Adding emphasis with "jiushi"
就是 (jiùshì) can be used to add many different types of emphasis.
It can be used in the following ways:
To intensify adjectives
就是 can be used to modify an adjective to mean "really", or "really that and nothing else".
就是 + Adj.
- 他 就是 聪明，考试 总是 第 一 名。He's just really smart. He's always gets the best grade on tests.
- 我 真的 什么 都 没 做，他 就是 对 我 有 偏见。I really didn't do any of it. He's just prejudiced towards me.
- 她 就是 漂亮，没什么 别的 优点。She's just pretty; she doesn't have other talents.
To express resoluteness
Used before a verb, this usage has the feeling that the speaker is being stubborn and is unwilling to change their mind.
就是 + Verb
- 我 老公 就是 爱 抽烟，他 根本 戒 不了!My boss loves to smoke, he simply doesn't listen to the warnings.
- 我 就是 不 去，我 一向 都 不 爱 去 酒吧。I'm just not going to go. I've never liked going to bars.
- 他 就是 不 相信 星座，你 怎么 跟 他 解释 也 没 用。 He just doesn't believe in astrology. No matter how you try to explain it to him, it won't work.
To limit the scope of verbs and adjectives
就是 can be used before verbs and adjectives to limit the scope of what the speaker is talking about, eliminating options in order to focus in on something. This is a bit like "only", or "just" in English. This is quite similar to the first usage.
就是 + Focus
- 警察，你 看 你 看，就是 他，你 快 点 去 抓！Emphasizing that the thief is him and no one else) Officer, do you see? It's him! Go and get him.
- 所有 的 人 都 准时 到 了，就是 小 杨 迟到 了。Emphasizing that only 小杨 was late, everyone else was on time) All of the other people arrived on time, it was just Little Yang who was late.
- 我 对 别 人 没有 什么 印象，就是 对 你 印象 深刻。Emphasizing that it was only you which made an impression on me) I wasn't impressed by the others, it was only you who made a deep impression on me.
Sources and further reading