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what is the difference between 看上去 and 看起来/看来?

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6 replies to this topic

#1 share PollyWaffle

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 06:51 AM

I know their meanings are the same but what is the difference in their usage?

For example, I know you cannot negate 看上去, so you can't say:
but you can say:
(is that right?)

Also, my teacher said I cannot say:
他看上去不得不走路, 因为车坏了。
but that I should say:
他看来不得不走路, 因为车坏了。

Anyway, any thoughts are much appreciated.

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#2 share hifrank001

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 10:21 AM

看来:consider his (the) situation, he seems to ----
看上去:He looks or looks like -----

His car was stolen last night; 看来, he has to walk to school today.

His girl friend left him yesterday; he looks depressed (他看上去很消沉)。
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#3 share skylee



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Posted 13 June 2005 - 11:51 AM

As usual I am unable to explain Chinese grammar. But when I say someone is not ill or has recovered, I think I would say 沒病 rather than 不病.
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#4 share gato

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Posted 13 June 2005 - 01:09 PM

I didn't know that you can't use negation with 看上去. Why can't you say “这看上去不错"?

This guide to English grammar for Chinese speakers translates 看上去 as "looks" and 看起来 as "seems." http://www.4english.cn/grammar/15.htm So what's the difference between "looks" and "seems"? Most native English speakers would have to think pretty hard about that one.

Anyway, it seems to me that 看上去 is only used when referring to the appearance of something. 看起来, I believe, can be used to describe appearance, plus it can used when you want to referred to an apparent action or some quality that's more abstract or complex than appearance.

Some examples where 看起来 can be used but not 看上去
Not 我看上去没带钱。

Probably not 这小孩儿看上去迷路了 although it might be ok. It doesn't sound too wrong to me.

Not 你的车看上去来没油了。

Some examples with 看上去. All of these refer to how something or someone looks. I think 看起来 can also used here, but 看上去 sounds better for some reason. I can't quite explain it.




Note that 看起来 can also be used ironically, just like "seems," as in "he seems like a stud, but he's not." 看上去, like "looks", I don't think has that ironic meaning. So when you say "你妹看上去挺漂亮的" (your sister looks pretty), you actually mean it, whereas if you say "你妹看起来挺漂亮的" (your sister seems pretty), you might be saying that the sister's not that pretty in reality. Therefore, you probably should say this latter version with some care.

Anyway, this is just how it all sounds to me. I haven't formally studied it. I'm not even sure a formal study of these grammatical elements has actually been done. I couldn't find one in a quick search of the web.
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#5 share winwinworld

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Posted 17 June 2005 - 09:00 PM



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#6 share xiaocai

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 05:13 PM

I feel it's better to say "看来他不得不走路, 因为车坏了" than "他看来不得不走路, 因为车坏了", but can not find any thing about the grammar of using "看来", sorry.
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#7 share nipponman



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Posted 24 June 2005 - 06:53 PM

So, I guess coloquially 看起来 becomes 看来?

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