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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...)

Structure

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.

Examples

  • 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!

See also

Sources and further reading

Books