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not; no
is; are; am; yes; to be
simp. and trad.




  1. to not be
    不是 / 不是  ―  Zhè bùshì wǒ de shū.  ―  This is not my book.
    不是 / 不是  ―  Zhè bùshì wǒ de shū ma?  ―  This is not my book? (e.g. when you are told that the book is not yours.)
    不是明白只是 [MSC, trad.]
    不是明白只是 [MSC, simp.]
    Bùshì wǒ bù míngbái, wǒ zhǐshì bù xiǎng shuō. [Pinyin]
    It's not that I don't know; it's just that I don't want to say it.
  2. Used in interrogative sentences, to express a certain emotion. Equivalent to “... not ... ?”
    不是弟弟 [MSC, trad.]
    不是弟弟 [MSC, simp.]
    bùshì shuō le bié jiào wǒ dìdi ma? [Pinyin]
    Didn't I already tell you not to call me "little bro"?
    不是 / 不是  ―  Kàn, nà bùshì Yáo Míng ma?  ―  Look! Isn't that Yao Ming?
    不是 / 不是  ―  Zhè bùshì wǒ de shū ma?  ―  Isn't this my book? (e.g. when you find other person holding your book)

Usage notesEdit

In sense 2, 不是 is usually weakened, pronounced with neutral tone, while in sense 1, 不是 is stressed.


Dialectal synonyms of 不是 (“to not be”) [map]
Variety Location Words
Classical Chinese
Formal (Written Standard Chinese) 不是
Mandarin Beijing 不是
Taiwan 不是
Jinan 不是
Xi'an 不是
Wuhan 不是
Chengdu 不是
Yangzhou 不是
Hefei 不是
Cantonese Guangzhou 唔係
Hong Kong 唔係
Taishan 唔係
Yangjiang 無係
Gan Nanchang 不是
Hakka Meixian 毋係
Miaoli (N. Sixian) 毋係
Liudui (S. Sixian) 毋係
Hsinchu (Hailu) 毋係
Dongshi (Dabu) 毋係
Zhuolan (Raoping) 毋係
Yunlin (Zhao'an) 毋係
Jin Taiyuan 不是
Min Bei Jian'ou 伓是
Min Dong Fuzhou 伓是
Matsu 伓是
Min Nan Xiamen 毋是
Quanzhou 毋是
Zhangzhou 毋是
Taipei 毋是
Kaohsiung 毋是
Tainan 毋是
Taichung 毋是
Hsinchu 毋是
Lukang 毋是
Sanxia 毋是
Yilan 毋是
Kinmen 毋是
Magong 毋是
Penang 毋是
Chaozhou 唔是
Shantou 唔是
Wu Shanghai 勿是
Suzhou 勿是
Wenzhou 否是
Xiang Changsha 不是
Shuangfeng 不是

Derived termsEdit

See alsoEdit



  1. fault; mistake; wrongdoing
    不是  ―  Dōu shì wǒ de bùshì.  ―  It's all my fault.
    不是 / 不是  ―  Kuài qù péi ge bùshì.  ―  Quickly go and apologise.


Derived termsEdit