Mei and Bu

After studying Chinese for a little while, you might notice that we have both “没 mei” and “不 bu” for negating the meanings. On the basic level, they both mean “no,” but they usually are not interchangeable. In this infographic, you will learn when to use the appropriate word, either  “不 bù” or “没 méi.” 

 

When to Use 不 bù

Negating The Action in The Present or Future

Examples,

Negating The Action in The Present or Future

我 明天 不 去 学校。Wǒ míngtiān bù qù xuéxiào. (Future action)

(I am not going to school tomorrow.)

他 现在 不 想 吃东西。Tā xiànzài bùxiǎng chī dōngxī. (Present action)

(He doesn’t want to eat now.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negating Habitual Actions

Examples,

Negating Habitual Actions

 

我 不喜欢 喝 咖啡。Wǒ bù xǐhuān hē kāfēi.

(I don’t like drinking coffee.)

你 平常 不 看电视 吗?

(Don’t you usually watch TV?)

 

 

 

 

 

Negating An Adjective

Examples,

今年 夏天 不 热。 Jīnnián xiàtiān bù rè.

(热 rè, hot is the adjective.)

(This summer is not hot.)

我 觉得 这个 杯子 不 好看。 Wǒ juédé zhège bēizi bù hǎokàn.

(I think this cup is not pretty.)

(好看 hǎokàn, pretty / beatifule is the adjective.)

 

 

 

 

For Asking Questions

Examples,

For Asking Questions

 

她 是不是 你的女朋友? Tā shì búshì nǐ de nǚ péngyǒu?

(Is she your girlfriend?)

你 想不想 去 看电影? Nǐ xiǎng bùxiǎng qù kàn diànyǐng?

(Do you want to go watch  a movie?)

 

 

 

 

Almost exclusively with certain verbs: 是、在、知道、认识

Examples,

Almost exclusively with certain verbs: 是、在、知道、认识

 

你 以前 不是 一个 老师 吗?Nǐ yǐqián bùshì yīgè lǎoshī ma?

(Weren’t you a teacher before?)

 

我 上个星期 不在 上海,我 去了 西安。Wǒ shàng gè xīngqí bùzài shànghǎi, wǒ qùle xī’ān.

(I was not in Shanghai last week. I went to Xi’an.)

 

 

 

 

 

When to Use 沒 méi

And in the following situations you should use “沒”,

Negating Past Actions

Examples,

Negating Past Actions mei in Chinese

我 昨天 晚上 没 睡觉,现在 好累。Wǒ zuótiān wǎnshàng méi shuìjiào, xiànzài hǎo lèi. (Past action)

(I didn’t sleep last night. I am so tired now.)

老师:你 没做 你的 功课 吗? Lǎoshī: Nǐ méi zuò nǐ de gōngkè ma? (Past action)

(Teacher: didn’t you do your homework?)

 

 

 

Only 没 negates 有 since “有” mean “have”, “没有/没” means “do not have”

 

mei for mei you

Examples,

我没钱买这台电脑。 Wǒ méi qián mǎi zhè tái diànnǎo.

(I don’t have money to buy this computer.)

他没有弟弟,只有一个哥哥。 
Tā méiyǒu dìdì, zhǐyǒu yīgè gēgē.

(He doesn’t have any younger brothers, only one older brother.)

 

 

 

 

 

For Making Comparisons

mei for making comparisons

Examples,

今年夏天没有去年夏天热。 Jīnnián xiàtiān méiyǒu qùnián xiàtiān rè.

(The summer this year is not as hot as last year.)

我觉得咖啡没有茶好喝。 Wǒ juédé kāfēi méiyǒu chá hǎo hē.

(I think coffee is not as good as tea.)

 

 

 

 

 

没 Mei and 不 Bu Practice

We also have some practice questions for you.

Check out the questions below and find the answer in the infographic below!

1. I did not do my homework.

2. My father does not like hot weather. 

3. She will not go to the music concert tomorrow.

4. Didn’t you know him before?

5. He doesn’t have money.

 

 

没 Mei and 不 Bu Simplified Chinese Version Infographic

In the infographic, we explain that in the following situations you should use “不”,

没 Mei and 不 Bu Simplified Chinese Version Infographic

 

没 Mei and 不 Bu Grammar Video


Video Credit to Carol from Growmommy.com

Voice Over: Carol

没 Mei and 不 Bu Traditional Chinese Version Infographic

没 Mei and 不 Bu Traditional Chinese Version Infographic

 

 

Can-do checklist

Use the “can-do” list to check if you learned this grammar.

⃞    I can recognize “没 mei” and “不 bu” when people use them in a Chinese conversation.

⃞    I can use “没 mei” and “不 bu” correctly in a Chinese conversation.

⃞    I can write “没 mei” and “不 bu” in pinyin/Chinese characters.

⃞    I can place “没 mei” and “不 bu” correctly in Chinese sentences.

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