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Conceding a point with "shi"

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When conceding a point, we often put emphasis on the point we are conceding, and in Chinese there is a way to do that with 是 (shì).

Structure

This pattern is often used in an argument or debate. It's usually indicating that the speaker is conceding a point, but they still have some reservations about the topic at hand. Don't worry, the examples will make this clear.

Adj. + 是 + Adj. , 但是 / 就是 ⋯⋯

Examples

  • 工作 忙 忙 ,但是 我 很 开心 。Gōngzuò máng shì máng, dànshì wǒ hěn kāixīn.I am busy at work, but I'm very happy with my job.
  • 这 件 衣服 好看 好看 ,但是 不 适合 我 。Zhè jiàn yīfu hǎokàn shì hǎokàn, dànshì bù shìhé wǒ.This piece of clothing looks good, but it doesn't look good on me.
  • 这里 的 环境 好 好 ,但是 交通 不太 方便 。Zhèlǐ de huánjìng hǎo shì hǎo, dànshì jiāotōng bù tài fāngbiàn.This environment is great, but the transportation is not very convenient.
  • 累 ,但是 很 值得 。Lèi shì lèi, dànshì hěn zhídé.It's tiring, but it's all worth it.
  • 难 ,但是 我 相信 我 能 做到 。Nán shì nán, dànshì wǒ xiāngxìn wǒ néng zuòdào.It is difficult, but I believe that I can do it.

When using 但是, the second clause can express positive experience or something satisfactory, as well as negative situations. However, when using 就是, the second clause needs to express something unsatisfactory.

  • 好吃 好吃 ,就是 不 太 健康 。Hǎochī shì hǎochī, jiùshì bù tài jiànkāng.It is tasty, but it's not very healthy.
  • 这个 东西 好 好 ,就是 太 贵 了 。Zhège dōngxi hǎo shì hǎo, jiùshì tài guì le.This thing is good, but it's too expensive.
  • 这个 学生 聪明 聪明 ,就是 不 太 努力 。Zhège xuéshēng cōngming shì cōngming, jiùshì bù tài nǔlì.This student may be smart, but he's not very hardworking.
  • 他 女朋友 漂亮 漂亮 ,就是 有点 矮 。Tā nǚpéngyou piàoliang shì piàoliang, jiùshì yǒudiǎn ǎi.His girlfriend is pretty, but she is a little short.
  • 这个 老师 教 得 好 好 ,就是 太 严格 。 Zhège lǎoshī jiāo de hǎo shì hǎo, jiùshì tài yángé.This teacher teaches very well; It's just she's too strict.

See also

Sources and further reading

Books