Difference between revisions of "Expressing "not… but…" with "er shi""

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{{Grammar Box}}
#REDIRECT[[Using "er" to explain contrasting ideas]]
Sometimes you want to explain that an object, concept, or event isn't one thing, but in fact a different thing. 不是⋯⋯, (而)是⋯⋯ (bùshì..., (ér)shì...) is the perfect structure to convey that in Chinese. This is a useful phrase to use in arguments to overturn a point of view and state the opposite.
== Structure ==
An easy way to remember this pattern is that it roughly corresponds to the English, "Something is not X, it's Y."
<div class="jiegou">
Subj. + 不是⋯⋯ ,(而)是⋯⋯
== Examples ==
<div class="liju">
*我 觉得 这 <em>不 是</em> 麻烦,<em>而 是</em> 机会 。<span class="pinyin">Wǒ juéde zhè <em>bùshì</em> máfan, <em>érshì</em> jīhuì.</span><span class="trans">I don't think it's a hassle. I think it's an opportunity.</span>
*她 <em>不 是</em> 不 想 买 ,<em>而 是</em> 买不起 。<span class="pinyin">Tā <em>bù shì</em> bù xiǎng mǎi, <em>ér shì</em> mǎi bu qǐ.</span><span class="trans">It's not that she doesn't want to buy it, it's that she can't afford it.</span>
*我 没 说 <em>不 是</em>  想 骗 你 ,<em>而 是</em> 怕 你 不 高兴 。<span class="pinyin">Wǒ méi shuō <em>bù shì</em> xiǎng piàn nǐ, <em>ér shì</em> pà nǐ bù gāoxìng.</span><span class="trans">The reason I didn't tell you isn't that I wanted to lie to you; it's that I was afraid you would be upset.</span>
*我 <em>不 是</em> 八卦 ,<em>是</em> 关心 你 。<span class="pinyin">Wǒ <em>bù shì</em> bāguà, <em>shì</em> guānxīn nǐ.</span><span class="trans">I'm not gossiping. I'm concerned about you.</span>
*我 <em>不 是</em> 不 想 帮 你 ,<em>而 是</em> 没有 能力 帮 你 。<span class="pinyin">Wǒ <em>bù shì</em> bù xiǎng bāng nǐ, <em>ér shì</em> méiyǒu nénglì bāng nǐ.</span><span class="trans">It's not that I don't want to help you, it's that I have no ability to help you.</span>
*重要 的 <em>不是</em> 你 的 外表 ,<em>而是</em> 你 的 内心 。<span class="pinyin">Zhòngyào de <em>bù shì</em> nǐ de wàibiǎo, <em>ér shì</em> nǐ de nèixīn.</span><span class="trans">What's important is not how you look on the outside, but rather what's on the inside.</span>
*生活 中 <em>不是</em> 缺少 美 ,<em>而是</em> 缺少 发现 美 的 眼睛 。<span class="pinyin">Shēnghuó zhōng <em>bù shì</em> quēshǎo měi, <em>ér shì</em> quēshǎo fāxiàn měi de yǎnjing.</span><span class="trans">It's not that life is lacking in beauty, but rather that we lack eyes that discover it.</span>
You can also put 不是 in the second half. Note that 而 can't be used in this case.
<div class="jiegou">
Subj. + 是⋯⋯ ,不是⋯⋯
Some examples:
<div class="liju">
*我们 <em>是</em> 来 办事 的 ,<em>不是</em> 来 玩 的 。<span class="pinyin">Wǒmen  <em>shì</em> lái bànshì de, <em>bù shì</em> lái wán de.</span><span class="trans">We're here to do our job, not to have fun.</span>
*你 这样 做 <em>是</em> 害 他 ,<em>不是</em> 帮 他 。<span class="pinyin">Nǐ zhèyàng zuò <em>shì</em> hài tā, <em>bù shì</em> bāng tā.</span><span class="trans">By doing this you were hurting him, not helping him.</span>
*不好意思 ,我 <em>是</em> 不 小心 ,<em>不是</em> 故意 的 。<span class="pinyin">Bù hǎoyìsi, wǒ <em>shì</em> bù xiǎoxīn, <em>bù shì</em> gùyì de.</span><span class="trans">I'm sorry. It was an accident. It wasn't on purpose.</span>
== See also ==
*[["On the contrary" with "fan'er"]]
*[[Conceding a point with "shi"]]
== Sources  and further reading ==
=== Books ===
{{Source|Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 1|277}}
{{Source|New Practical Chinese Reader 4 (新实用汉语课本4)|20}}
{{Source|40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课下册)|516}}
[[Category:B1 grammar points]]
{{Basic Grammar|不是|B1|Subj. + 不是⋯⋯ ,(而)是⋯⋯|我觉得 这 <em>不是</em> 麻烦 ,<em>而是</em> 机会 。|grammar point|ASGT9WYR}}
{{Rel char|而是}}
{{Rel char|是}}
{{Similar|"On the Contrary" with "fan'er"}}
{{Similar|Conceding a point with "shi"}}
{{Structure|Basic/Simple Sentence Patterns}}
{{Used for|Giving alternatives}}
{{Used for|Contrasting}}
{{Used for|Differentiating}}

Latest revision as of 02:54, 26 October 2018