Negative adjectives with "-si le"

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In English, you might use the expression "you scared me to death!" In Chinese, 死了 (sǐ le) is used similarly to intensify an adjective with an unpleasant connotation.


The "Subject" part below is actually optional, you can still make your over-the-top exclamations without it.

Adj. + 死了

This structure is technically a kind of degree complement.


  • 饿 死了Literally, "hungry to death"è sǐ le! I'm starving!
  • 今天 死了Literally, "tired to death"Jīntiān lèi sǐ le! Today was so exhausting!
  • 死了Literally, "hot to death" sǐ le! It's ridiculously hot!
  • 这 几 天 死了Literally, "busy to death" Zhè jǐ tiān máng sǐ le! It's been so terribly busy these days!
  • 这 件 衣服 死了Literally, "ugly to death"Zhè jiàn yīfu chǒu sǐ le! This clothing is totally hideous!
  • 你 的 房间 死了Literally, "dirty to death"Nǐ de fángjiān zāng sǐ le! Your room is absolutely filthy!
  • 死了Literally, "noisy to death"Chǎo sǐ le! It's so terribly noisy!
  • 这里 的 东西 死了Literally, "expensive to death"Zhèlǐ de dōngxi guì sǐ le! The things here are criminally expensive!
  • 我们 都 死了Literally, "anxious to death"Wǒmen dōu sǐ le! We are all so terribly anxious!
  • 这个 孩子 死了Literally, "annoying to death"Zhège háizi fán sǐ le! This kid is so freaking annoying!

None of these sentences actually refers to someone dying. Instead the word 死了 (sǐ le) and the structure is simply used to intensify an adjective. Notice how these are awkward to translate into English; the translations above took a number of different angles to create the same impact as -死了 (sǐ le) does in Chinese. You might say that -死了 (sǐ le) is much more versatile in Chinese than the English expression "to death."

For Positive Connotations

Traditionally, -死了 (sǐ le) is only for adjectives with negative connotations, while positive connotations use a similar degree complement, 极了 (jí le). In recent years, however, it's become quite popular to also use -死了 (sǐ le) with positive adjectives:

  • 哇,可爱 死了Literally, "cute to death"Wā, kě'ài sǐ le! OMG, adorbs!
  • 漂亮 死了Literally, "pretty to death"Piàoliang sǐ le! Drop-dead gorgeous!
  • 这 个 蛋糕 好吃 死了Literally, "delicious to death"Zhège dàngāo hǎochī sǐ le! This cake is to die for!

See also

Sources and further reading