To Chinese learners out there, we have a question for you: when it comes to learning Chinese, what’s just as important as vocabulary and pronunciation? I bet you’ll get the right answer! It’s Chinese grammar!
Chinese grammar is mysterious, but that doesn’t mean there’s no way you can master it. If you need some help with Chinese grammar, Pandanese is at your disposal.
Pandanese is here to help you “crack” Chinese grammar from the simplest to the most difficult patterns. Learning Chinese grammar is a breeze with the Pandanese Chinese grammar series!
Before going into specific grammar lessons in this series, you might want to check out the overview of Chinese grammar:
- Chinese Grammar 101 For New Learners: Part 1
- Chinese Grammar 101 For New Learners: Part 2
- Chinese Grammar 101 For New Learners: Part 3
In today’s article, we’ll walk you through one basic Chinese grammar point that every beginner of Chinese should know: negation with 不 bù.
Introduction 不 bù
不 bù, which means “not” in Mandarin Chinese, is a negation word. It’s one of the most basic grammar points you’ll encounter when you start learning Chinese.
不 bù is commonly used to negate a verb in the present or future or to talk about something you don’t do regularly as a habit. Continue reading to learn how to use it.
You might also be interested in:
- A Guide To The Four Basic Mandarin Tones
- Chinese Grammar Might Be Easier Than You Think: A Beginner’s Guide To Basic Chinese Sentence Structures
How to use 不 bù
1. To negate verbs:
Almost all verbs can be negated with 不 bù. However, this construction is only used for present or present actions. To negate a verb, simply place 不 bù before it:
Subject + 不 + Verb + Object
Here are some examples:
|他们 不 是 坏 孩子。Tāmen bù shì huài háizi.||They are not bad kids.|
|我 今天 不 想 工作。Wǒ jīntiān bù xiǎng gōngzuò.||I don’t want to work today.|
|她不去了。Tā bú qù le.||She isn’t going anymore.|
|为什么 你 不 喜欢 喝 咖啡？Wèishénme nǐ bù xǐhuan hē kāfēi?||Why don’t you like to drink coffee?|
|明天不会下雨。Míng tiān bú huì xià yǔ.||It won’t rain tomorrow.|
As you can see from those examples listed above, 不 bù can be used to negate basically any verbs, such as 不是 bú shì, 不去 bú qù, 不 想 bù xiǎng. The only exception is that 不 bù will never be used with 有 yǒu. If you want to negate the verb 有 yǒu, you’ll have to use the negation word 没 méi instead.
For example, it’s correct to say “我 没有时间” Wǒ méiyǒu shíjiān (I don’t have time) but not “我 不有时间” Wǒ bù yǒu shíjiān.
2. To negate adjectives:
不 bù is used to negate adjectives the same way as verbs. Here’s the structure:
Subject + 不 + Adjective
Check out some examples:
|我 不 饿。Wǒ bù è.||I’m not hungry.|
|这 个 不 贵。Zhège bù guì.||This is not expensive.|
|公司 不 大。Gōngsī bù dà.||The company is not big.|
|老板 今天 很 不 高兴。Lǎobǎn jīntiān hěn bù gāoxìng .||The boss is very unhappy today.|
|他以前不胖。Tā yǐ qián bú pàng.||He wasn’t chubby like before.|
3. To negate habitual actions:
Other than negating verbs and adjectives in general, use 不 bù when talking about things you usually don’t do.
|我不吃早饭。Wǒ bù chī zǎo fàn.||I don’t eat breakfast.|
|他不喜欢喝酒。Tā bù xǐ huan hē jiǔ.||He doesn’t like to drink alcohol.|
|我不抽烟。Wǒ bù chōu yān.||I don’t smoke.|
Chinese grammar is not that hard!
Although there is a tonne of Chinese characters and they can be difficult to learn (compared to English words), Chinese grammar points are quite straightforward to understand.
Learning Chinese is a mission possible!
Learning Chinese shouldn’t be hard, rather it should be easy and full of joy! Ditch the textbook and rote learning method and instead try mnemonics; using mnemonics is proven to help learners digest new pieces of information more easily and more efficiently.
Pandanese is a web-based application exclusively designed to help Chinese-language learners memorize Chinese characters easier and more effectively. Pandanese uses scientifically proven memory-aid methods like mnemonics and Spaced Repetition System (SRS) to optimize your learning ability, helping you learn more than 6,000 hanzi and vocabulary within just a year.
If you’re interested in the Chinese language, especially Chinese radicals, we encourage you to check out our Pandanese blog and read as much as you like before starting your learning!