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How to use 不 (bù) and 没 (méi) in Chinese

Apr. 24, 2013

The correct answer is C.

Translation:

          Nǐ míngtiān qù dǎ lánqiú ma?
Tom:你   明天     去  打  篮球   吗?

          Are you going to play basketball tomorrow?

          Nǐ bú qù, wǒ yě bú qù.
Jack:你 不 去,我 也 不 去。

          If you’re not going then I’m not going.

Explanations:

Note: The tone for 不 (bu4) will turn to second tone when 不 (bu4) is used before the Characters in fourth tone. That’s why there are two different tones in the conversation and the following explanations.

This test is designed to examine your knowledge of 不 () and 没 (méi). These two words convey negative meaning when placed before a verb. The differences lie in the following:

1. 不 ()

(1). To express one’s will or preference in a negative form.

The above dialogue falls to this category, in which Jack says that if Tom doesn’t go tomorrow, then he won’t either.

Example:

Tāmen bù xiǎng qù gōngyuán.
他们     不    想   去    公园。

They don’t want to go to the park.

(2). To describe a habitual or usual pattern of behavior or a situation in the negative.

Examples:

Tā bù chōuyān, yě bù hējiǔ.
他      抽烟,  也  不  喝酒。

He doesn’t smoke or drink.

Tā cóng bù shuōhuǎng.
他   从         说谎。

He never tells a lie.

(3). To describe a negative state.

Example:

Zhèxiē xiāngjiāo bù shóu.
这些     香蕉         熟。

These bananas are not ripe.

2. 没 (méi)

(1). To describe an action that has already happened in the negative, usually in the form of 没 (méi) + verb.

Examples:

Tā zǎoshang méi chīfàn.
她     早上         吃饭。

She didn’t have breakfast.

       Nǐ zuótiān qù dǎ lánqiú le ma?
A: 你   昨天   去  打  篮球  了 吗?

       Did you go yesterday?

      Méi qù.
B:  去。

       No, I didn’t.

(2). To say that something hasn’t happened yet or talking about a changing state in the negative.

Examples:

Zhèxiē xiāngjiāo méi shóu.
这些       香蕉       没  熟。

These bananas haven’t ripened yet.

(3). To negate the verb 有 (yǒu), “to have.”

Fángzi lǐ méiyǒu rén.
房子   里   没有  人。

There is no one in the house.

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Comments

Basketball question does not make sense. Answer should be simply yes or no, not the one you have given as answer.

The explanation on the two types of negation was very clear, thank you!!!!!

Hello Katie,

You are welcome! Now you must can use “不” and “没” correctlly.

Please try to fill the following blank.

我明天__出去玩。(Wo3 ming2tian1 __ chu1qu wan2.)

I won’t go out tomorrow.

Hello A Wen,

Of course “Yes” or “No” will be the right and simple answer to the question. But the answer Jack gives also explained the reason he won’t go, so it is also right. In the future, we will do our best to make the sentence much more simple and in line with the question. Thanks.

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