Let’s see. You can say, “I’m all right, thanks,” “I’d quite not” and also “that’s wrong.”

There are additionally the colloquial variations, such together “nah” and “nope,” and also some indirect creates like “we’ll see” and “maybe some other time.”

But in ~ the root of that all, the absolute word the conveys the message of every these phrases, is a two-letter word.

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It’s the an effective little word the we usage to refer dislikes and also correct people when castle haven’t gotten their facts straight.

Say it through me: No.

English is wonderfully yet painfully complex, with around a hundred unique ways the giving negative responses and positive ones.

However, we have the right to take comfort in the reality that the just word we really require to know to disapprove an idea is a an easy “no.” Short and sweet, it’s critical word come know, helpful in a selection of scenarios with plenty of different applications.

When we’re finding out a new language prefer Chinese, we search for the equivalents the our day-to-day speech. “Yes” and “no” (along v other helpful phrases) are few of the very first words us encounter in the early stages of learning. Once it comes to translating a an easy word like “no,” it should be pretty straightforward.

Or so you would think.

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How come Say No in Chinese

“No” in English vs. “No” in Chinese

What’s simple in English is hardly ever the same in Chinese (and evil versa).

Thus, there’s no such point as a single Chinese character that would equate to the English expertise of “no,” return English-Chinese dictionaries will show otherwise.

Before you freak out and scream, “Chinese is way too complicated!” mental this: Chinese is logical, and also each personality is used in certain circumstances.

There are plenty of instances where English is too vague because that it to be interpreted into a language that precisely-categorized social concepts.

Think about it. How many times has someone said, “no” to you v nothing to follow it up, inciting you to reply with, “what carry out you mean, no?” The exact same would use to a situation where an English speak asks for the Chinese translation because that “no,” and the aboriginal Chinese speak replies, “no to what, exactly?” Elaboration is necessary.

The trouble with dictionary Translations

Even v all points considered, English-Chinese dictionaries still should put something down for “no,” so climate they finish up pour it until it is full in the blank with 不 (bù) or 不是 (bù shì). Despite these room technically correct, stop talk around why both translations are not sufficient.

1. (bù) is an ext closely translated to “not,” and is regularly paired with a verb to develop the antonym.

2. 不是 (bù shì) is defined as “to no be,” and also when offered as an answer, either (shì) or 不是 (bù shì), you’re yes, really saying, “It is/I am,” or, “It is not/I to be not.”

As i said, English-Chinese dictionaries aren’t fully wrong because that doing this—they simply aren’t informing the whole story.

Sometimes, 不 (bù) deserve to manifest on its own when someone is making use of “no” in a comparable manner as some typical Chinese interjections. And also in order to give a an adverse answer to a question, you either add 不 (bù) or 没 (méi) to the verb come negate it, with the literal meaning translation the the phrase being “not + verb” in the initial question.

It sucks that there isn’t one personality that deserve to be offered the same method we usage “no” in English, but that’s simply the truth of the situation. At the very least you know now why there isn’t a basic Chinese equivalent of this look at simple an adverse answer.

“No” turns into two or three characters in Chinese, and also the personalities used will differ according come the context. There space an unlimited number of ways of saying no, and also though that complicates the language and sometimes confuses learners, that does make the language that much an ext interesting.

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The program also has a contextual dictionary and video-enhanced flashcards, for this reason you can see ways to speak “no” and also other principles in different situations.

No more stalling. Let’s acquire right to every the numerous ways the you have the right to be speak no in Chinese.

Saying No come Descriptive Questions

There are lots of various questions you deserve to ask in Chinese, yet the persons we will certainly be exploring today space the an easy yes/no questions. As previously shared, 是 (shì) method “to be,” and also when supplied in that yes/no inquiry form, it’s an inquiry on a description. Here’s one example:

“你是泰国人吗?” (nǐ shì tài guó rén ma?) – “Are girlfriend Thai?”

“不是。我是菲律宾人。” (bù shì. Wǒ shì fēi lǜ bīn rén.) – “No (I to be not). Ns am Filipino.”

Alternatively, if the second speaker wanted to to speak yes to the questions, he might just to speak 是 (shì), literally translating to “I am.” due to the fact that he’s no Thai, that answered negatively v 不是 (bù shì), definition “I to be not” by extension.

There space times that you can be request a concern containing the phrase 是不是 (shì bù shì) i beg your pardon means, “Isn’t it?”

This is a beneficial term to understand for daily speech, and also of course, it’s another instance where you would possibly answer “no.”

“是不是这样的?” (shì bù shì zhè yàng de?) – “Isn’t it prefer this?”

“不是。” (bù shì.) – “No (It isn’t).”

As you can see, concerns that have the indigenous 是 (shì) elicit the yes/no answers 是/不是 (shì/bù shì).

Just keep in mind that this is the thesaurus default definition, and also should not be taken into consideration the universal translation because that “no.”

Correcting Statements and also Clarifications

Correcting False Statements

Another reason why you could say “no” to someone is as soon as you’re discussing that that person is wrong.

The alternatives of speak “no” to such false statements would be “incorrect,” “false” or “wrong,” i m sorry in Chinese would certainly be 不对 (bù duì) or (cuò).

Example 1:

“她的妈妈在多伦多上大学。” (tā de mā mā zài duō lún duō shàng dà xué.) – “Her mommy went to college in Toronto.”

“不对。她在温哥华上大学。” (bù duì. Tā zài wēn gē huá shàng dà xué.) – “No (Wrong). She walk to college in Vancouver.”

Example 2:

“他有几个姐妹?” (tā yǒu jǐ gè jiě mèi?) – “How countless sisters does he have?”

“两个。” (liǎng gè) – “Two.”

“错。他有四个。” (cuò. tā yǒu sì gè.) – “No (Wrong). He has four.”

As you can see, when you desire to indicate that a declare is wrong, 不对 (bù duì) or 错 (cuò) have the right to be offered interchangeably, yet take keep in mind that the latter is generally thought about slightly rude.


Answering No come Clarifications

On the other hand, if someone is asking for clarification, then the suitable “no” answer would be 不对 (bù duì).

One means an separation, personal, instance would twin check their facts is by asking questions like, “Is that correct?” “Am i right?” or simply “Right?” which in Chinese would be “对不对?” (duì bù duì?).

Literally definition “right or wrong,” 对不对 (duì bù duì) is a helpful expression for phone call conversations and in general, to assist you recognize if you’ve acquired your information right.

“你的约会在下午五点, 对不对?” (nǐ de yuē huì zài xià wǔ wǔ diǎn, duì bù duì?) – “Your appointment is at 5 p.m., right?”

“不对。下午四点。” (bù duì. Xià wǔ sì diǎn.) – “No (Wrong). 4 p.m.”

You can see 对不对 (duì bù duì) in other variations, like 对吗 (duì ma) or 对吧 (duì ba).

Just know that they all typical “right?” and also all require a yes/no or 对/不对 (duì/bù duì) response.

Unfortunately, it’s not constantly going to be the grammatically convenient.

In the pattern you have actually noticed therefore far, the phrasing for her yes/no prize is based on the verb offered in the question. It’s no the same situation for a yes/no prize if you’re making use of the 对/不对 (duì/bù duì) translation since 对 (duì) isn’t a verb.

Thus, the example above is the only time 对 (duì) would show up in a question.

Here’s a linguistic exchange that would certainly generate a yes/no reply:

“去年她去过英国吗?” (qù nián tā qù guò yīng guó ma?) – “Did she go to England last year?”

“不对。她两年前去英国。” (bù duì. Tā liǎng nián qián qù yīng guó.) – “No (Wrong). She visited England 2 years ago.”

Although the solution of “不对” (bù duì) in this example is not blatantly as apparent as it was when the inquiry was “对不对?” (duì bù duì?), the context demonstrates that the answer must be the Chinese equivalent of “correct/incorrect.”

Saying No making use of “Have”

Indicating absence of Possession

This one is quite straightforward.

By now, you probably currently know that 不 (bù) is supplied to negate many verbs, other than for the verb “to have” or 有(yǒu), i beg your pardon is negated by 没 (méi).

没有 (méi yǒu), literally meaning “I don’t have,” is thought about yet another means to to speak no to inquiries inquiring even if it is you have actually something in her possession or not.

“你有没有iPhone?” (nǐ yǒu méi yǒu iPhone?) – “Do you have actually an iPhone?”

“没有。” (méi yǒu.) – “No (I don’t have actually one).”

Note: Both 有(yǒu) and 有没有 (yǒu méi yǒu) have the right to be offered to say, “Do friend have?”

Indicating Inaction

Chinese doesn’t have actually auxiliary verbs favor in English, however you can use 没有 (méi yǒu) come say the you haven’t done something.

Thus, “I haven’t” would certainly be supplied as your negative answer.

“你吃了吗?” (nǐ chī le ma?) – “Have you consumed yet?”

“没有。” (méi yǒu.) – “No (I haven’t).”

Explaining lack of Skills

Let’s challenge it, we’re not superhuman.

We can’t maybe be an excellent at everything, so there’s no dead in letting world know the you don’t quite have actually the skills that your asking for.

Various translations come up for the verb “can,” yet when express ability, the suitable character is (huì).

“你会说中文吗?” (nǐ huì shuō zhōng wén ma.) – “Can friend speak Chinese?”

“不会。” (bù huì.) – “No (I can’t).”

It’s necessary to remember that 会 (huì) describes skill that have to be learned and not just any ability.

This stands in contrast to 能 (néng) i m sorry also method “can,” loved one to innate physical ability.

You’ll understand this better when you encounter all the different Chinese sport of “can.”

Denying Requests and also Refusing to give Permission

We have actually covered one translate in of “can” using 会 (huì).

When it concerns requests and permission, we would use modal verbs 可以 (kě yǐ) and 能 (néng) for “can” and “may,” relying on context, together per usual.

Notice that 能 (néng) has actually multiple definitions.

For the most part, as soon as someone provides 能 (néng) in a question, the human being is questioning for permission.

People are always going come ask for favors, and we can’t always give in. After all, who desires to it is in a pushover?

If you desire to deny a inquiry or refuse to give permission, every it bring away is a simple 不可以 (bù kě yǐ) or 不能 (bù néng), which are offered interchangeably to median “cannot,” “may not” or more plainly as “no.”

Here space a couple of examples, although try not to be together rude as these imagine speakers.

Example 1:

“我可以去洗手间吗?” (wǒ kě yǐ qù xǐ shǒu jiān ma?) – “May ns go to the restroom?”

“不能。” (bù néng.) – “No (You might not).”

Example 2:

“你能不能帮我?” (nǐ néng bu néng bāng wǒ?) – “Can you aid me?”

“不可以。” (bù kě yǐ.) – “No (I can’t).”

Tip: If you still can’t figure out when it is appropriate to use each answer, simply go with 不可以 (bù kě yǐ).

Some civilization are an ext comfortable utilizing 可以 (kě yǐ) in conversations, together it is quite common in everyday cases like traveling, amongst others.

Expressing Impossibility

Sometimes, we prefer to embellish and also exaggerate to include a bit of a dramatic result to our speech. We can’t assist it—we’re expressive creatures. There space times where a simple “no” simply won’t do.

We know that 能 (néng) can mean either “may” or “can,” and also it is offered to inquiry permission.

However, the personality can additionally be provided to ask around possibility, if there’s a opportunity that a details event will certainly happen, perhaps.

And if you want to say “no” to a question like, “Is the possible?” you would certainly say 不能 (bù néng), definition “impossible.”

Call that the superlative degree of “no,” if girlfriend will.

Here’s a sample dialogue using 不能 (bù néng):

“能不能推迟婚礼吗?” (néng bu néng tuī chí hūn lǐ?) – “Is it possible to postpone the wedding?”

“不能!” (bu néng!) – ” No (Impossible)!”

In situation you to be wondering, unlike many of the other instances that monitor verb/不 (bù) + verb style for yes/no answers, 能 (néng) isn’t commonly used top top its own.

You would just answer “yes (it is possible)” with 可以 (kě yǐ).

Curious around other ways to express impossibility? right here are a couple more state you could want to use to deny any future request:

不行 (bù xíng) – the can’t be done; No way

不可能 (bù kě néng) – Impossible

没门儿 (méi mén er) – Slang for impossible

Demonstrating Dislikes and Disinterests

We talk around what we prefer with 喜欢 (xǐ huān).

We let others know around what us want through 要 (yào).

On the flip side, if we dislike a certain something, us say 不喜欢 (bù xǐ huān).

And then as soon as there’s something us don’t want, us say 不要 (bù yào).

So as soon as someone asks girlfriend if you favor pickles, you would say no by saying, “I don’t like.” when someone if you want to share fries, girlfriend would reject their suggestion by literally saying, “I don’t want.”

Let’s look at at some instances where you might say no using 不喜欢 (bù xǐ huān) or 不要 (bù yào).

Example 1:

“你喜欢你的工作吗?” (nǐ xǐ huān nǐ de gōng zuò ma?) – “Do you favor your job?”

“不喜欢。” (bù xǐ huān.) – “No (I don’t like).”

Example 2:

“你要踢足球吗?” (nǐ yào tī zú qiú ma?) – “Do you desire to play soccer?”

“不要。” (bù yào) – “No (I don’t want).”

How to Say No in Chinese: Bonus Terms

Although we have actually gone through quite a number of ways to say no in Chinese, us still have actually a few that haven’t been pointed out yet. By now, you should know how to framework your yes/no questions and also answers, for this reason let’s simply keep this part brief:

When someone is seek approval, using 好不好 (hǎo bù hǎo) or 好吧 (hǎo ba) come ask if miscellaneous is okay, you can reject it by speak 不好 (bù hǎo), directly translated as “not good” or “not every right.”If you desire to say, “No (not yet),” you have the right to use 还没有 (hái méi yǒu).An indirect means of saying no in Chinese is 想一想吧 (xiǎng yī xiǎng ba), meaning “let me think around it.” It’s a polite means of rejecting someone’s request.

Long Story Short…

Despite how incredibly long this explanation is, speak no in Chinese is no as an overwhelming as I can have make it the end to be at the beginning. Below are the vital takeaways:

不是 (bù shì) is not always the suitable translation for no.When it’s a yes/no question, answer no by using 不(bù) + verb or modal verb mentioned in the question.If you want to no using 没有 (méi yǒu), it deserve to mean one of two people “I don’t have” or “I have not.”Use 错 (cuò) if someone makes an untrue statement and 不对 (bù duì) if you desire to correct a clarifying question.You have the right to be an imaginative in your negative answers, favor with 想一想吧 (xiǎng yī xiǎng ba) that claims you will think about it, but you’re yes, really trying come say no v saying the yes, really word. Together you development in her Chinese language education, you’ll learn more roundabout methods of saying no.

But man, just how convenient would certainly it be because that learners if the Chinese language had that single character because that “no?”

Too poor life is never ever that easy.


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