Expressing the only two possibilities
To describe a situation as being one of only two possibilities, you can use the structure: "不是⋯⋯就是⋯⋯" (búshi...jiùshì...)
不是 + A，就是 + B
This is like saying "if it's not A, then it's B" in English. A and B can be verbs, adjectives or nouns.
- 他 整天 不 是 打游戏 就 是 睡觉。All day, if he's not playing games, he's sleeping.
- 他们 约会 不是 去 咖啡馆 就是 去 电影院。When they go on dates, if it's not to a coffee shop, then it's to the movie theater.
- 我 买 的 衣服 不是 大 就是 小，都 不 能 穿。The clothes that I bought are either too big or too small, I can't wear any of them.
- 她 穿 的 衣服 不是 LV 就是 Gucci！If the clothes that she wears aren't Louis Vuitton, then they're Gucci!
- "Not… but rather…" with "er shi"
- Expressing "either ... or ..." with "yaome"
- Providing two options with double "huozhe"
Sources and further reading
- New Practical Chinese Reader 4 (新实用汉语课本4) (pp. 84) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy