"His last name is Wang."


November 17, 2017

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Why can't we say 他 姓 是 王 i mean why we don't use the verb to be 是


姓 is most commonly used as a verb (to be surnamed). This is not typically done in English, so I understand your confusion, but I think it's always important to remember when learning a different language that you can't always translate word for word and retain the meaning due to cultural differences.


I put that as well, and got marked wrong for it


Is because the word 姓 can be used as a verb too. So there's no need to use 是 in this case.


I have the same question


Why is 他的姓是王 incorrect? This one doesn't follow the pattern of the others. Are surnames not considered nouns, and if not, why is there no link necessary between the noun and the name?


In Chinese we just say 我姓[surname]. I would treat the 姓 as a verb, like "to be surnamed", so 我姓王 = I am surnamed Wang.

他的姓是王 doesn't sound too natural.


I asked my Chinese girlfriend this exact question, and this is her replay: "It translates correctly so we can understand if a non-native says this, but this is simply not the way natives speak. It is a complicated way that is never used."


You can think of the verb 姓 as similar to German “heißen”, only that it specifically means “to be called by family (last) name”. 姓 can also be used as a noun “last name”, but it’s not particularly natural to use it as such in sentences like “what is your last name/my last name is”.


Thanks for comparing this with another language. Puts it into perspective :) wie heißen du?= What do you call yourself?


To ask someone in German what their name is, you would say/write "Wie heisst du?" = "What's your name?"

When someone/something is yet to be named, and the question is "What's he/she going to be called?" or "What's his/her name going to be?", you would write/say something like "Was sollt er/sie heissen?".

"Ich heisse The Flash" = "My name is The Flash" :D


I said 他是姓王 and got it wrong. Why can't I use 是 here?


1st Oct 2021. 姓 already be the verb, 他姓王 means "He is surnamed Wang". 姓 is used as verb here means "to be surnamed". 他是姓王 means like "He do surnamed Wang". If you said so, you should have something more to express. 他是姓王,但他不是我的家人。He do surnamed Wang, but he is not my family member.


Imo that sentence translates to "His is last name Wang." If you get rid of 是, comments have said 姓 is used as a verb here. Therefore, its not a direct word-for-word translation and 是 is not necessary for this sentence.


Aight listen here: 他姓王 is correct. In Chinese, we say 他姓王 - in English, "His surname is Wang." But 姓 isn't used as the noun "surname" in this context, rather a verb "(to) be surnamed". So there's no need to use 的 or 是 because 他姓王 literally means "He is surnamed Wang."



他姓是王 or 他姓王. This continues to get mixed reviews from moderators and students regarding considering 他姓王 as being "surnamed". Otherwise, "His surname 'yes is' Wang."

It truly doesn't help anyone to have such variety of views and only a single right answer.


Why is this not 他的姓王? Isn't 的 for possessiveness.


That's "His last name Wang". Also, 姓 is a verb. Hope this helped!


U derstand you th re JILL. Ehhh, seems like it should fly. Made same mistake (blessedly obly 3 times) ..on to the next : )

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