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Mandarin

Judging and assessing in Mandarin Chinese

判断 · 评判 · 评断 · 论定 · 裁决

The words ‘to judge’ and ‘to assess’ have quite a few different but related meanings. In Mandarin, a lot of these meanings are covered by one of the five words below:

  • 判断 (pànduàn)
  • 评判 (píngpàn)
  • 评断 (píngduàn)
  • 论定 (lùndìng)
  • 裁决 (cáijué)

Here’s a summary of the differences between these terms and how to use them.

判断: to determine

判断 is similar to words like ‘determine’, ‘decide’ or ‘discern’ in English. As with the other words in this article, it can also be translated as ‘assess’ or ‘judge’. It contains the character 判, which appears in the word for ‘referee’: 裁判员.

Example sentences:

小孩子不能判断什么是对的,什么是错的。 Xiǎoháizi bùnéng pànduàn shénme shì duì de, shénme shì cuò de. “Young children cannot determine what is right and what is wrong.”

你应该自己判断什么时候喝了太多酒。 Nǐ yīnggāi zìjǐ pànduàn shénme shíhou hē le tài duō jiǔ. “You should be able to judge when you’ve had too much to drink.”

投资她能判断得很正确。 Tóuzī tā néng pànduàn de hěn zhèngquè. “She can assess investments very accurately.”

评判: to pass judgement

评判 expresses judgement in a different sense to 判断, although it also includes 判. It refers to judging a person or their behaviour, or commenting on something in a judgemental way. It’s fairly easy to remember, as the two characters in 评判 are literally ‘comment judge’.

Example sentences:

他三番五次评判别人。 Tā sānfānwǔcì píngpàn biérén. “Time and again, he judges other people.”

你不要判断别人的传统文化。 Nǐ bùyào pànduàn biérén de chuántǒng wénhuà. “Don’t judge other people’s traditional culture.”

我们应该根据他的作为来评判他。 Wǒmen yīnggāi gēnjù tā de zuòwéi lái píngpàn tā. “We should judge him according to his actions.”

对你来说,我们可不可以评判别人的宗教? Duì nǐ lái shuō, wǒmen kěbù kěyǐ píngpàn biérén de zōngjiào? “In your view, can we judge other people’s religion or not?”

评断: to evaluate

评断 is judging in the sense of evaluating or sizing up. It can also refer to assessing the level of something. 评断 appears in the word 判断力, which is someone’s ability to make wise or sensible judgements.

Example sentences:

这次面试的意义是评断你合不合适这家公司。 Zhè cì miànshì de yìyì shì píngduàn nǐ hé bu héshì zhè jiā gōngsī. “The purpose of this interview is to assess whether or not you are suitable for the company.”

医生应该看研究的质量来评断新的药品。 Yīshēng yīnggāi kàn yánjiū de zhìliàng lái píngduàn xīn di yàopǐn. “Doctors should look at the quality of evidence to evaluate new medicines.”

我们可不可以仅仅用智商来评断人们的才智? Wǒmen kěbù kěyǐ jǐnjǐn yòng zhìshāng lái píngduàn rénmen de cáizhì? “Can IQ alone be used to evaluate people’s intelligence?”

论定: to conclude

论定 means to make a concluding judgement on a debate or comparison. There’s a chengyu 盖棺论定, which is literally ‘cover coffin discuss settle’, meaning ‘only when someone is dead can they be judged.’

Example sentences:

你能因此而论定女杏主义还是需要的。 Nǐ néng yīncǐ ér lùn dìng nǚ xìng zhǔyì háishì xūyào de. “From this you can conclude that feminism is still necessary.”

看完研究以后,我们其中大部分人论定疫苗是件好事。 Kàn wán yánjiū yǐhòu, wǒmen qízhōng dà bùfèn rén lùn dìng yìmiáo shì jiàn hǎoshì. After looking at the research, most of us conclude that vaccines are a good thing.

因为他做了不少不好的事我们可以论定他是不好的人。 Yīnwèi tā zuò le bù shào bù hǎo de shì wǒmen kěyǐ lùn dìng tā shì bù hǎo de rén. “As he has done a lot of bad things, we can conclude that he is a bad person.”

裁决: to judge (in court)

Finally, there is the legal sense of ‘to judge’, in a court of law: 裁决.

Example:

这个案件会需要很长时间来裁决。 Zhège ànjiàn huì xūyào hěn cháng shíjiān lái cáijué. “Judging this case may require some time.”

Summary

All of these words can be translated as ‘to judge’, but with different connotations:

  • 判断 (pànduàn) : to determine, to decide
  • 评判 (píngpàn) : to judge other people, to comment judgementally
  • 评断 (píngduàn) : to evaluate, to assess
  • 论定 (lùndìng) : to conclude, to settle
  • 裁决  (cáijué) : to judge (in court)

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