between saying 1) “I can’t just have one.” and 2) “I can’t just have one and no more.”

❷ This word was interesting to me, because of what the individual characters mean and how they come together for this particular word. 場 (chang3) is listed first in the dictionary as meaning “area” or “space.” It is the same word used in 飛機場 (fei1 ji1 chang3) “flying machine area” or”airport”, and 市場 (shi4 chang3) “market place.” 合 is used to mean “gather” or “collect,” so that when put together, you have a place where (implied people) get together, so there must be some occasion!

❸ Once again, I am made aware of how much this word: 好 (hao3) is used. Technically, in this phrase 「好幾」(hao3 ji3) it means “good few,” implying a generous number and not stinginess. Thus, the translation “quite a few.”

❹ Here I could have used the word: 噁心 (e3 xin1), which means “nauseated,” if I had wanted to indicate a stronger level of discomfort, but I don’t eat THAT many donuts!

❺ Certain phrases in Chinese have specific beginnings and endings. In this one, the “if” is an encapsulated phrase 「如果。。。。 的話,」which will then be followed by the expect outcome of the “if.” It is sort of like a geometry axiom, “if… is said, (then)”


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