Chinese Grammar:

Adjectives As Verbs











In a sentence such as ‘She is young’, or ‘Chinese is difficult’, the Chinese adjective functions as the verb, and 是 shì (to be) is not used.

The word 很 hěn (very) must be used before the adjective, but it doesn’t have any meaning here.

她 很 年轻。

She is young.

Tā hěn niánqīng.


汉语 很 难。

Chinese is difficult.

Hànyǔ hěn nán.


我 很 忙。

I am busy.   

Wǒ hěn máng 。


Without 很 hěn,however, a comparison is implied.

汉语 难。 Chinese is difficult.(implying it is difficult than another subject or language.) Hànyǔ nán.

The word 很 hěn is also known as an intensifier. Other intensifiers can also be used with Chinese verb-adjectives.

If another intensifier is used, 很 hěn is no longer needed.

房子 特别 漂亮。 The house is particularly beautiful. Fangzi tè bié piāo liàng.

Here are some common Chinese intensifiers:

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