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Traditional Simplified

hěn

 is often translated as “very” but can also be used more generally. One of its primary functions is to link a subject to an adjective.

Linking subjects to descriptions with

noun +  + adjective

Essentially,  acts as a de facto form of “to be” that can only be used to link a subject to an adjective. To link a subject to another noun, use instead.

媽媽 年輕
Wǒ māmā hěn niánqīng.
My mom is very young.
你的 朋友
Nǐde péngyǒu hěn hǎo liáo.
Your friend is nice to chat with.
睡覺 健康
Shuìjiào hěn jiànkāng.
Sleep is healthy.
平時 說話 謹慎 知道 為什麼 這樣
Tā píngshí shuōhuà hěn jǐnshèn. Wǒ yě bù zhīdào wéishénme tā huì zhèyàng shuō.
He is usually careful with his words, I don't know why he would say this either.

When  means “very”

 + adjective + + noun

In some situations,  actually does mean “very”. For instance, descriptions are often connected to the front of a noun with , like 快樂 兔子 , which means “happy rabbit”. In cases like this, we can add  to mean “very”.

快樂 兔子
hěn kuàilè de tùzǐ
very happy rabbit
勤奮 員工
hěn qínfèn de yuángōng
very hardworking employee
主動 學生
Tā shì ge hěn zhǔdòng de xuéshēng.
He is a very proactive student.
有趣 故事
Shū lǐ yǒu hěnduō hěn yǒuqù de gùshì.
There are so many very interesting stories in the book.

Showing degree while linking a subject to an opinion-based adjective

noun +  + adjective

If an adjective can either be an objective fact or a subjective description, there are two different ways to connect it to the noun. If it’s an objective fact, we use  . . . . If it’s subjective, we use .

玻璃 透明
Bōlí shì tòumíng de.
Glass is transparent.

It’s just a fact. Glass is transparent. But with  . . .

玻璃 透明
Zhè zhāng bōlí hěn tòumíng!
This sheet of glass is very transparent!

The speaker is stating his opinion on how incredibly transparent the glass is. Perhaps it was cleaned recently.