不 (bu) 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.
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,
Jīntiān tā bùxiǎng gōngzuò
He does not want to work today.
The structure is
Subject + 不 + verb + Object
Tā bù xǐhuān māo
He does not like cats.
Wǒ búyào xīguā
I don’t want watermelon.
Tāmen bùshì huài háizi
They are not bad children.
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
Wǒ bú lèi
I am not tired.
He is not right.
Wǒmen xiànzài bù máng
We are not busy at the moment.
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Rules of Tone Change for 不
不 can be pronounced as bù (4th tone) or bú (2nd tone). When should it be pronounced as bù and when as bú? Here are the rules:
– It is pronounced as bù (4th tone) when used along or before the 1st, 2nd & 3rd tone.
不知道 bù zhīdào
不明白 bù míngbái
不懂 bù dǒng
不忙 bù máng
不好 bù hǎo
－ It is pronounced as bú (2nd tone) when used before the 4th tone.
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You may find the guide in
CHINESE VOCABULARY STUDY GUIDE BOOK I
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