3.3.1: Standard negation with "bu"

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Negating Verbs

Structure

The standard way to negate verbs in Chinese is with 不 (bù). To negate a verb, simply place 不 (bù) before it:

Subj. + 不 + Verb + Obj.

Examples

• 他们 坏 孩子。Tāmen shì huài háizi.They are not bad kids.
• 我们 酒。Wǒmen jiǔ.We don't drink alcohol.
• 我 今天 工作。Wǒ jīntiān xiǎng gōngzuò.I don't want to work today.
• 喜欢 我 吗？Nǐ xǐhuan wǒ ma?Do you not like me?
• 为什么 你 喜欢 喝 咖啡？Wèishénme nǐ xǐhuan hē kāfēi?Why don't you like to drink coffee?

Almost all verbs can be negated with 不 (bù) (unless you're talking about the past). The only verb that can never be negated with 不 (bù) is 有 (yǒu).

• 时间。Wǒ yǒu shíjiān.
• 时间。Wǒ méiyǒu shíjiān.I don't have time.

As it turns out, the structure with an adjective is basically the same as the one with a verb.

Structure

Examples

• 饿。Wǒ è.I'm not hungry.
• 这 个 。Zhège guì.This is not expensive.
• 公司 。Gōngsī .The company is not big.
• 老板 今天 很 高兴。Lǎobǎn jīntiān hěn gāoxìng .The boss is very unhappy today.
• 我 哥哥 ，但是 很 帅。Wǒ gēge gāo , dànshì hěn shuài.My older brother is not tall, but he is very handsome.

Mandarin Chinese Lessons with Yangyang - Grammar 004 (negation word bú). Yoyo Chinese: Negation word 不