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How to say unpalatable in Cantonese?
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How to say unpalatable in Cantonese?

Although there are many great foods in Hong Kong, have you ever tried some unsavory food that taste bad?  Do you know how to describe them and share it with your friends, and probably, complain about it with waiters in Cantonese?  In this lesson, unpalatable in Cantonese will be introduced.

Unpalatable in Cantonese: Negating 好食 [hou2 sik6], 好飲 [hou2 jam2] and 好味 [hou2 mei6]

For saying unpalatable in Cantonese, you can simply negate adjective 好食 [hou2 sik6], 好飲 [hou2 jam2] or 好味 [hou2 mei6] for describing food as unpalatable.  Remember that 好食 [hou2 sik6] can only be used for food, 好飲 [hou2 jam2] can only be used for drinks and 好味 [hou2 mei6] can be used for both food and drinks.

hoeng1 ziu1 m4 hou2 sik6

香蕉唔好食。

Banana is unpalatable.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
Words in sentence香蕉好食

 

daan6 taat1 m4 hou2 mei6

蛋撻唔好味。

Egg tart is not unsavory.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
Words in sentence蛋撻好味

 

到 [dou3] is used here to form a complement of extent(程度補語).  To learn more about complement of extent, you may refer to Unit 10 Lesson 5.

ngo5 aa3 maa1 zyu2 faan6 zyu2 dak1 m4 hou2 mei6

我阿媽煮飯煮得唔好味。

My mum cooks unpalatablely.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounClauseClause
Words in sentence我阿媽煮飯煮得唔好味

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier
Head阿媽

 

煮得唔好味 is a descriptive complement(描寫補語).  To learn more about using 得 [dak1] to form a descriptive complement, you may refer to Unit 10 Lesson 4.

Predicate of that sentence
Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNoun
Words in sentence/

 

Complement of that sentence
Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Verb; /Adjective
Words in sentence/煮; 得唔好味

 

Complement of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speech/AdverbAdjective
Words in sentence/好味

 

hoeng1 gong2 ge3 naai5 caa4 m4 hou2 jam2

香港嘅奶茶唔好飲。

The milk tea of Hong Kong is not savory.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
Words in sentence香港嘅奶茶好飲

 

The subject 香港嘅奶茶 is created according to the structure of subordination(偏正式).

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier香港
Head奶茶

 

ngo5 zung1 ji3 jam2 m4 hou2 mei6 ge3 gaa3 fe1

我中意飲唔好味嘅咖啡。

I like to drink coffee that is not savory.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounAuxiliary verbClause
Words in sentence中意飲唔好味嘅咖啡

 

中意 [zung1 ji3] is used as an auxiliary verb(助動詞)here.  To learn more about auxiliary verb, you may refer to Unit 1 Lesson 6.

Object of that sentence
Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speech/VerbNoun
Words in sentence/唔好味嘅咖啡

 

Object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier好味
Head咖啡

Unpalatable in Cantonese: 難食 [naan4 sik6]

Besides, you can also use adjective 難食 [naan4 sik6] for unpalatable in Cantonese for describing a dish.

The meaning of this adjective is obvious if you try to understand it character by character.  難 [naan4] alone can be used as an adjective and it means “difficult” and 食 [sik6] alone can be used as a verb and it means “to eat”.

zyu1 gu1 lik1 gai1 daan6 zai2 naan4 sik6 dou3 baau3

朱古力雞蛋仔難食到爆。

Chocolate egg waffle is terrible.  (Literal meaning: Chocolate egg waffle is terrible to the extent that it will explode)

Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speechNounAdjective; /Adjective
Words in sentence朱古力雞蛋仔難食; 到

 

ni1 go3 hon3 bou2 baau1 naan4 sik6 gwo3 go2 di1 dim2 sam1

呢個漢堡包難食過嗰啲點心。

This burger taste worse than those Dim Sum.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateObject
Part of speechNounClauseNoun
Words in sentence呢個漢堡包難食過嗰啲點心

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier呢個
Head漢堡包

 

Object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier嗰啲
Head點心

 

Predicate of that sentence
Type of sentence structurePredicative-complement
Functions in sentenceSubjectPredicateComplement
Part of speech/Adjective/
Words in sentence/難食

Unpalatable in Cantonese: 難飲 [naan4 jam2]

For describing drinks, you can use adjective 難飲 [naan4 jam2] for unpalatable in Cantonese.

Again, the meaning of this adjective is obvious if you try to understand it character by character.  難 [naan4] alone can be used as an adjective and it means “difficult” and 飲[jam2] alone can be used as a verb and it means “to drink”.

ni1 bui1 caa4 zau2 zan1 sam1 naan4 jam2

呢杯茶走真心難飲。

This cup of milk tea with condensed milk is truly terrible.

Type of sentence structureSubject-predicative
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicate
Part of speechNounAdverbAdjective
Words in sentence呢杯茶走真心難飲

 

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier呢杯
Head茶走

 

go2 go3 jan2 gaap3 ngaang2 jam2 saai3 bui1 hou2 naan4 jam2 ge3 zau2

嗰個人夾硬飲晒杯好難飲嘅酒。

That guy unwillingly emptied out that cup of terrible wine.

Type of sentence structurePredicative-object
Functions in sentenceSubjectAdverbialPredicatePredicative suffixObject
Part of speechNounAdverbVerbPredicative suffixNoun
Words in sentence嗰個人夾硬杯好難飲嘅酒

 

To learn more about predicative suffix(謂詞詞尾)晒 [saai3], you may refer to Unit 4 Lesson 3.

Subject of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier嗰個
Head

 

Object of that sentence
Type of sentence structureSubordination
Modifier杯好難飲
Head

Reference

  1. 粵典。「難食

That’s it for this lesson on how to say unpalatable in Cantonese!  If you appreciate our work, sign up now and give us a LikeCoin by clicking the LikeCoin button below 5 times.  It will empower us to create more useful contents for you in the future!

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