is, "equal to"
是 shì translated as is but more specifically means equal to.
Can you recognize 是?
是 shì can be used with nouns to connote an equal to relationship. You can use 是 shì to say I am a Chinese person. That is an A = B relationship. But do not use 是 shì to say I am happy. That is not an A = B relationship. You do not equal happiness.
不是 bùshì is the negative of 是 shì.
不 bù is a negative particles, so 不是 bùshì means is not or does not equal.
|我是學生 / 我是学生||wǒ shì xuésheng||I am a student|
|我不是美國人 / 我不是美国人||wǒ bùshì měiguórén||I am not an American|
|You are __|
|Are you __ ?|
|Ta shi shei?||S/he is who?|
|這 是 __||zhè shì __||this is __|
|na ge ren shi shei?||Who is this person?|
is, very, "is indeed"
很 hěn links a subject and adjective. Sometimes, 很 hěn is translated as very, but it is a very weak form of very that is more accurately translated as is or is indeed. 很 hěn can translate as is, as can 是 shì. However, 很 hěn and 是 shì are not interchangeable; 是 shì cannot be used with an adjective. A subject and adjective are never alone together, except when making a contrast, or when using 嗎/吗 ma.
|我高兴||wo gaoxing||I am happiest/happier|
|我很高兴||wo hen gaoxing||I am happy|
|你高兴嗎 / 你高兴吗 ?||ni gaoxing ma?||Are you happy?|
|我漂亮，還是她漂亮 ?||wŏ piàoliang, háishì tā piàoliang?||who is prettiest, me or her?|
|我漂亮||wŏ piàoliang||I am prettiest/prettier|
我的中文不好||wŏ de péngyou Zhōngwén hăo
wŏ de Zhōngwén bù hăo||My friend's Chinese is good;
my Chinese is not good.|