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突然, 忽然, 猛然, 蓦然, 遽然, 豁然....


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Chinese has an awful lot of words ending in 然, and a lot of them seem to mean suddenly/abruptly or something like that. We had a thread about this a while back but it only covered a few so I'll make another one for it.

I found this list on Unilang over words that mean "suddenly", I've seen most of them before but I'm only familiar with few. Can a native speaker come in and explain their differences?



猛然 - suddenly and forcefully, as in 猛然一拳



居然 - unexpectedly, kinda like 竟然 我一直以為我們關係很好,但他今天居然給我說他要分手。





猝然 - used when somebody dies of a heart attack, e.g 猝然倒下




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As long as we're on the topic, from: http://www.chinesetime.cn/learn/chinese/community/tabid/119/forumid/20/threadid/1896/scope/posts/language/en-US/Default.aspx

Not my work, thanks to chinesesavvy for this:

" 副词/形容词+然,表示一种状态,常常作状语。做状语时,可以理解成“副词/形容词+地”。有时也可以做谓语,定语,补语。英语中有一些形容词加"ly"可以变成副词。

The suffix “然” may be added after a few adverbs and adjectives to create a complete word that indicates a certain state of being. Such words are often used as adverbials, but may act as a predicate, attributive, and complement as well. In terms of meaning, the “然” suffix is like “-like” in English and in terms of function, it works like “-ly”.

(1) 副词+然。adverb + 然

突然 (adv. suddenly; unexpectedly) :很快地,没有想到地。作状语。如,(acts as an adverbial)

Sample sentences:


I was reading when the power was suddenly out.


I almost fell to the ground when the car suddenly came to a halt.


It was fine just now. How come it started to rain suddenly?

作谓语,如,(acting as predicate)

Sample sentences


The news came as a great surprise to me.


I was totally unprepared for his question and didn’t know what to say.

(2) 形容词+然。adjective +然

欣然 (adv. readily; with pleasure) :高兴地。如,

Sample sentences:


He has a temper, but for once, he readily consented to do as I suggested.


Altough she was reluctant to let her friend leave, she readily agreed to it for the sake of her friend’s safety.


Mum had a look at his exam results and nodded with pleasure.

茫然 (adv. blankly; at a loss):迷惑地。如,


He couldn’t believe that the referee made such a call and was at a loss.


Stepping out of the prison gate, she was at a loss as for where to turn.


After he woke up, he looked around blankly, not knowing that he had been lying in a hospital bed.

显然 (adv. obviously; clearly):明显地。如,

Sample sentences:


Just see how elated the director looks. It is obvious that he is very pleased with the movie.


Setting aside two hundred yuan a month for rent clearly is not enough.


He prepared half a year for the exam and has been working very hard for it during this period. Clearly he is not prepared to accept such a result.

公然 (adv. openly; flagrant; shamelessly):公开地。如,

Sample sentences:


These plants shamelessly dumped their sewage into the river.


He flagrantly cheated on the national examination.


The thief boldly picked passengers’ pockets on a bus.

毅然 (adv. firmly; resolutely):坚决地。如,

Sample sentences:


He firmly committed himself to scientific research development in China.


He firmly made the decision to leave the United States and come back to his dear hometown that he has been missing all the time.


He firmly made the decision to enlist himself in the army when he was a college student.

泰然 (adv. calmly; with perfect composure):形容心情很安定。如,

Sample sentences:


As an old Chinese saying goes, “we take life and its ups and downs with grace and do not close the door when opportunities knocks.”


Even though he was in grave danger, he was calm, cool and collected."

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  • 12 years later...

I'm gonna necromance this post because I have a question about one of these in particular 自然 (vs 自然而然)


If I want to put into Chinese the sentence "naturally, I wasn't familiar with this new place", would there be any difference between the two? It feels more natural for me in this case to use the longer 自然而然, but are they 1:1 in meaning here?

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