1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Chinese
  4. >
  5. "我的姐姐很忙。"


Translation:My older sister is busy.

November 20, 2017



姐姐 is older sister, not just sister


I believe so. They have 4 different words for older sister, younger sister, older brother and younger brother


Although 姐姐 means "older sister", in this sentence it would be legit to translate it as sister only, as that sounds natural in English. Of course, the information that the sister is older is lost in translation then. But especially when translating a novel where someone talks about their sister, you would in most cases use only "sister" in English instead of "older sister" to make it sound more natural.
On the other hand, when someone asks: "你有姐姐吗?", they specifically ask for older sisters, and then it should be translated in all cases.


I did sister and i still got it correct. But it also said another transaction and it said i could have used older sister.


I believe it's like french, we just say "soeur" (sister) unless we want to precise older or younger sister when speaking with someone


Nature is right, family terms can be very specific even when referring to mother's side vs father's side of the family. And people address each other (even those not related) "older sister" "older brother" "uncle" "aunt" etc out of respect, so it is VERY important you know the difference. It is a VERY commonly used thing for chinese culture.


Why the verb "是" is replaced by "很" in this sentence ?


是 is specifically used for equality, eg "She is my older sister", not for descriptive "is" sentences (noun is adjective). In that case, you need another word, usually 很 if no other adverb-ish word is appropriate.

As an example of another word to use, 她很忙 could be negated as 她不忙. I believe 她最忙 would be the correct way to say that she is the busiest as another example.


Because in Chinese they don't use "Is" for something that already is something. For example, You don't say " She is very pretty" If she's already to be pretty! instead, you say Tā hěn piàoliang 她很漂亮 literal translation means "She very pretty". I know for us that makes no sense, but that's just how Chinese works.


So to sum up, noun + is + noun = noun shi noun, noun + is + adjective = noun hao adjective.


noun + 很 (hen) + adjective


Why 'mang' cannot be without 'hen'?


"Such as," "pretty much," "sit down," "eat it all up": sometimes English, too, uses two words together when one could express the whole meaning. It's for the sake of rhythm; creates a sense of completion.


As best I can understand from reading the replies to your question:

  • 是 (shì): Must be followed by a noun
  • 很 (hen): Must be followed by an adjective

So since 忙 (mang) is an adjective, 很 must be used


And how do you pluralize sister? And let's say you have three sisters and only one is younger than you, how would you say older sisters?


There isn't a plural form of the term. You'd just say the number of older or younger sisters you have followed by the classifier for the number of people followed by the older or younger sister term. This is the same with all nouns in Chinese. You'd just say the number of things followed by the classifier for that thing followed by the term for that thing.


Where do we learm this?


I assume with "men" the same way we pluralize any other word but i could be wrong?


men 们 is mostly just for pronouns.


们 can only be used with pronouns like 你 我 他 她 and a few animate nouns. You do not know if a noun is plural in Chinese unless a number or unit is specified. If I say "我有姐姐。" you would know I had at least one older sister, but not the exact number.


Whats the difference between sister and sisters in chinese


None. If the number of sisters is important you will have to be explicit and say 1 sister (一位姐姐) or 2 sisters (两位姐姐) or many sisters etc. There is however a distinction between younger sister (妹妹) and older sister (姐姐).


I was taught that for 我 or 你, the 的 can be omitted before the word for family members. Is this right?


That is correct. Family members do not need the possessive 的. It can sometimes also be extended to a boyfriend or girlfriend (男朋友 and 女朋友。)


Isn't it correct to say elder not older when one speaks of their own family?


It is, but I guess they didn't mind that, the lesson is already so much work for the creators and editors.


this is exactly what I wrote


My older sister is very busy!


"My sis is very busy" is correct
-> reported


No, there are two separate expressions for older sister and younger sister. :)


No because in other sentences, they admit sister for 姐姐 or 妹妹, I asked them to accept for this one too, and sister can be sis
English, French or Spanish (maybe others languages), you just say sister unless you want to precise younger or older


I think I see what you're trying to say, but in Chinese, but it's inherently made known within the term whether the sister is older or younger. While just sister could be accepted, it's important to understand that the younger/older meaning is inherent within the term, in order to learn how to properly use the term. It might not make a difference to you, but I guarantee that you'd briefly confuse a native speaker if the wrong term was used.


Very nicely explained

Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.