NTI Buddhist Text Reader

Chinese Word Detail

        not / no

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Grammar: Adverb
Notes: 不 is used for simple negation, as opposed to 没, which is used for existence. 不 is used before adjectives, adverbs, and verbs, except 有 (Li Shaoqi, 2003, p. 26; Ho, 2002, '不'; NCCED '不' 1). For example, 不知道是怎回事 '[He] did not he did not know how that was possible.' (Lao She, 2003, p. 207) This use is similar in both modern and literary Chinese (Pulleyblank 1995, p. 103). For example, in literary Chinese, 不可,直不百步耳,是亦走也。'They should not do so. Though they did not run a hundred paces, yet they also ran away.' (Meng 1.3/1/26, translation by Legge) The tone is changed to bú when 不 is followed by a syllable with fourth tone, in accordance with tone sandhi 变调. For example, 不去 bú qù 'will not go' (Sun 2006, loc. 545). 不 is the sixth most frequently used word in the Beijing Language Institute's 1985 frequency wordlist (Ho, 2002, '不').
Concept: 否定 Negation
Parent concept: 虚词 (Function Words)
Topic: Modern Chinese

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This page was last updated on December 13, 2014.