Verb “to be”

Equative verbs (EV) equate two nouns or two nominal expressions. The word order in most instances is the same in both English and Chinese. The most commonly used equative verb is “是” (to be).

S EV N
shì xuéshēnɡ.
学生。

I am a student.

shì měiɡuórén.
美国人。

He is an American.

shì lǐméi.
李梅。

She is Li Mei.

Other common equative verbs include “姓” (to be surnamed) and “叫” (to be named/called).

S EV N
xìnɡ lǐ.
李。

She is surnamed Li.

jiào lǐméi.
李梅。

She is called Li Mei.

Negative word “不” (no/not) follows the Subject.

S EV N
shì xuéshēnɡ.
学生。

I am not a student.

shì měiɡuórén.
美国人。

He is not an American.

jiào lǐméi.
李梅。

She is not called Li Mei.

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