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Comparing "shihe" and "heshi"

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Mixing up the order of the two syllables in a word is something most learners do. This makes the pair 适合 (shìhé) and 合适 (héshì) annoying, to say the least. They mean more or less the same thing, but the former is a verb, while the latter is an adjective.

The Verb 适合

适合 is a verb meaning "to suit," and must take an object.


Subj. + 适合 + Obj.


  • 这 个 工作 很 适合 我。This job really suits me.
  • 你 的 中文 名字 真 适合 你!Your Chinese name suits you well.
  • 这 部 电影 不 适合 儿童 看。This translation is a little awkward in English, but we're trying to avoid using the word "suitable," which is an adjective.This movie does not suit children (to watch).

The Adjective 合适

合适 is an adjective meaning "suitable or appropriate," and is used in the same way as other adjectives.


Subj. + Adv. + 合适


  • iPad 虽然 好 用,但是 对 我 来 说 价格 不 太 合适Although iPads are fun to use, I think the price is not suitable.
  • 在 办公室 里 抽烟 有 点 不 合适 吧。Inside the office, smoking is not suitable.
  • 他 就是 最 合适 的,他 完全 符合 我们 的 招聘 要求。He is very suitable. He completely matches the advertised demands.

Don't Confuse the Two

We cannot say:

  • 这 个 合适 我 。This would be treating 合适 like a verb, when it's an adjective)
  • 这 个 鞋 码 很 适合This would be treating 适合 like an adjective, when it's a verb)

We can say:

  • 这 个 适合 我 。It's a verb!)
  • 这 个 鞋 码 很 合适It's an adjective!)

Example Dialog

  • A:你 知道 穿 什么 衣服 最 适合 参加 这 个 聚会 吗?Do you know what kind of clothes would suit this party?
  • B:我 不 知道。但是 穿 牛仔裤 一定 不 合适I don't know, but wearing jeans is definitely not suitable.

See Also

Sources and further reading