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Using 好 for emphasis, rather than meaning 'good'

Hi @YuQinCai, @Constance_Fang @Fiona and the ChinesePod team, my question is this:

Hi guys, I keep seeing 好 used for emphasis when I’m expecting 很. For example, this in the most recent Elementary lesson, expansion section:

“I’m so tired. I’m so tired I could die.”

Are you able to give some clarity on when to use 好 for emphasis please, for example, can it be used interchangably with 很, or is it more complicated than that? thanks!


I believe that if you want emphasis you should say 我好累, because Chinese tries to avoid one-syllable adjectives. When you say 我很累 the 很 just seems to be there to add a syllable and not truly for emphasis.

I too would like to hear from more expert people, though.

Yes. 好 is more emotional while 很 is just objective.
When I come home, feel tired and I want to seek some warm company from my family.
I’d say 我好累,今天好忙。
(wo3 hao3 lei4, jin1tian1 hao3 mang2)

If I come home, feel tired and just want to be left alone.
I’d say 我很累,脚很痠,别吵我。
(wo3 hen3 lei4, jiao3 hen3 suan1, bie2 chao3 wo3)

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Yeah, the 很 doesn’t translate always translate as very, but rather is necessary for correct grammar . Check out this weeks lesson for more examples :slight_smile:

Thanks guys, that all seems to make sense… for now!