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Lesson Transcript

Canaan: Hello and welcome back to chineseclass101.com, the fastest, easiest and most enjoyable way to learn Chinese. My name is Canaan and I am here in the studio with
Jane: 嗨,大家好。我是Jane。 (hài , dàjiā hǎo. Wǒ shì Jane.) And thanks again for being here with us for this Absolute Beginner series, season 3, lesson 13.
Canaan: Do these Chinese clothes make me look fat.
Jane: I like today’s lesson.
Canaan: Because it’s about clothes?
Jane: Yeah about shopping for clothes and trying out clothes and asking for advice.
Canaan: I hate shopping especially with girls.
Jane: Never mind. You still have to go anyway.
Canaan: Anyway, today’s conversation takes place in a shopping mall.
Jane: And it is between two friends. Let’s not make it boyfriend and girlfriend.
Canaan: And since they are friends, they are speaking in casual Mandarin.
Jane: Let’s go to the dialogue. I can’t wait for today’s lesson.
Canaan: All right but before we go, hold on we need to remind our users again about our online flashcard tool available to our premium learners.
Jane: And it is a great way to review all the vocabularies you’ve learned with us.
Canaan: Right and while you are there, check out the many other great learning tools we provided. It’s much better than going shopping with your girlfriend, believe me.
Jane: Well equally good. Okay let’s go to the dialogue. What a pleasant talk between our listeners!
这件衣服好看吗?(Zhè jiàn yīfu hǎokàn ma?)
大不大?(Dà bù dà?)
不太大。正好。(Bùtàidà. Zhènghǎo)
Canaan: And now with the English translation.
这件衣服好看吗?(Zhè jiàn yīfú hǎokàn ma?)
Does this piece of clothing look good?
大不大?(Dà bù dà?)
Is it too big?
不太大。正好。(Bù tài dà. Zhènghǎo.)
No, it's just right.
Canaan: Yeah if only all such conversations could go so smoothly.
Jane: Anyway Canaan, do you find sometimes it’s hard to find the right sized clothes in China especially for westerners?
Canaan: Definitely. Back in the states, I buy medium sizes but over here, I am a triple extra large.
Jane: Well even for me, I can tell you, since I put on weight recently, shopping is not as much fun as it used to be.
Canaan: Oh please, are you kidding, you….
Jane: True. A lot of clothes I like are simply just too small for me now.
Canaan: Okay. I don’t believe it but I am not going to argue with you.
Jane: Anyway our vocabularies today are full of useful words that you can use when you try on any clothes.
Canaan: Awesome. Let’s take a look.
Jane: 衣服 (yīfu)
Canaan: Clothes.
Jane: 好看 (hǎokàn)
Canaan: Good looking.
Jane: 好看 好看 (Hǎokàn hǎokàn)
Jane: 西服 (xīfú)
Canaan: Suit.
Jane: 西服 西服(Xīfú xīfú)
Jane: 正好 (zhènghǎo)
Canaan: Just right.
Jane: 正好 正好(Zhènghǎo zhènghǎo)
Jane: 大 (dà)
Canaan: Big.
Jane: 大 大(Dàdà)
Jane: 小 (xiǎo)
Canaan: Small.
Jane: 小 小 (Xiǎo xiǎo)
Jane: 肥 (féi)
Canaan: Fat, baggy.
Jane: 肥 肥 (Féi féi)
Jane: 瘦 (shòu)
Canaan: Thin, tight.
Jane: 瘦 瘦 (Shòu shòu)
Canaan: Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Jane: And the first word is 衣服 (yīfu)
Canaan: Clothing.
Jane: 衣服 yīfu 这件衣服太旧了。(zhè jiàn yīfu tài jiù le .)
Canaan: This piece of clothing is too old.
Jane: 这件衣服太旧了。(zhè jiàn yīfu tài jiù le .)
Canaan: And the next time is a more specific piece of clothing.
Jane: 西服 (xīfú)
Canaan: Suit.
Jane: 西服 (xīfú)
Canaan: Mainly just refers to the jacket.
Jane: 他不爱穿西服。(Tā bú ài chuān Xīfú .)
Canaan: He doesn’t like wearing suits.
Jane: 他不爱穿西服。(Tā bú ài chuān Xīfú .)
Canaan: Now here the verb 穿 (chuān) can be used for wearing shoes, socks, trousers or clothes but not for accessories like hats, gloves or glasses.
Jane: And 不爱 (bú ài) here is just another way of saying 不喜欢 (bù xǐhuān)
Canaan: Right. Now the next word is a very useful word if you tend to find clothing in China to be a bit small.
Jane: 瘦 (shòu)
Canaan: Thin.
Jane: 瘦 (shòu)
Canaan: So this word can be used to describe pants or jackets being too small.
Jane: 这上衣点瘦。(zhè shàngyī yǒudiǎn shòu .)
Canaan: This shirt is a little too tight.
Jane: 这上衣有点瘦。(zhè shàngyī yǒudiǎn shòu .)
Canaan: Don’t forget. You can also use this word to describe a person’s being thin.
Jane: 你瘦了。(nǐ shòule .)
Canaan: You’ve gotten thinner.
Jane: 你瘦了。(nǐ shòule .)
Canaan: Now the next word is its direct antonym.
Jane: 肥 (féi)
Canaan: Baggy literally fat.
Jane: 肥 (féi)
Canaan: So this is the word you use to describe clothing is just too loose, just too big in size.
Jane: 这裤子太肥了。(zhè kùzi tài féile .)
Canaan: This pair of trousers is a bit too baggy.
Jane: 这裤子太肥了。(zhè kùzi tài féile .)
Canaan: Now this word can also be used to describe someone who is overweight but it carries a derogatory connotation. So you avoid using it.
Jane: But the word 胖 (pàng) is okay. It also means fat but kind of neutral.
Canaan: Right in olden times when food was hard to come by in China, if you were a little bit rounder than most people, it meant that you had money. So it was a good word. However the word 胖 (pàng) can’t be used to describe clothes.
Jane: 是的。(shì de .)
Canaan: Now here we have another pair of adjectives.
Jane: 大 (dà) and 小 (xiǎo)
Canaan: Big and small with which you should probably be pretty familiar already. Now they can also be used to describe clothes but usually they are referred directly to the size, that is the marked size.
Jane: 号儿 (hàor)
Canaan: Size.
Jane: 这号儿有点大。(zhè hàor yǒudiǎn dà.)
Canaan: The size is a bit big.
Jane: 这号儿有点大。(zhè hàor yǒudiǎn dà.)
Canaan: Now the last word for today is my favorite one because it solves all problems.
Jane: 正好 (zhènghǎo)
Canaan: Just right.
Jane: 正好 (zhènghǎo.) 这件衣服不大不小,正好。(zhè jiàn yīfu bú
dà bù xiǎo , zhènghǎo .)
Canaan: This piece of clothing is neither too big nor too small, it’s just right.
Jane: 这件衣服不大不小,正好。(zhè jiàn yīfu bú
dà bù xiǎo , zhènghǎo .) I can see why you like this word.
Canaan: It saves time and money. Right, now we’ve got a relatively easy vocabulary so far and our grammar point is also not that difficult.
Jane: Another very useful pattern.

Lesson focus

Canaan: Let’s take a look. It’s grammar time. Now today, we are going to talk to you about a simple pattern that can be used to form simple questions.
Jane: Such as in our dialogue 大不大?(dà bù dà)
Canaan: Which is an adjective plus the word 不 (bù) and then the adjective repeated.
Jane: Or you can just remember it as the positive form of the adjective and the negative form of adjective together.
Canaan: Meaning big or not big like in our dialogue.
Jane: And it just became a simple question.
Canaan: I told you that’s easy. So can we have some examples?
Jane: 这件衣服肥不肥?(zhè jiàn yīfu féi bù féi ?)
Canaan: Is this piece of clothing too baggy or not?
Jane: 这件衣服肥不肥?(zhè jiàn yīfu féi bù féi ?) 那个女的好看不好看?(nà ge nǚ de hǎokàn bù lún zhī liàn kàn ?)
Canaan: Is that woman good looking or not.
Jane: 那个女的好看不好看?(nà ge nǚ de hǎokàn bù lún zhī liàn kàn ?)
Canaan: And in this situation, if you are the boyfriend, you want to choose between being honest and being polite.
Jane: Oh Canaan, you are so experienced.
Canaan: Ah common sense.
Jane: And this pattern can also be used with verbs.
Canaan: In exactly the same way just by changing the adjectives to verbs.
Jane: 是的。(shì de .) 你吃不吃?(nǐ chī bù chī ?)
Canaan: Will you eat or not.
Jane: 你吃不吃?(nǐ chī bù chī ?)
Canaan: Well, what about two character verbs?
Jane: The same. 你回家不回家?(nǐ huíjiā bù huíjiā ?)
Canaan: Are you going home or not.
Jane: 你回家不回家?(nǐ huíjiā bù huíjiā ?)
Canaan: But with the negative form of verbs, you can also use the 没 (méi) version as well, right?
Jane: 是的。(shì de .) So the last example could also be 你回家没回家?(nǐ huíjiā méi huíjiā ?)
Canaan: Did you go home or not.
Jane: 你回家没回家?(nǐ huíjiā méi huíjiā ?)
Canaan: So this is a question sentence that does not end in a question word 吗 (ma)
Jane: Let’s look at another example with adjective 我老不老?(Wǒ lǎo bù lǎo ?)
Canaan: Am I old?
Jane: 我老不老?(Wǒ lǎo bù lǎo ?)
Canaan: Why do women ask this question all the time?
Jane: Well next time you can say 你烦不烦?(nǐ fán bu fán ?)
Canaan: Are you annoying or not?
Jane: 你烦不烦?(nǐ fán bu fán ?)
Canaan: A rhetorical question meaning, you are so annoying sort of like 你真烦 (nǐ zhēn fán.) All right, that’s pretty easy grammar point I think.


Jane: Very useful pattern to ask a question.
Canaan: Yeah just the positive and negative forms of adjectives or verbs put right together. Now if you think you missed anything in today’s lesson, just remember to log on to our online premium learning center and check out our premium PDF files with a transcript of the podcast.
Jane: 是的。(shì de .) Or you can just write to us at contactus@chineseclass101.com
Canaan: We’d love to hear from you. Now from Beijing, this is Canaan.
Jane: 我是Jane (Wǒ shì) Jane.
Canaan: Bye bye.
Jane: 再见。(zàijiàn .)


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Monday at 6:30 pm
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What do you think of Chinese people's fashion sense?

Thursday at 4:40 pm
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Hi Alexis 亚历克西,

Good question!

Although the typical pronunciation is zhè, 这 is sometimes pronounced zhèi when used before a measure word (in this case, 件 jiàn). It is especially common in Beijing. :wink:


Team ChineseClass101.com

Alexis 亚历克西 (Yà lì kè xī)
Friday at 7:30 pm
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Hello again.

I have another question about the extended vocabulary. In the sentences with Zhè jiàn such as 这件西服太大了。

The native speaker pronounces the zhe as zhei every time. I checked the pinyin chart. Is that just a local dialect. Should it be pronounced as zhe or zhei. 谢谢您!

Monday at 11:00 am
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@Ma An,

Is it looks good or not is 好看吗(hǎokàn ma) in Chinese. 好 means good, 看 means to look, so 好看吗 literately means is it good to look.

If you are tying one, you can just ask 好看吗 to get opinions. You can also add 这件(zhè jiàn) and 那件(nà jiàn) in front of it. 这件 means this piece and 那件 means that piece.


Ma An
Saturday at 11:19 pm
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Hello Kenaan and Jane,

Now we know how to say if a cloth is big or small but one essential part of shopping for clothes is to know if it is looks good or not.:smile:

So would you please tell us how to say that in a couple of examples.

Thank you