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3.3.1: Standard negation with "bu"

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    不 (bù) is generally used to negate a verb in the present or future, or to talk about what you do not do, as a habit. So expressing things like "I don't want to go" or "I'm not going" or "I don't eat meat" would be typical uses of 不 (bù).

    Negating Verbs


    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.


    • 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.

    Negating Adjectives

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


    Subj. + 不 + Adj.


    • 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

    This page titled 3.3.1: Standard negation with "bu" is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by .

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