"Teacher Li is not happy today."
I tried putting 李老师今天不很高兴, but it was incorrect. How come we can omit 很 in this case? I thought it preceded adjectives.
Why then in another case: "We are not Chinese."(Translation:我们不是中国人。) my answer like 我们不中国人(without 是) was incorrect?
I don't understand how you determine the word order. The literal translation in the way it's asked for is "Teacher Li today is not happy." What are the rules?!
The basic order is Subject - Verb - Object. Time can go either before the subject or after.
Thanks, that's very helpful. I wish they'd have introduced the grammatical rules of word order before this question is asked.
李 老师 今天 不是 高兴 Why is this not correct? I don't understand why the verb "is" is sometimes used and sometimes omitted.
You only need to use 是 when you are describing a noun as another noun. When you are using the structure Noun is Adjective, do not use 是. I’m this case, the adjective is sort of a verb itself. So think of 高兴 as “to be happy” instead of just “happy” in sentences like this.
Here's what the course Tips and Notes have to say on the matter:
When we want to describe something we don’t use the verb “to be”, we have to put something else before an adjective. The most common word used to do this is 很 hěn, which literally means very. It goes between the subject (who or what we are describing) and the adjective (what we are describing it as). Since 很 is used so often like this, it oftentimes doesn’t mean “very”, just a link between a noun and an adjective.
(I'm guessing maybe they're talking about a certain level of formality when they say "we have to put something else before an adjective" and colloquially it's ok to just not put anything?)
Another thing to note about 不 is that when we want to say “I am not happy” or “I am not tall”, we don’t need the 很 anymore. 我很高兴 -> 我不高兴 (not 我不很高兴)
I think, then, that the reason there's no 很 here is because it's a negative sentence.
The way my teachers have told me, it’s not technically incorrect to leave out 很, but it’s more correct to just say it. I don’t think it necessarily makes the sentence more formal.