"Are you busy?"
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。"
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"
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.
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?
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.
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.
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'.
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.