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Speaking Better Chinese In Shenzhen

Many foreigners have problems when trying to use the negative in Chinese.  The Difference between bù and méi is quite tricky. Bù is the negative form for future tense and present tense, you just put it before verb.

The sentence pattern is: subject + bù + verb + object (s + bù + v + o)
E.g. 1. wǒ bú qù shēnzhèn. (I don’t go to Shenzhen.)
2. wǒ bù xǐhuan shēnzhèn. (I don’t like Shenzhen.)
3. wǒ bú zài shēnzhèn. (I’m not in Shenzhen.)
4. wǒ bú yào zhège.  (I don’t want this)

Rule: usually bù is in fourth tone, However, if the verb after is in the fourth tone too, we should change it to bú.

But yǒu (means have) is an exception, we can not put bù before it, we have to put méi before it.

Eg.1. wǒ méi yǒu qián. (I don’t have money.)
2. wǒ méi yǒu chē.  (I don’t have a car.)
3. wǒ méi yǒu háizi. (I don’t have kids.)
4. wǒ méi yǒu zhège. (I don’t have this.)

Méi is also the negative form for past tense so you just put it before the verb. The sentence pattern is: subject + méi + verb + object (s + méi + v + o)

Eg.1. wǒ méi qù shēnzhèn. (I didn’t go to Shenzhen.)
2. wǒ méi mǎi miàn bāo.  (I didn’t buy bread.)
3. wǒ méi chī fàn.      (I didn’t eat.)

Tina Zhao,Independent Chinese Teacher
Mobile: 137 28852451   Email: tinazhao.2009@163.com



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The Contributor

Marcus Anthony Maher is a China business strategist who has established an assortment of companies and businesses in China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Australia. The companies vary in scope, including a magazine, a language training center, several consultancy companies specializing in investment, education, immigration and trading solutions, electronic component quality assurance, wine export/import & wholesale, wine bars and shops, retail clothing, carbon market consultancy, property and most recently a fitness lifestyle business.

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