Ke3 lian2 in English?

Guys, you all must have a better word for this popular adjective ke3 lian2. He is so ke lian, he only has a tea egg and yogurt drink for lunch everyday. She is so ke lian her bf left her with five dogs and a 3-legged cat. I don’t want to hear another “He is so poor!” So what is the best way to translate it?

Thanks!

I pity da fool!

Pathetic, pitiful.

“feel sorry for” works well.

It’s a difficult one to pin down with a single English word. I would say pitiable (as in deserving of pity) but that is not a word most people use in everyday speech and almost sounds too strong. “Sad”, “sorry” or even “miserable” would work, too. It can also depend on the context. In your first example “down and out” would be a good candidate: “He is so down and out, he only has a tea egg and yogurt drink for lunch everyday.” In the second example sad, sorry or miserable would work: “What a sad/sorry/miserable gal! Her boyfriend left her with five dogs and a 3-legged cat.”

How about “poor him”? Much less ambiguous I feel.

Literally, “pitiable”. It IS a word, after all.

Hard to find a word that has the same cachet.

“unfortunate” works quite well, but sounds a little too unemotional or technical
“pitiable” is pretty much exact in meaning but is nowhere as colloquial as 可憐
“pathetic” has the connotation of “lameness” (in the slang sense)
“sad” has the primary meaning of “unhappy”
“miserable” can also mean “wretched”
“down on his/her luck” can work, but as a multiple-word phrase it needs to be worked into a sentence properly

“poor” in this sense can really only be used in exclamations like “Poor [object]!” (Poor cat! Poor John! etc.) You can say “Poor him!”, but it doesn’t strike me as “proper” English. And if the object is “me”, one could say “Woe is me!”

And “I feel sorry for [object]” works very well, but it’s a re-casting or paraphrasing, rather than a “translation” of the sentence. But often, this is needed for the best effect.

Also, ‘piteous?’ I like the literal ‘pitiable’ most.

‘Poor’ is a good case of an interesting occurrence: Innocent movements of a phrase, even though the part of speech doesn’t change, causes the phrase’s meaning to change dramatically.

Another one: “Jeremy still stood in the hallway.” vs. “Jeremy stood still in the hallway.” It’s probably the hardest thing for me when I translate other languages.

[quote=“ehophi”]
Another one: “Jeremy still stood in the hallway.” vs. “Jeremy stood still in the hallway.” It’s probably the hardest thing for me when I translate other languages.[/quote]

It goes to show the importance of word order–though I don’t think that importance is anywhere near as pronounced in Chinese as in English.

[quote=“Tempo Gain”][quote=“ehophi”]
Another one: “Jeremy still stood in the hallway.” vs. “Jeremy stood still in the hallway.” It’s probably the hardest thing for me when I translate other languages.[/quote]

It goes to show the importance of word order–though I don’t think that importance is anywhere near as pronounced in Chinese as in English.[/quote]

We could all speak Finnish or Latin. Then, word order wouldn’t matter much.