"Are you busy?"


November 18, 2017

This discussion is locked.


As it is an adjective, you use hěn (我很忙) if it would otherwise stand alone right after the subject. But if there's something in between like 不 or if it is followed by ma you don't need/use hěn. (At least that's how I remember it)


It isn't needed but can it be used?


Since 很 is not needed in this case, if you use it it will more strongly mean "very" instead of being a filler word.


No. Shi is used to connect noun + noun, for example "I am (a) student" = 我是学生 If you connect noun + adjective, you usually use "hen 很" (means "very", but in this case it almost lost his meaning and just connects words).

When you ask a general question with this construction "noun + adjective", you don't really need to connect them, so you just say: "you busy [question word]?"

The same with "你好吗?我很好。"


是 is needed between nouns but we have an adjective here, so… nope


The structure for connecting nouns(pronoun) with "是 shì " is:

Noun 1 (pronoun) + 是 shì + Noun 2

verb "是 shì" means “to be” in English. The structure “Noun1 (pronoun) + 是+Noun2” expresses "Noun 1 is Noun 2"

as far as I know to describe a noun with an adjective u use "很" - "我很高兴” - "I'm happy"


I thought 很 meant 'very'. 我很高兴 - I'm very happy. Now I'm very confused.


很 does mean very. But it's also the generic filler adverb.


No, in general shi4 is never used for adjectives. And hen3 is not needed because it's a question


It would be great if you could point us to a source saying that 很 is used for statements but is not used for questions.


是 is needed between nouns but we have an adjective here, so… nope


It's basically like this, the Chinese hate two-word "complete" sentences. The sentence has to be at least three words. That's why we can ask 你好吗? But we have to say 我很好 in reply, not just 我好。 Now, affirmations such as 不错 (bú cuò = not bad) are often seen as two-word answers because they're a quick affirmation, rather than a full answer. Like when your teacher tells you, "Not bad!" when you turn in a decent project. So, to form a full sentence, when in doubt, use 很. If it's a question, you can still add it, but it's not really necessary because there are bound to be at least three words. That's what I was taught by my Chinese friend, at least.


wonderful clarity and examples easy to follow. Thanks so much


Three words or three characters? How do I apply these rules correctly when the subject, the verb, or the adjective is a two-character word?


I believe it's more precise to say that an adjective can't stand alone as the predicate of a sentence (except in a very specific grammatical case of direct comparisons.)


Wow you just cleared so many things up, thank you. A lingot for you.


Why isn't 很 (hěn) used here?


It isnt necessary on questions, chinese relies heavily on context.

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Can you say “你忙不忙?”

I know technically that is “are you busy or not busy” but I thought that the affirmative-negative sentence structure is basically used to ask if the affirmative is true. In other words, 忙不忙 would be like asking “are you busy?” and not really “are you busy or not busy?”

Does it not apply for this case?


You are correct. “你忙不忙?" is an acceptable way to phrase this question. It's actually the way I was taught.


I am so grateful that duo is offering Chinese, but its so hard when there is no meaning with all these random characters that I can't remember. With no meaning in the exercises there is no way to get the repetition I need to learn them. And especially in this one where there was no way to tell which to pick, pure random luck. I was wrong but I couldn't even hear the right one to correct and learn it as there was no audio here or after clicking the check button. Very disappointing.


Yeah.. you gotta have some parallel study just for learning the characters on their own. I use Tofu Learn to learn characters with little to no context and then turn to Duo when I want to learn some common phrases or when I want to build some context around characters I've learnt.


there are exercises on dou just hit the strengthen button


I also look up the characters on the internet for 'meaning' which I write in an GoogleDoc - called Chinese Characters, where I've put all Characters I've been exposed to on Duolingo Chinese - here is a link to show you the meaning for xi, for instance: https://chinese.yabla.com/chinese-english-pinyin-dictionary.php?define=xi ---- here is the entry from this link for: 系 xì system, department, faculty ----- Just change the character or pinyin in the field for another character.


I think it should be: 你很忙吗?


In that context 很 would be implying if you're very busy. 你忙吗 roughly means "Are you doing something", and keep in mind in English that could also mean "Are you busy", while 你很忙吗 would mean "Are you busy" as well except it's focusing on the 'busy' portion. As in 'are you caught up in a lot of work'.


That means "Are you very busy?"


I dident have to add the 吗!:-[ It said it was correct and said another translation was 你忙吗! ???????


Just about the first rule of Chinese grammar I learned was that you use 很 before adjectives. Is this an exception or is that rule actually overstated?

Elsewhere in this thread I've read that you use 很 in statements but don't need it in questions. Which I guess means it's optional in sentences but I'm not sure.

I also read that you use 很 to flesh a sentence out to a minimum of three characters and/or words, and that since in such a question ending with 吗 will already bring it to three characters/words without 很.

So which of these is true? Both? References would be appreciated.


Does "你忙吗" need "很" or not?

[deactivated user]

    Hey guys. I know that this was not thought, but for native speakers like me who just want review and practice, the "A not A" structure should also be accepted. In this case it should be, "你忙不忙?”


    You could also say 你忙不忙?


    So in the case of Noun and adjective, do not we need to add 很 in the negative and interrogative sentence? I mean "1。你不忙" and "你忙吗?" Right?


    We say 你忙不忙

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