你好! (Nĭ hăo!) is a popular greeting. In English, it means “Hello”,
“Hi”,“How are you?” and “good day!” etc. It may be used in the
morning, in the afternoon or in the evening. The answer to it is also
你好! (Nĭ hăo!)
2. Adjectives as verbs:
When adjectives form the predicate, that is, when they say what the subject
is or is not, they function as verbs. That’s why an adjective is also known
as a STATIVE VERB in Chinese. There is no additional word for ‘to be’. For
他 忙。 Tā máng. He is busy.
我们好。 Wŏmen hăo. We are fine.
Note that the Chinese verb, be it a stative or an action verb, has no morphological
changes whatsoever resulting from person, gender, number, time, etc.. Thus:
我好。 Wŏ hăo. I am fine.
你好。 Nĭ hăo. You are fine.
他好。 Tā hăo. He is good.
我们忙。 Wŏmen máng. We are busy.
When you negate a Chinese sentence, you simply place the adverb before the predicative
verb. For example:
他 不 忙。 Tā bù máng. He is not busy.
Subject adv. predicative verb
我们不好。 Wŏmen bù hăo. We are not OK.
Note that the tone of 不(bu), ‘not’ is fourth, except when the following word is in
the fourth tone, when it change to the second tone.
4. Stative verbs and the adverbs: 很，也，都，不:
Adverbs such as 很，也，都，不 come immediately before the verb and can only be separated
from it by another adverb.
Tā hĕn hăo. Wŏmen yĕ dōu hĕn hăo.
He is good. We are all very good, too.
When there is an adjectival predicate in a simple affirmative sentence, the adverb 很is
usually put before it. 很 in this case does not carry the meaning of degree “very”.
他们很忙。 Tāmen hĕn máng. They are busy.
If 很 is absent, the sentence then implies an contrast:
Tāmen hĕn máng, wŏ gēge bù máng.
They are busy, but my older brother is not.
Also, adverbs cannot be used as a modifier of a noun, thus an English sentence such as:
“All of us are busy.” is expressed in Chinese as :
他们都忙。 Tāmen dōu máng. They are ALL busy.
Some more examples:
哥哥，弟弟都好。 Gēge, dìdi dōu hăo. Both older and younger brothers are fine.
我们都不忙。 Wŏmen dōu bù máng. None of us are busy.
When two or more adverbs occur together, their order is governed by the rule that the
modifier is applied directly before the expression to be modified. Thus a distinction
should be noted about the position of the adverb 不 between BEFORE and AFTER other
adverbs such as 都，很. Before the adverbs 都 and 很, it is a partial negation; and
after those adverbs, it is a total negation. Compare the following examples:
他们不都忙。 Tāmen bù dōu máng. Not all of them are busy.
他们都不忙。 Tāmen dōu bù máng. None of them are busy.
哥哥不很好。 Gēge bù hĕn hăo. The older brother is not very good.
哥哥很不好。 Gēge hĕn bù hăo. The older brother is bad(very not good).
5. Simple questions and answers:
A simple question is formed by adding the interrogative particle 吗 to the end
of a declarative sentence:
你忙吗？ Nĭ máng ma? Are you busy?
他不好吗？ Tá bù hăo ma? Isn’t he nice?
The answer to a simple question can be full or short.
我忙。(full) Wŏ máng. I’m busy. / 忙 (short) Máng. Busy.
我不忙。 Wŏ bù mang. I’m not busy. / 不忙 Bù máng. Not busy.
6. Particle 呢 and Follow-up questions
Particle 呢 supplies the means of cutting a question down to a topic. It shows
that the same question as that asked previously is to be raised about a new topic.
It somewhat resembles English “And--?”, “ What about--?”. Following are some
Nĭ hăo ma? Hăo, nĭ ne? Wŏ yĕ hĕn hăo.
Are you OK? Yes. And you? I’m OK, too.
Nĭ gēge bù máng. Nĭ dìdi ne?
Your older brother is not busy. What about your younger brother?