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Traditional Simplified

shì

  can be used as all forms of “to be", but only when equating subjects to other nouns. In order to connect subjects to adjectives, you would use .

 as "to be"

The most basic function of   is to equate a subject with another noun.

醫生
Tā shì yīshēng.
He is a doctor
湯匙
Tā shì tāngchí.
It is a spoon.
小籠包 有名 上海
Xiǎolóngbāo shì yǒumíng de shànghǎi cài.
Soup dumplings are a famous Shanghainese dish.
先生 醫生
Zhāng xiānshēng shì yīge hěn shuài de yīshēng.
Mr. Zhang is a very handsome doctor.
外套 我的
Zhè jiàn wàitào shì wǒde !
This jacket is mine!

paired with

The  . . .   construction can be used in many situations, such as . . .

When you want to emphasize one piece of information:

彼得 哪裡 英文
Bǐdé shì zài nǎlǐ xué yīngwén de?
Where was is it that Peter studied English?
加拿大 英文
Tā shì zài jiānádà xué yīngwén de.
He studied English in Canada.
最後 比薩
Zuìhòu yī piàn bǐsà shì wǒ chī de!
I’m the one who ate the last piece of pizza.

When you want to omit an already obvious noun:

鉛筆 她的
Zhè zhī qiānbǐ shì tāde.
This pen is hers.
大學生 , 歷史 專業
Wǒ shì dàxuéshēng, shì lìshǐ zhuānyè de.
I am a college student, majoring in history.

When you want to talk about what someone does for work:

工作 什麼
Nǐ de gōngzuò shì zuò shénme de.
What do you do for a living?
衣服
Wǒ shì mài yī fú de.
I sell clothes for a living.

When you want to explain someone’s purpose by adding :

幫忙
Tā shì lái bāngmáng de.
He is here to help.

Or something’s purpose by adding 用來:

湯匙 用來 用來
Nà bǎ tāngchí shì yònglái hētāng de, bù shì yòng lái dǎ rén de!
That spoon is to be used for drinking soup, not for hitting people!

Furthermore there are a few adjectives that can only be connected to the noun with the   . . .   structure, rather than the more commonly used :

Nà zhī māo shì nán de.
That cat is male.
食物
Wǒ mā zuò de shíwù dū shì chuān shì de.
All the food my mother makes is Sichuan style.

In these examples you can only use   . . .   because there aren’t really varying degrees of being biologically male or being Sichuanese.

to emphasize a whole sentence

While the   . . .  pattern can be used to emphasize one part of a sentence, just using can be used to emphasize the entire sentence.

喜歡 袋子
Wǒ shì xǐhuān zhè ge dàizǐ, dàn tā tài guì le.
I do like this bag, but it's too expensive.

to show solitary existence of something in a certain place

  can be used to point out that only one kind of thing exists in a certain location. To simply indicate the existence of something in a location, whether its among other things or not, use .

我的 冰箱 啤酒
Wǒde bīngxiāng lǐ shì yī píng píjiǔ.
There’s nothing in my refrigerator but a bottle of beer.
我的 行李 衣服
Wǒde xínglǐ lǐ shì yīfú.
My luggage only has clothes in it.