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Chinese Grammar: Comparing 一点儿 & 有点儿

一点() and 有点() express pretty much the same thing. They both mean a little, a bit. But even though 一点()and 有点() have similar meanings and are pretty close looking; they are not used the same way in a sentence. Let's see their differences!


一点() is always placed after an adjective or a verb, and it cannot be placed before an adjective. 一点() is often used when there's a comparison at hand, such as in 便宜 一点()(a bit cheaper). When you use 便宜 一点, you are comparing the price given by the shopkeeper and the price that you had estimated. It's also the case with 一点()(a bit later) where you're comparing The time of your appointment (for example) and the time you had estimated.


Subject + Verb/ Adjective + 一点儿


一点儿 汉语
I can only speak a little Chinese.

超市 一点儿
I want to get something to eat from the supermarket.

稍微 便宜 一点儿
This book is a bit cheaper.


Unlike 一点儿, 有点() usually placed after a subject and before an adjective. It is usually used to express negative feelings or impressions. For example, if you want to buy a dress, but it’s a bit expensive, you can say as in the following case:

裙子 有点儿
This dress is a bit expensive.

Using 有点() to express your feelings is also a way of being/ to be polite for Chinese people, especially when talking about something you don’t like as It is rude to express yourself directly. This is especially the case when you want to criticize something.

For example, if you think the dishes are not as tasty as you expected, you can’t say 难吃 (This is not tasty at all). You should say it in a more gentle way, such as 味道 有点儿 (This dish tastes a little light) so you won’t offend the chef as much (but still convey your point).


Subject + 有点() + adjective


今天 有点儿
It's a little bit cold today.

The pair of shoes is a little expensive.

手表 有点儿
My watch runs a bit slow.

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