Lesson 1

Lesson 2

Lesson 3

Lesson 4

Lesson 5

Lesson 6

Lesson 7

Lesson 8

Lesson 9

Lesson 10

Lesson 11

Lesson 12

Lesson 13

Lesson 14

Lesson 15

Lesson 16

Lesson 17

Lesson 18

Lesson 19

Lesson 20

Lesson 21

Lesson 22

Lesson 23

Lesson 24

Lesson 25

Lesson 26

Lesson 27

Lesson 28

Lesson 29

Lesson 30

Lesson 31

Lesson 32

Lesson 33

Lesson 34

Lesson 35

Lesson 36

Lesson 37

Lesson 38

Lesson 39

Lesson 40

Lesson 41

Lesson 42

Lesson 43

Lesson 44

Lesson 45

Lesson 46

Lesson 47

Lesson 48

Lesson 49

Lesson 50


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In the tenth lesson we will learn a new interrogative form, called the affirmative-negative form. This form has the following pattern:

verb not verb - 是不是

attributive not attributive - 累不累,忙不忙

this sounds complex, it isn't, we swear. We'll take a look at some concrete examples here in a second.

First, we want to explain both the nuances and use of this form. For starters, it is a bit more conversational than the ...吗?form; secondly, it is a bit more rhetorical, meaning that the person giving the question in the affirmative-negative form usually expects one answer or the other (or is even upset, see below).

10.01 Question forms with complement

Nǐ sh lǎoshī ma?   
Are you a teacher? 
Nǐ sh b sh lǎoshī?
Are you a teacher?
Tā sh Rběnrn ma?
Is she Japanese?
Tā sh b sh Rběnrn?
Is she Japanese?
Zhāng lǎoshī sh Qīngdǎorn
Is Teacher Zhang from Qingdao?
Zhāng lǎoshī sh b sh
Is Teacher Zhang from Qingdao?

>> Listen to the MP3 (right click to save)


The form for this question is verb (不) verb, or to put it another way, the verb followed by the negation of the verb. It is important to remember that some verbs use mi and not b in the negative form, in which case the pattern should be verb () verb.

This question is a yes-no question, meaning that the answer to the question should typically be either an affirmative or negative, as opposed to open-ended questions which use specific question words.

10.02 Not everyone is an American!

A: 你是不是美国人?
Nǐ sh b sh Měigurn?
大卫: 不是,我是英国人。
B sh, wǒ sh Yīnggurn.
A: 你是不是老师?
Nǐ sh b sh lǎoshī?
大卫: 不是,我是商人。
B sh, wǒ sh shāngrn.

10.03 Affirmative-negative form with attributives

Lǐ xiǎojiě mng ma?   
Is Ms. Lee busy? 
Lǐ xiǎojiě mng b mng?
Is Ms. Lee busy?
Tā li ma?
Is he tired?
Tā li b li?
Is he tired?
Nǐ le ma?
Are you hungry?
Nǐ b ?
Are you hungry?
Hizi kě le ma?
Is the child thirsty?
Hizi kě b kě?
Is the child thirsty?

>> Listen to the MP3 (right click to save)


le is a past particle that serves a purely grammatical function. It implies a state that someone is already hungry or thirsty. In this particular situation the le is optional, although the le form question is more popular.

10.04 Is China good or not good?

A: 你是哪国人?
Nǐ sh nǎ gurn?
李智慧: 我是韩国人。
Wǒ sh Hngurn.
A: 你是留学生吗?
Nǐ sh lixushēng ma?
李智慧: 是,我是留学生。
Sh, wǒ sh lixushēng.
A: 中国好不好?
Zhōnggu hǎo b hǎo?
李智慧: 很好!
Hěn hǎo!

10.05 Are you or aren't you a man?

Nǐ sh b sh nnrn?
Are you or aren't you a man?
Nǐ sh b sh nǚrn?
Are you or aren't you a woman?
Nǐ sh b sh lǎoshī?
Are you or aren't you a teacher?
Nǐ sh b sh drn?
Are you or aren't you an adult?


In certain situations the affirmative / negative form of the question in Chinese takes on the sardonic note found in similar constructions in English - "Are you or aren't you man?!?" etc. etc. However, English speakers should note that in most situations the affirmative-negative form does not have the same sarcastic and / or confrontational feel that it has in English.

10.06 Are you hungry? - Concept review dialogue

王军: 你渴不渴?
Nǐ kě b kě ?
李雪: 我不渴。我饿死了。
Wǒ b kě. Wǒ sǐ le.
王军: 我也很饿。
Wǒ yě hěn .

A Transcribe the characters below into pinyin

1.) ___________________ 2.) 日本人 __________________
3.) 韩国人 _________________ 4.) 饿 ____________________
5.) 男人 ___________________ 6.) ____________________

B Convert these questions into the affirmative-negative form

1.) Lǐ xiǎojiě le ma?


2.) Nǐ mng ma?


3.) Zhāng lǎoshī sh Qīngdǎorn ma?


4.) Nǐ sh Hngurn ma?


C Translate the following sentences

1.) Nǐ kě b kě ? 


2.) Nǐ sh b sh drn?


3.) Nǐ sh b sh Měigurn?


4.) Zhōnggu hǎo b hǎo?


D Fill in the blanks

A: Nǐ sh _____ sh _________?
大卫:  B ___, wǒ sh Yīnggurn.
A: Nǐ ____ b ____ lǎoshī?
大卫: B sh, wǒ sh __________.

E Circle the pinyin for the character

饿 : shēnɡ         jin     gāo : kě     gāo     mng     ma 
: xiān     shēn      shn     li  : nn     wǒ     xiǎo     mng 
: wǒ     xiān      shn     mng  : ti      wǒ     xiǎo     mng 
: xng     xi     mng     sǐ  : mng     tā     nǚ     shn 

F Write questions for the following answers

1.) _______________________________________________________?

      我不渴。 Wǒ b kě.

2.) _______________________________________________________?

     他是韩国人。 Tā sh Hngurn.

3.) _______________________________________________________?

     是,我是老师。 Sh, wǒ sh lǎoshī.

G Arrange the words into sentences

1.) lǎoshī     sh     Nǐ     b     sh     ? 


2.) Wǒ          hěn     yě    .


3.) kě     Hizi     kě     b    ?


4.) sh     Qīngdǎorn     Zhāng     sh     lǎoshī     b     ?


H Select the right character for the word

1.) _____ (rn)
(A) (B) (C) (D)
2.) _____ (shī)
(A) (B) (C) (D)
3.) _____ (jīng)
(A) (B) (C) (D)
4.) _____ (gu)
(A) (B) (C) (D)