Méi shì 没事 vs. Méi cuò 没错

I now offer you a slice-of-life just exactly as it was told to me by one of my Chinese students. The thing that’s so interesting about it is that both people in the story are native speakers of Chinese, speaking Chinese to each other, ABOUT Chinese vocabulary.

Lara goes to the copy center to make a photocopy. The worker runs off one copy and shows Lara the result. 

(all in Mandarin)

LARA:

Hǎo xiàng bú duì!

好象不对!

It looks like there’s a mistake!

WORKER:

Nǎlǐ?

哪里?

Where?

LARA: (realizing there actually is no mistake and the photocopy is perfectly fine)

Méi shì, méi shì.

没事,没事。

It’s ok, it’s ok.

WORKER: (annoyed that she’d been accused of making a mistake) 

Rúguǒ nǐ shuō “méi shì” jiùshì shuō wǒ fàn le cuò, dànshì nǐ kěyǐ jiēshòu. Rúguǒ nǐ shuō “méi cuò” wǒ jiù zhīdào wǒ méi yǒu fàn cuò.

如果你说没事就是说我犯了错,但是你可以接受。如果你说没错我就知道我没有犯错。

If you say “méi shì” it means I made a mistake, but you can live with it. If you say “méi cuò” then I know I didn’t make a mistake.

LARA:

Duì. Wǒ yīnggāi shuō “méi cuò.”

对。我应该说没错

You’re right. I should have said “méi cuò.”

Thanks Lara for this wonderful little story.

 


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  1. 3 Responses to “Méi shì 没事 vs. Méi cuò 没错”

  2. Furio CHINA said:

    LoL

    This shows me once again that Mandarin is so complex that also Chinese people often get into troubles with that ; )

    Comment date: Jun 26, 2012

  3. Ron Raffensperger UNITED STATES said:

    Yes, that is exactly my experience. 没事 means “oh never mind” and is often used to dismiss someone or their opinion, while 没错 is used for saying that there was no error.

    Comment date: Jun 26, 2012

  4. dna synthesizer INDIA said:

    Yes, that is exactly my savvy.This shows me once again that Mandarin is so complicated that also Chinese people sometimes get into troubles with that .

    Comment date: Oct 19, 2012

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