Đường nào cũng chết – The Universal Dilemma


This is a story for beginner/elementary level.

Bạn gái: Anh thấy em có mập không?
Bạn trai: Không.
Bạn gái: Anh nói dối! Em ghét anh!
Bạn trai: Có.
Bạn gái: Sao anh dám chê tui! Tui ghét anh!

Bạn gái
Friend female, girl, gal

Bạn gái  – Girlfriend

Bạn trai
Friend male, boy, guy

Bạn trai – Boyfriend

Bạn gái (the girlfriend) calls her boyfriend “anh” and calls herself “em / tui”
Bạn trai (the boyfriend) calls himself “anh” and calls his girlfriend “em.”

Anh thấy em mập không?
You (older male) to think / to see me (younger person) fat

Do you think I’m fat?

Không – No

Anh nói dối. Em ghét anh!
You talk lie I hate yo

You’re lying. I hate you!

Có – Yes

Sao anh dám chê tui. Tui ghét anh!
Why you dare criticize me I hate you

How dare you judge me! I hate you!

The most important point in this story (for beginner) is how the girlfriend and boyfriend are addressing themselves and each other.
The boyfriend calls himself “anh”, the pronoun used for a male who is older (old enough to be an older brother). If the person is a guy and old enough to be an older brother of the other person, he calls himself “anh” (I) and the other person also calls him “anh” (you). The pronoun for the older female/sister is “chị”.
The girlfriend calls herself “em” as she is younger. Same as above, the younger person (both male &  female) calls him/herself “em” (I), and the person talking to this younger person also calls the younger person “em” (you).

Tui is just a variant of tôi, an universal pronoun for “I” in Vietnamese regardless of age or gender. If you want to speak like a native, learn to use “anh”, “chị”, “em” and other Vietnamese pronouns (cô, chú, con, ông, bà, etc.) properly.

Things to take away from this story:

  • how to ask someone what he/she thinks about something: you + thấy (think) + sentence? (anh thấy em có mập không? do you think I’m fat?) (chị thấy em có khổ không? do you think I’m miserable?)
  • vocabulary: (yes), không (no), mập (fat), nói dối (to lie), ghét (to hate), chê (to criticize, to judge)

Personally, I think the most important thing to learn is that when your girlfriend asks you “anh thấy em có mập không?“, just resign yourself to the fact that she sets out to hate you, because a loving girlfriend wouldn’t think to put you in such a difficult situation.

You’re dead either way, and you can say “đường nào cũng chết.”

Story from Truyện Cười . VN


7 responses »

  1. Hello 😀 Nice entry, I like that you explain it detailed. I’m Vietnamese and I’ve exam soon, but I can’t speak it very well so I’m glad I can learn the basic grammar here ^^ Thanks

  2. My exam is mother language, which is Vietnamese (level 2). I think level 2 is too difficult for me, but the advisor from my school told me I couldn’t choose level 1 😦

  3. Ah, no it’s not 🙂 It’s an oral exam in Vietnamese, I get a random topic to read 30 minutes before entering the exam room and I have to speak Viet for about 15 minutes. I still have problems with my language skills, so I’m trying my best to learn now words in Viet ^^

  4. Speaking Vietnamese for 15 minutes is very, very long. (speaking in any languages for 15 minutes is long)
    I can’t even think of what to speak about for all 15 minutes.
    I can probably speak for 2 minutes then stop.
    It sounds more like a speech contest than a regular end-of-semester exam to me 🙂

    If you have any questions about Vietnamese, feel free to ask.

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