Tuesday, September 15, 2009
车 (chē) is a simple word. It means "vehicle," easy as that! 车 all by itself is used to refer to cars. To drive a car, you 开车 (kāichē). 自行车 (zìxíngchē) means "bicycle" (literally "by oneself/person-powered vehicle"). 火车 (huǒchē) is, quite understandably, "train" (literally "fire vehicle"). You should understand that 车 is generally used to refer to land vehicles (specifically those with wheels). 飞机 (fēijī), for example, uses the similar 机 to mean "airplane" ("flying machine"), vs the incorrect 飞车.