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Negation of "you" with "mei"

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The verb 有 (yǒu) is negated differently from ordinary verbs. Rather than placing 不 (bù) before it as with other verbs, you must use 没 (méi) to negate the verb 有 (yǒu).

Structure

Nearly all verbs can be negated with 不 (bù). The verb 有 (yǒu) is an important exception to this rule, and must be negated with 没 (méi).

没 + 有 (+ Obj.)

Note: because of the special relationship between 没 (méi) and 有 (yǒu), the pinyin for 没有 is normally written without a space: "méiyǒu."

Examples

  • 没有 问题。 méiyǒu wèntí.I don't have any questions.
  • 我们 现在 没有 钱。Wǒmen xiànzài méiyǒu qián. We don't have money now.
  • 没有 工作 吗? méiyǒu gōngzuò ma? Does he not have a job?
  • 他们 没有 爸爸 妈妈 。Tāmen méiyǒu bàba māma.They don't have parents.
  • 我们 在 北京 没有 房子。Wǒmen zài Běijīng méiyǒu fángzi. We don't have a house in Beijing.
  • 你 爸爸 没有 手机 吗?Nǐ bàba méiyǒu shǒujī ma? Does your dad not have a cell phone?
  • 你们 在 上海 没有 朋友 吗?Nǐmen zài Shànghǎi méiyǒu péngyou ma?Do you not have friends in Shanghai?
  • 我 的 老师 现在 没有 男朋友。 Wǒ de lǎoshī xiànzài méiyǒu nánpéngyou.My teacher doesn't have a boyfriend now.
  • 他们 都 没有 电脑 吗?Tāmen dōu méiyǒu diànnǎo ma?Do they all not have computers?
  • 这 个 周末 你们 都 没有 时间 吗?Zhège zhōumò nǐmen dōu méiyǒu shíjiān ma?Do you all not have time this weekend?

Remember that trying to negate 有 (yǒu) with 不 (bù) is a classic mistake that many people make in the early stages of studying Chinese:

  • 车。Never use 不 with 有! yǒu chē.
  • 车。Always use 没 with 有.méiyǒu chē.I don't have a car.

Never use 不 (bù) with 有 (yǒu).

The Short Form of 没有 (méiyǒu) Is 没 (méi)

没有 (méiyǒu) can be shortened to 没 (méi) without altering its meaning.

  • 钱。 méi qián.I don't have money.
  • 男朋友 吗? méi nánpéngyou ma?Do you not have a boyfriend?
  • 你们 车 吗? Nǐmen méi chē ma?You don't have a car?
  • 老板 现在 时间。 Lǎobǎn xiànzài méi shíjiān.The boss doesn't have time right now.
  • 工作,我 老公 也 工作。 méi gōngzuò, wǒ lǎogōng yě méi gōngzuò.I don't have a job. My husband doesn't have a job either.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books

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