6 Sep 2013, 3:07pm
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  • “Lợi hại”

    Today I will talk a bit about how to use the word “lợi” of Vietnamese. As you know, the wording of Vietnamese people is very flexible and each has its own different meaning.

    “Lợi” standing alone means: benefit / get benefit from something. And when becoming a compound word, it also means gaining benefit from something depending on which word it goes with.
    For example:
    Lợi ích: Bring you good things (money, material, ect.)
    Lợi nhuận: Earn money from an investment in something.
    Lợi lộc: Inherit something from others or get benefit from a certain action.
    Lợi thế: have an advantage of something over others when competing in a field, a game.
    There are many compound words like that and most of them mean to receive benefits from something, but there is a common compound word in Vietnamese which contains “lợi”, but has a completely different meaning. It is “lợi hại.” You can separate it into “lợi” (benefit) and “hại” (damage), but when you combine the two words to each other, it has a completely different meaning describing something very excellent, extraordinary.

    For example:

    A: Mình vừa giải được bài toán khó thầy giao hôm thứ sáu.

    B: Bạn thật là “lợi hại”.

    (A: I have just solved the difficult problem the teacher gave us on Friday.
    B: You are really excellent!)
    Or:
    I have three girlfriends at a same time.
    You rock!

    The “lợi hại” is not relevant to “benefit” or “damage”, but it means “good or excellent.”

    You see, the wording of the Vietnamese people is very rich, so I hope that this is useful for you.

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