shì

  1. shì verb is / are / am / to be
    Domain: Modern Chinese 现代汉语 , Subdomain: Function Words 虚词
    Notes: 是 is used in this sense as a copular verb used between two nouns or noun phrases to indicate equality (Ho 2002, '是' 1; NCCED '是' 2). Use in this form is not common in literary Chinese but was used as early as the Han, (Norman 1988, p. 125) notably in translation of Buddhist texts (Kroll 2015 '是' 4). 是 is the fourth most frequently used word in the Beijing Language Institute's 1985 frequency wordlist (Ho 2002, '是').
  2. shì verb is exactly
    Domain: Modern Chinese 现代汉语 , Subdomain: Function Words 虚词
    Notes: To connect two words with identical meaning
  3. shì verb is suitable / is in contrast / used for emphasis
    Domain: Modern Chinese 现代汉语 , Subdomain: Function Words 虚词
    Notes: 是 is used in this sense in front of a noun to emphasize its suitability or contrast (NCCED '是' 4).
  4. shì pronoun this / that / those
    Domain: Literary Chinese 文言文
    Notes: In literary Chinese 是 most often functions as an anaphoric (referring to something previously mentioned) demonstrative pronoun (Pulleyblank 1995, p. 85; NCCED '是' 1; Kroll 2015 '是' 1). 是 is also used as an indefinite demonstrative pronoun in literary Chinese (Kroll 2015 '是' 2).
  5. shì adverb really / certainly
    Domain: Modern Chinese 现代汉语 , Subdomain: Function Words 虚词
    Notes: In this sense, 是 is used in front of a verb or adjective to emphasize it (NCCED '是' 6). For example, 特别是在大家面前 'especially in front of everybody.'(Lao She, 2003, p. 176)
  6. shì adjective correct / affirmative
    Domain: Modern Chinese 现代汉语 , Subdomain: Function Words 虚词
    Notes: In this sense, 是 is used as an alternative in a question or as the affirmative answer to a question. 是 is used in this sense in both modern and literary Chinese (NCCED '是' 8; Kroll 2015 '是' 3).
  7. shì verb to exist
    Domain: Modern Chinese 现代汉语 , Subdomain: Function Words 虚词
    Notes: 是 is used in this sense rather than 有 in some cases for a specific condition (Ho 2002, '是' 2).
  8. shì verb used between repetitions of a word
    Domain: Modern Chinese 现代汉语 , Subdomain: Function Words 虚词
    Notes: 是 is used in this form to indicate a distinction of some kind (NCCED '是' 3). For example, 从此她是她,我是我,再也不吵嘴 'From now on, she will be who she is and I will be who I am but we will not quarrel again.' (Lao She, 2003, p. 205)

Contained in

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Word is mentioned most frequently in

Truncated for common words