(#7) Yes, no / 是的,不是的

Previously I’d mentioned 是 shi4 is used in replacement of am, are, is. Now I’m going to let u know how it is used in another method – to answer simple questions.

shi4: yes
不是 bu4 shi4: no

Actually to be truthful, you just have to remember that 是shi4 is used as am, are, is, and hence 不是 bu4 shi4 is naturally to express the negative.

If someone asked you: ‘Are you James?’ you can reply using 是 and 不是.

你是 James 吗? ni3 shi4 James ma1? Are you James?
我是 wo3 shi4 I am
我不是 wo3 bu4 shi4 I am not

In previous posts I mentioned how to form sentences with 是 and 不是, so if you think about it, using the same to answer questions makes perfect sense correct?

That’s not all.

In the same question above we can answer in a slight different way.

你是 James 吗? ni3 shi4 James ma1? Are you James?
是的 shi4 de4 Yes
不是的 bu4 shi4 de4 No

Similar to English, in the first example the reply comes with ‘我XX’ and therefore the equivalent in English is ‘I’m xx’. The second example is simply a ‘yes’ and ‘no’ reply.

是的 shi4 de4 and 不是的 bu4 shi4 de4 is mainly used in reply to ‘Are you…’, ‘Is that…’, ‘Is she…’ etc kind of questions. In short, the ‘是’ kind of questions.

Side note. If you do watch Taiwanese variety shows, you might hear hosts starting an introduction with 是的 shi4 de4! The purpose is to start the introduction with a ‘yes’ meaning, or an affirmative and positive meaning.

  1. February 13th, 2013
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