不(bù) vs 没(méi)

不 vs 没

There are two ways to say ‘no’ in Chinese: 没 (méi) and 不 (bù).

1. 没 (méi) can never be used with 是 (shì).


e.g.
✘ 今天没是一月一号。
√ 今天不是一月一号。(Jīntiān búshì yī yuè yī hào.) Today is not January 1

✘ 我妹妹没是十岁。
√ 我妹妹不是十岁。(Wǒ mèimei i búshì shí suì.) My younger sister is not 10 years old.

2. 不 (bù) is used for the present and future time on a regular or habitual basis. Often, the adverbs of time, including words like today, tomorrow, next week, usually, or regularly, indicate which of these is meant.


e.g.
现在在。 (Tā xiànzài búzài.) He’s not home now.我从来喝酒。 (Wǒ cónglái bù hējiǔ.) I never drink alcohol. –> as a habit, in general.

3. 不 (bù) is used to negate something subjective, such as “不想”,“不愿意” or “不要,” while 没 (méi) is used to negate something objective.


e.g.
A:你吃午饭了吗?(Nǐ chī wǔfànle ma?) Have you had lunch yet?
B:今天我不想吃饭。(Jīntiān wǒ bùxiǎng chīfàn.) I don’t want to eat today.

A:你吃午饭了吗?(Nǐ chī wǔfànle ma?) Have you had lunch yet?
B:我太忙了,吃午饭。(Wǒ tài mángle, méi chī wǔfàn.) I was too busy to have lunch.

4. There are some collocations are often used to indicate someone’s capability, will, or judgment, such as “不知道” “不应该” “不清楚” “不会” etc.

e.g.
不知道这件事。(Wǒ bù zhīdào zhè jiàn shì.) I don’t know about i

不应该生气。(Tā bù yìng gāi shēngqì.) She should not be angry.


1. While 没 (méi) is used when talking about the past. Adverbs of time, including words like yesterday, last month, last year, before, or once long ago, indicate that something did not happen in the past. The past here includes the perfect tenses, those forms that used “have + the past participle,” as in ‘I have never been to XX’ 我没去XX。 (Wǒ méi qù. I didn’t go; I haven’t gone.)


e.g.
昨天我上课。(Zuótiān wǒ méi shàngkè.) I didn’t go to class yesterday.

2. Only “没” is used to negate the continuation of an action or a state.


e.g.
关,进来吧!(Mén méi guān, jìnlái ba!) The door is open, come in!

A:你在看书吗?(Nǐ zài kànshū ma?) Are you reading a book?
B:我在看书,在听音乐。(Wǒ méi zài kànshū, zài tīng yīnyuè.) I’m not reading a book. I’m listening to music.


3. Since single 有 (yŏu) means “have.” So 没有 (méiyŏu) means” not have.” “不” can’t be used to replace “没” in this case.


e.g.
钱。(Wǒ méiyǒu qián. I don’t have money.)
时间。(Tā méiyǒu shíjiān. He doesn’t have time.)

In spoken Mandarin, 没 is the short form of 没有, so 有 (yŏu) is often omitted.


e.g.
(有)去过长城。(Wǒ méi yŏu qùguò chángchéng.) I haven’t been to the Great Wall.
(有)汽车。(Wǒ méi yŏu qìchē.) I don’t have a car.

1. 我生病了,明天我 ___ 去学校了。(Wǒ shēngbìngle, míngtiān wǒ ___ qù xuéxiàole.)
A.
B.
2. 昨天你 ___ 去开会吗? (Zuótiān nǐ ___ qù kāihuì ma?)
A.
B.
3. 我从来 ___ 见过这个人。(Wǒ cónglái ___ jiànguò zhège rén.)
A.
B.
4. 他一直 ___ 喜欢喝牛奶。(Tā yīzhí ___ xǐhuān hē niúnǎi.)
A.
B.
5. 北京 ___ 是在中国的南方。(Běijīng ___ shì zài zhōngguó de nánfāng.)
A.
B.
6. 我 ___ 姓王,我姓汪。(Wǒ ___ xìng wáng, wǒ xìng wāng.)
A.
B.
7. 那个人我也 ___ 认识。(Nàgè rén wǒ yě ___ rènshí.)
A.
B.
8. 我 ___ 时间跟你吃饭了。(Wǒ ___ shíjiān gēn nǐ chīfànle.)
A.
B.
9. 她 ___ 是韩国人。(Tā ___ shì Hánguó rén.)
A.
B.
10. 她也 ___ 去过韩国。(Tā yě ___ qùguò Hánguó.)
A.
B.
11. 她的汉语 ___ 太好。(Tā de hànyǔ ___ tài hǎo.)
A.
B.
12. 我这次 ___ 去上海,下次也会去的。(Wǒ zhè cì ___ qù Shànghǎi, xià cì yě huì qù de.)
A.
B.

 

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