The words 短(duǎn) and 矮(ǎi) can both be translated as "short" in English.
But that's where the similarity ends...
So how do you know when to say 短(duǎn) and when to say 矮(ǎi)?
In this video we take a look at some of the key differences between them and learn how to use them correctly!
The key differences between the commonly used Chinese words "矮 ǎi" and "短 duǎn"(A summary of the video above)
矮 (ǎi) : short or low
We use “矮 ǎi” to describe the height of someone or something. “矮 ǎi” is the opposite of “高 gāo”(tall).
tā hěn ǎi, zhǐ yǒu 80 lí mǐ.
He is very short, only 80 cm tall.
wǒ mèi mei bǐ wǒ ǎi.
My younger sister is shorter than me.
wǒ shì quán bān zuì ǎi de，wǒ yī diǎn dōu bù gāo.
I'm the shortest in the class, and I'm not tall at all.
cháng jǐng lù hěn gāo，mǎ yǐ hěn ǎi.
Giraffes are tall and ants are short.
a low wall
ǎi zhuō zi
a low table
ǎi fáng zi
a low house
ǎi shā fā
a low sofa
短(duǎn) ：short or brief
We don’t use "短 duǎn" to talk about height. Instead we use it to describe the length of something. "短 duǎn" is the opposite of "长 cháng" (long).
zhè tiáo kù zi hěn duǎn.
These pants are very short.
wǒ měi tiān dōu kàn duǎn shì pín.
I watch short videos every day.
nǐ xǐ huan duǎn tóu fa ma？
Do you like short hair?
wǒ bù xǐ huan duǎn tóu fa. wǒ xǐ huan cháng tóu fa
I don't like short hair. I like long hair.
短 (duǎn) can also be used to talk about time.
duǎn shí jiān
a brief time / shortly
wǒ zài duǎn shí jiān nèi huí fù nǐ de yóu jiàn.
I will reply to your email shortly.
zhè shì tā de duǎn qī jì huà.
This is his short term plan.
jiǎn duǎn jiè shào
a brief introduction
nǐ kě yǐ zuò yī gè jiǎn duǎn jiè shào ma？
Can you give a brief introduction?
You might also find these posts interesting: