有 Expressing Existence

To express “There is/are … on/at/in …” in Chinese, use the verb 有 (yǒu).

Place word Noun
chāoshì yǒu gùkè
超市 顾客。

There are customers in the supermarket.

xī’ān yǒu bīngmǎyǒng.
西安 兵马俑。

There are Terracotta Warriors and Horses in Xi'an.

zhèlǐ yǒu miànbāodiàn.
这里 面包店。

Here is a bakery.

Positional nouns (里面 lǐmiàn,上边 shàngbiān,后面 hòumiàn,etc) are often suffixed to the nouns, the whole acting as a Place Word.

Noun Positional Noun Noun
sēnlín lǐmiàn yǒu dòngwù.
森林 里面 动物。

There are animals in the forest.

zhuōzi shàngbiān yǒu shuǐguǒ.
桌子 上边 水果。

There are fruits on the table.

lǎoshī hòumiɑn yǒu yǐzi.
老师 后面 椅子。

There is a chair behind the teacher.

Questions can be formed by adding Question Words (什么shénme /多少duōshǎo…) before the Noun, or adding 吗ma to the end of the sentence.

Place word Question Word N?
shāngdiànlǐ yǒu shénme shāngpǐn?
商店里 什么 商品?

What goods are there in the shop?

bēizilǐ yǒu duōshǎo shuǐ?
杯子里 多少 水?

How much water is there in the glass?

qiánbāolǐ yǒu qián ma?
钱包里 钱 吗?

Is there any money in the wallet?

chāoshìlǐ yǒu hóngchá ma?
超市里 红茶 吗?

Is there any black tea in the supermarket?

The negative sentence is formed by adding 没méi before 有yǒu. Note that we never say 不有 in Chinese.

Place Word Noun
fángjiān lǐmiàn méi yǒu háizi.
房间 里面 孩子。

There are no children in the room.

shūjià shàngmiàn méi yǒu shū.
书架 上面 书。

There are no books on the shelf.

qìchē qiánbiān méi yǒu rén.
汽车 前边 人。

There is nobody in front of the car.

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