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

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

But at the source of it all, the absolute word the conveys the article of every these phrases, is a two-letter word.

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It’s the an effective little word the we usage to to express dislikes and also correct human being when lock haven’t gained their truth straight.

Say it with me: No.

English is wonderfully but painfully complex, with about a hundred distinct ways the giving negative responses and also positive ones.

However, we have the right to take comfort in the fact that the just word we really need to recognize to refuse an idea is a simple “no.” Short and also sweet, it’s an important word to know, advantageous in a variety of scenarios with countless different applications.

When we’re discovering a new language like Chinese, we find for the equivalents of our day-to-day speech. “Yes” and “no” (along v other useful phrases) are few of the first words us encounter in the early on stages that learning. Once it concerns translating a basic word prefer “no,” it should be nice straightforward.

Or therefore you would certainly think.

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How come Say No in Chinese
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“No” in English vs. “No” in Chinese

What’s an easy in English is seldom the same in Chinese (and vice versa).

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

Before girlfriend freak out and also scream, “Chinese is method too complicated!” mental this: Chinese is logical, and each character is offered in particular circumstances.

There are plenty of instances whereby English is as well vague for it come be translated into a language that precisely-categorized cultural concepts.

Think around it. How plenty of times has actually someone said, “no” come you with nothing to follow it up, inciting you to reply with, “what perform you mean, no?” The exact same would use to a instance where one English speak asks because that the Chinese translation because that “no,” and the native Chinese speaker replies, “no come what, exactly?” Elaboration is necessary.

The trouble with thesaurus Translations

Even v all things considered, English-Chinese dictionary still should put something under for “no,” so then they finish up filling in the empty with 不 (bù) or 不是 (bù shì). Despite these are technically correct, stop talk about why both translations are not sufficient.

1. (bù) is more closely analyzed to “not,” and is frequently paired with a verb to develop the antonym.

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

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

Sometimes, 不 (bù) deserve to manifest top top its own as soon as someone is making use of “no” in a comparable manner together some usual Chinese interjections. And in stimulate to provide a negative answer to a question, friend either include 不 (bù) or 没 (méi) come the verb come negate it, v the literal meaning translation of the phrase being “not + verb” in the original question.

It sucks that there isn’t one personality that deserve to be supplied the same way we use “no” in English, yet that’s simply the reality of the situation. At the very least you understand now why there isn’t a basic Chinese tantamount of this look at simple an adverse answer.

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

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The program likewise has a contextual dictionary and also video-enhanced flashcards, so you deserve to see ways to to speak “no” and also other principles in different situations.

No an ext stalling. Let’s obtain right to all the countless ways that you can be speak no in Chinese.

Saying No come Descriptive Questions

There are lots of different questions you have the right to ask in Chinese, but the people we will certainly be trying out today are the basic yes/no questions. As formerly shared, 是 (shì) way “to be,” and when used in the yes/no question 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 you Thai?”

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

Alternatively, if the second speaker want to to speak yes to the questions, he can just say 是 (shì), accurate translating to “I am.” because he’s not Thai, that answered negatively through 不是 (bù shì), meaning “I to be not” by extension.

There space times the you might be request a concern containing the phrase 是不是 (shì bù shì) which means, “Isn’t it?”

This is a useful term to recognize for day-to-day speech, and of course, it’s one more instance whereby you would potentially 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 deserve to see, questions that have actually the native 是 (shì) elicit the yes/no answers 是/不是 (shì/bù shì).

Just save in mind the this is the thesaurus default definition, and also should not be thought about the universal translation because that “no.”

Correcting Statements and Clarifications

Correcting False Statements

Another factor why you might say “no” to who is as soon as you’re pointing out that that human being is wrong.

The alternatives of speak “no” to such false statements would certainly be “incorrect,” “false” or “wrong,” i beg your pardon in Chinese would 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 mother 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 go to university in Vancouver.”

Example 2:

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

“两个。” (liǎng gè) – “Two.”

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

As you deserve to see, as soon as you desire to show that a statement is wrong, 不对 (bù duì) or 错 (cuò) can be provided interchangeably, however take keep in mind that the last is generally taken into consideration slightly rude.


Answering No to Clarifications

On the various other hand, if who is questioning for clarification, climate the proper “no” answer would be 不对 (bù duì).

One method an individual would dual check your facts is by asking inquiries like, “Is the correct?” “Am i right?” or just “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 phrase for phone call conversations and also in general, to aid you understand if you’ve gained your details 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 meeting is in ~ 5 p.m., right?”

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

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

Just understand that lock all average “right?” and also all call for a yes/no or 对/不对 (duì/bù duì) response.

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

In the pattern you have noticed so far, the phrasing for her yes/no price is based upon the verb offered in the question. It’s no the same case for a yes/no price if you’re using the 对/不对 (duì/bù duì) translation since 对 (duì) isn’t a verb.

Thus, the example above is the just time 对 (duì) would appear 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 saw England 2 years ago.”

Although the an answer of “不对” (bù duì) in this example is no blatantly as apparent as the was when the inquiry was “对不对?” (duì bù duì?), the paper definition demonstrates the the answer need to be the Chinese indistinguishable of “correct/incorrect.”

Saying No using “Have”

Indicating absence of Possession

This one is nice straightforward.

By now, you probably already 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 taken into consideration yet another means to say no to concerns inquiring even if it is you have 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) can be used to say, “Do you have?”

Indicating Inaction

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

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

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

“没有。” (méi yǒu.) – “No (I haven’t).”

Explaining lack of Skills

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

We can’t possibly be an excellent at everything, so there’s no shame in letting civilization know the you don’t quite have actually the an abilities that your asking for.

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

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

“不会。” (bù huì.) – “No (I can’t).”

It’s important to mental that 会 (huì) describes skill that must be learned and also not just any type of ability.

This stand in comparison to 能 (néng) i m sorry also method “can,” family member to innate physical ability.

You’ll know this better when friend encounter all the various Chinese sports of “can.”

Denying Requests and also Refusing to offer Permission

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

When it involves requests and also permission, us would usage modal verb 可以 (kě yǐ) and also 能 (néng) because that “can” and also “may,” depending on context, together per usual.

Notice that 能 (néng) has actually multiple definitions.

For the many part, once someone supplies 能 (néng) in a question, the human is questioning for permission.

People are always going come ask for favors, and also we can’t constantly give in. ~ all, who wants to be a pushover?

If you desire to deny a request or refuse to provide permission, all it bring away is a simple 不可以 (bù kě yǐ) or 不能 (bù néng), i beg your pardon are supplied interchangeably to typical “cannot,” “may not” or much more plainly as “no.”

Here space a couple of examples, although shot not come 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 come 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 once it is proper to usage each answer, simply go with 不可以 (bù kě yǐ).

Some civilization are more comfortable using 可以 (kě yǐ) in conversations, as it is quite common in everyday situations like traveling, among others.

Expressing Impossibility

Sometimes, we prefer to embellish and exaggerate to include a bit of a dramatic result to ours speech. We can’t assist it—we’re expressive creatures. There are times where a straightforward “no” just won’t do.

We know that 能 (néng) have the right to mean one of two people “may” or “can,” and also it is used to inquiry permission.

However, the character can also be used to ask about possibility, if there’s a chance that a specific event will certainly happen, perhaps.

And if you desire to say “no” to a inquiry like, “Is that possible?” you would say 不能 (bù néng), an interpretation “impossible.”

Call the the superlative degree of “no,” if you 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 feasible to postpone the wedding?”

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

In instance you were wondering, unlike many of the other instances that follow verb/不 (bù) + verb style for yes/no answers, 能 (néng) isn’t typically used on its own.

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

Curious around other ways to express impossibility? below are a pair more terms 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 because that impossible

Demonstrating Dislikes and also Disinterests

We talk about what we choose with 喜欢 (xǐ huān).

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

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

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

So once someone asks girlfriend if you prefer pickles, you would say no through saying, “I don’t like.” as soon as someone if you want to re-superstructure fries, girlfriend would reject their ide by precise saying, “I don’t want.”

Let’s look at at some instances wherein you can 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 prefer 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 want to beat soccer?”

“不要。” (bù yào) – “No (I don’t want).”

How come Say No in Chinese: Bonus Terms

Although we have actually gone through fairly a variety of ways to say no in Chinese, us still have a few that haven’t been mentioned yet. Through now, you should know exactly how to structure your yes/no questions and also answers, so let’s simply keep this component brief:

When who is seeking approval, using 好不好 (hǎo bù hǎo) or 好吧 (hǎo ba) come ask if something is okay, friend can refuse it by saying 不好 (bù hǎo), directly translated together “not good” or “not every right.”If you desire to say, “No (not yet),” you can use 还没有 (hái méi yǒu).An indirect way of saying no in Chinese is 想一想吧 (xiǎng yī xiǎng ba), definition “let me think about it.” It’s a polite method of rejecting someone’s request.

Long Story Short…

Despite how extremely long this explanation is, saying no in Chinese is no as complicated as I could have make it out to be in ~ the beginning. Here are the an essential takeaways:

不是 
(bù shì) is not constantly the proper translation for no.When it’s a yes/no question, prize no through using 不(bù) + verb or modal verb mentioned in the question.If you want to no making use of 没有 (méi yǒu), it can mean one of two people “I don’t have” or “I have actually not.”Use 错 (cuò) if someone provides an incorrect statement and 不对 (bù duì) if you want to exactly a clarifying question.You deserve to be creative in your an unfavorable answers, like with 想一想吧 (xiǎng yī xiǎng ba) that states you will think around it, yet you’re yes, really trying to say no through saying the yes, really word. As you progress in your Chinese language education, you’ll learn more roundabout ways of saying no.

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

Too negative life is never that easy.


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