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Traditional Simplified

is used to negate most kinds of words. In some circumstances, like when talking about the past, we use the negator , instead.

The simple rules of negation

In order to negate most words, just add right before. For example, take the following positive statement:  冰淇淋 Which means, "I eat ice cream." Now, negate it by placing before the verb 冰淇淋 Which instead means, "I don't eat ice cream."

+ verb

老師
Wǒ bù shì lǎoshī.
I am not a teacher.
原諒
Wǒ bù huì yuánliàng nǐ.
I will not forgive you.

Note that we only use to negate the verb .

Wǒ méi yǒu qián 。
I don't have money.

+ adjective

我的 房子
Wǒ de fángzi bù dà.
My house is not big.
孩子
Zhè háizi bù guài, nǐ cái guài.
This child is not weird. You are the weird one!

+ preposition

今天 吃飯
Wǒ jīntiān bù zài jiā chīfàn.
I am not going to eat at home today.
現在 說話
Tā xiànzài bù gēn wǒ shuōhuà.
He doesn't talk to me now.

Negating Adverbs

Adverbs are a bit different, but still logical. usually comes after adverbs in a sentence, since you don’t generally negate adverbs. Note the position of the adverbs in the following sentences:

今天
Wǒ jīntiān bù xiǎng huā tài duō qián.
I don't want to spend too much money today.

In this case, the adverb comes before the negator, since is negating the verb. There’s no logical situation in which 今天 would themselves need be negated. However, a few adverbs can be negated, and in these situations will come before them. Note the positions of the adverbs in the following sentences:

圖書館
Wǒ bù cháng qù túshūguǎn.
I don't go to the library often.

In some cases, the can go on either side of the adverb, and the meaning will change:

一定
Nǐ bù yīdìng huì yíng.
You might not win!
一定
Nǐ yīdìng bù huì yíng.
You definitely will not win!

Negating the result of a verb

verb +  + result

In Chinese, verbs often take on a verb-result format:

找到 聽懂
zhǎodào, tīngdǒng.
to look for and find, to listen and understand.

can be used to negate the ability to achieve the result by placing placing it the middle:

找不到 聽不懂
zhǎobùdào, tīngbùdǒng.
to look for but not be able find, to listen to but not be able to understand.