不 is a common word in Chinese. It literally means “no, not”. In this vocabulary study guide, I would like to list some rules of how to use it in Chinese.

Used to Negate a VERB

不 is generally used to negate a verb in the present of future tense by simply putting it in front of the verb. For Example,

今天他不想工作。
Jīntiān tā bùxiǎng gōngzuò
He does not want to work today.

The structure is

Subject + 不 + verb + Object

More Examples

他不喜欢猫。
Tā bù xǐhuān māo
He does not like cats.

我不要西瓜。
Wǒ búyào xīguā
I don’t want watermelon.

他们不是坏孩子。
Tāmen bùshì huài háizi
They are not bad children.

Used to Negate an Adjective

The way 不 is used to negate an adjective is the same as it is to negate a verb. Simply putting it in front of the adjective makes its meaning opposite. For example,when 不 is added, 好 (good) becomes 不好 (bad).

The structure is

Subject + 不 + Adjective

More Examples

我不累。
Wǒ bú lèi
I am not tired.

他不对。
Tā búduì.
He is not right.

我们现在不忙。
Wǒmen xiànzài bù máng
We are not busy at the moment.

Tone Change Rules for 不

不 can be pronounced as bù (4th tone) or bú (2nd tone). When should it be pronounced as bù and when should it be pronounced as bú?

Here are the rules:

It is pronounced as bù (4th tone) when used along or before the 1st, 2nd & 3rd tone.
For example,

不知道  bù zhīdào
不想   bùxiǎng
不明白  bù míngbái
不懂   bù dǒng
不忙   bù máng
不好   bù hǎo

 It  is pronounced as  (2nd tone) when used before the 4th tone. 

For example,

不要   búyào
不对   búduì
不是   búshì
不累   búlèi
不要紧  búyàojǐn
不愿意  búyuànyì

 

pronunciation of bu

 


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