City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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When expressing "Hold the activity" in Chinese, many Chinese learner are confused about the difference between “举行活动”and “举办活动”. Are they same? Or there is a difference in semantics or grammar?
asked Jul 18, 2020 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Mickey (7,400 points) | 534 views

1 Answer

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What’s the difference between “举行” and“举办”?

1. Both “举(jǔ)行(xíng)” and “举(jǔ)办(bàn)” can be translated into “Hold” in English. For example, “hold the wedding”=举(jǔ)行(xíng)婚(hūn)礼(lǐ)/举(jǔ)办(bàn)婚(hūn)礼(lǐ)。

2. The subjects of 举(jǔ)行(xíng) and 举(jǔ)办(bàn) are sometimes different.

    a. Individual/Group/Organization+举(jǔ)办(bàn)+something

    b. Time/Place+举(jǔ)行(xíng)+something

3. Reasons.

    As both of the words have the same 举, which can be understood as “Start doing sth”, the difference of 举行 and 举办 lies in semantics of “行” and “办”.

    “行” is understood as “Proceed” and emphasizes the process of the activity. Thus, there is no necessity to indicate the organizers when using 举行. Instead, we prefer to match 举行 with Time and Place to emphasize the process of it.

    “办” is understood as “arrange” and emphasizes the matter itself. As the activity can’t be held by itself, it is necessary to indicate the person or organization who conduct it.


操(cāo)场(chǎng)上(shàng)            正(zhèng)在(zài)     举(jǔ)行(xíng)     运(yùn)动(dòng)会(huì)

On the ground                               is                           holding              the sports game

(The sports game is being held on the ground)

北(běi)京(jīng)大(dà)学(xué)           将(jiāng)                 举(jǔ)办(bàn)      运(yùn)动(dòng)会(huì)

Peking University                           will                        hold                    the sports game

4. Tips:

    As a Chinese learner, what you need to remember first is that when the subject is clear and accurate, such as your college, the company and yourself, it will be more likely to choose 举办.

answered Jul 18, 2020 by Mickey (7,400 points)

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