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chā bié
n. difference, disparity, discrepancy
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First let's see 区别 and 差别
1. Meaning
区别 emphasizes on different natures of two groups, e.g. difference between animals and plants;
差别 refers to the difference between quantities or qualities, e.g. the number of something, is it many or few; quality of something, is it good or bad; the height, etc.
Please see the examples below:
E.g. 保健食品和药品有着严格的区别,不能混用。 [phr] There are definite differences between health foods and drugs. They cannot be mixed together.
E.g. 中国东西部发展差别很大。 [phr] There is a big gap between the development of the west and the east in China.

2. Part of speech
区别 can be a verb, and 差别 cannot. Pleas see the example below where 区别 is used as a verb:
E.g. 这是两种不同的药物,你要把两者区别开来。 [phr] These are two different types of medications. You have to differentiate one from the other.

分别 is very similar to 区别, referring to the different natures, and can be used as a verb or noun.
In addition, 分别 can be an adverb. 区别 and 差别 do not have this usage.
How can I use 差别 (chābié) to express different levels of meaning?
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