City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
0 like 0 dislike
357 views
There are four semantically distinctive Chinese negators, bu4 不, bie2別,mei2沒,mei2you3沒有. What is the difference among the above four negators?
asked Jan 24, 2022 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by M (4,830 points) | 357 views

1 Answer

0 like 0 dislike
The most commonly used negator is bu4不 and only bu4不 can be used when it is used to negate a habitual situation, an ongoing situation, an intention or a future event, for instances:

(Negation of a future event) 我不一定來。

(Negation of an intention) 我不能來。

(Negation of an ongoing situation) 他不在图书馆看书,他在那里工作。

(Negation of a habitual situation) 他在家不看书,只看电视。

The negator mei2(you3)沒(有) must be used to negate a completed event, for example:

他昨天沒来。(He did not come yesterday.)

The negator bie2別 is primarily used in unrealized situations, for instances:

(Negation of a command) 你别听收音机!

(Negation of a request) 请你别说话?

Reference

Sun, Chaofen (2006). Chinese: A linguistic introduction. Univ of California Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
answered Jan 24, 2022 by M (4,830 points)

1,616 questions

1,882 answers

207 comments

15,645 users

1,616 questions
1,882 answers
207 comments
15,645 users