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有点儿 (yǒu diǎnr) and 一点儿 (yī diǎnr) basically both mean the same thing: ‘a little’. The key thing is to learn how to use them correctly in a sentence. Below, I’ll explain the basics of using 有点儿 and 一点儿.
First, I’d like to look at the 点 character and its meaning. The character’s general meaning is ‘point’, ‘dot’ or ‘spot’ and is used in many circumstances including to tell the time as well as to order food (点菜 – diǎn cài).
The traditional character 點 includes the radical component for black: 黑 (hēi). The remaining radicals 口 (kǒu) referring to the mouth and 卜 (bǔ) meaning ‘to divine’ suggests an ‘ oral interpretation’ of something which then ‘points’ to the ‘black’ unknown.
You can share how you remember the 点 character on the details page on the Living Online Dictionary!
有点儿 (yǒu diǎnr)
1. 有点儿 + adjective
When 有点儿 is used with an adjective it creates a negative situation to describe something you don’t like.
Using 有点儿 is not only a more polite way to speak in an unpleasant situation, but it makes an angry or upset kind of emotion seem less aggressive, putting the listener at ease without lessening the feeling. It can also be used to create sympathy towards the speaker.
我是有点儿累。(wǒ shì yǒu diǎnr lèi.) I’m a bit tired.
这件衣服有点儿贵。 (zhè jiàn yī fu yǒu diǎnr guì.) The clothes are a little expensive.
2. 有点儿 + verb
Most often, when a verb is used with 有点儿 it suggests an emotional feeling such as hate, worry or like.
我有点儿担心他。(wǒ yǒu diǎnr dān xīn tā) I’m a little worried about him.
我有点儿喜欢他，可是他太自大了。(wǒ yǒu diǎnr xǐ huan tā, kě shì tā tài zì dà le.) I like him in a way, but he is arrogant.
3. 有点儿 + noun
一点儿 works as measure words when used with a noun. So when 有点儿 is used with a noun, it is actually short for 有一点儿. In this situation, 有 predicates the sentence.
冰箱里还有点儿牛奶。(bīng xiāng lǐ hái yǒu diǎnr niú nǎi.) There’s a little bit of milk in the fridge.
我对这部电影有点印象。(wǒ duì zhè bù diàn yǐng yǒu diǎn yìn xiàng.) I have a vague recollection of that movie
4. 有点儿+ 不/没
When negating 有点儿 you can use either 不 or 没 afterwards.
Sentence pattern: 有点儿 + 不
我有点儿不喜欢这首歌了。(wǒ yǒu diǎn bù xǐ huan zhè shǒu gē le.) I didn’t like the song very much.
一点儿 (yī diǎnr)
1. adjective + 一点儿, adjective + 一点儿 + 了, adjective + 了 + 一点儿
一点儿 is more frequently used to express optimism or to request something. The adjective used is usually a positive one.
你看起来比昨天好一点儿了。(nǐ kàn qǐ lái bǐ zuó tiān hǎo yī diǎnr le.) You look a little better than you did yesterday.
她的打字速度可以再快了一点儿。(tā de dǎ zì sù dù kě yǐ zài kuài le yī diǎnr.) Her typing speed could be a little faster.
2. Verb + 一点儿
The verbs used before 一点儿 are usually common verbs such as do, make or look.
他什么运动都懂一点儿，但是都不精通。(tā shén me yùn dòng yùn dōu dǒng yī diǎnr， dàn shì dōu bù jīng tōng.) He knows a bit about every sport, but isn’t good at any.
她带的现金已经足够了，你只需要再给一点儿就行了。 (tā dài de xiàn jīn yǐ jīng zú gòu le, nǐ zhǐ xū yào zài gěi yī diǎnr jiù xíng le. She has enough cash with her, you only need to give a little more.
3. 一点儿 + noun
When 一点儿 is combined with a noun, it acts like a measure word.
她在减肥，所以一点儿肉都不敢吃。(tā zài jiǎn féi, suǒ yǐ yī diǎnr ròu dōu bù gǎn chī.) She’s on a diet, so she daren’t eat any meat.
他今天喝了一点儿酒。(tā jīn tiān hē le yī diǎnr jiǔ.) He drank a little wine today.
4. 一点儿 + 都/也 +不
Using 一点儿都不 or 一点儿也不 creates a complete negation of the sentence and means ‘not at all’.
我一点儿都不喜欢这首歌。 (wǒ yī diǎnr dōu bù xǐ huan zhè shǒu gē.) I don’t like this song at all.
Answer the questions below to test your understanding of the difference between 一点儿 and 有点儿.
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