太 is a common word in Chinese. It literally means “too” or “so” in the sense of “excessively”. Usually 了 needs to be added after the adjective to make it sound natural in Chinese. This Chinese Vocabulary Study guide tai 太 features the basic grammatical rules on how to use the word with many useful examples.
Here are some rules of how it is used in Chinese.
Used to Exclaim How Good Something Is
The structure is
|太 + Adj. + 了|
Nǐ tài hǎole
You are so nice.
Zhège nǚ háizi tài piàoliangle.
This girl is so pretty.
Zhè dào cài tài hào chīle.
This dish is so delicious.
Tā de xiǎo māo tài kě’àile.
Her kitten is so cute.
Used to Express Something is Too Excessive
When used in this sense, the examples sound a bit like complaint. “Too” is the direct translation of “太” in this case.
The structure is the same
|太 + Adj. + 了|
Wǒ chī dé tài duōle.
I ate too much.
Xiànzài tài wǎnle, wǒmen míngtiān zài chūqù ba.
It is too late now. Let’s go out tomorrow.
Zhè shuāng xié wǒ hěn xǐhuān, kěxí tài guìle
I like this pair of shoes. It is pity they are too expensive.
Bàba tài lèile, yǐjīng shuìjiàole.
Dad is too tired. He already went to bed.
The word 不 is put in front of “太” to negate an adjective is the same as it is to negate a verb. When used before an Adjective, it means “not very” or “not so” (literally “not too”); when used before a verb, the translation can vary depending on the meaning.
|Subject + 不太＋Adjective|
Wǒ bù tài lèi.
I am not so tired.
Nǐ bù tài gāoxìng ma?
Are you not so happy?
Tā de xuéxiào bù tài yuǎn.
Her school is not too far away.
Wǒmen xiànzài bù tài máng.
We are not too busy at the moment.
|Subject + 不太＋Verb|
Wǒ bù tài dǒng.
- I don’t quite understand.
Wǒ bù tài huì shuō yìdàlì yǔ.
I cannot speak much Italian.
Tā bù tài xǐhuān zhège chéngshì.
He does not like this city much.
Wǒmen bù tài xiǎng chūqù wán.
We do not want to go out and play that much.
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