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Welcome to Can Do Chinese by ChineseClass101.com.
嗨大家好,我是殷如. (Hài dà jiā hǎo, Wǒ shì Yīnrú.)
"Hi everyone, my name is Yinru."
In this lesson, we’ll talk about the top 10 adjectives to describe people in Chinese, in particular, the adjectives we use to describe peoples’ physical characteristics.
Let’s get started!
Okay. The first adjective is 高 (gāo).
高 (gāo)
高 (gāo) means “tall”.
高 (gāo)
Next one, 矮 (ǎi).
矮 (ǎi) means “short”.
矮 (ǎi)
So, 高 (gāo), 矮 (ǎi), right?
And next, we have also a pair of opposites, which is the other way, 胖 (pàng).
胖 (pàng) “fat”
And 瘦 (shòu) “thin” or “skinny”.
胖 (pàng)
瘦 (shòu)
Okay.
胖 (pàng) and 瘦 (shòu).
Next.
Our next pair is about age.
年轻 (nián qīng)
年 (nián) means “year”.
轻 (qīng) means “light”.
So, 年轻 (nián qīng) literally is “year light”.
So, once a year has still light, they’re still young.
年轻 (nián qīng)
Now, the opposite of 年轻 (nián qīng) is 老 (lǎo).
老 (lǎo) “old”
So, when talking about or describing people, we would often say, oh he or she is good looking. So, in this case, we have a few for you to choose from.
The first one is 漂亮 (piào liang).
漂亮 (piào liang)
漂亮 (piào liang) is almost exclusively used on women or girls, “pretty”, okay?
This also has two characters. First one 漂 (piào), just means “pretty” and the second one, 亮 (liang) means “bright”. So when someone pretty that walks in the room, it’s like it brightens up the room.
漂亮 (piào liang)
漂亮 (piào liang)
And notice when 亮 (liang) is used with 漂 (piào) to make the word a word, the 亮 (liang) is in the neutral, unstressed tone.
漂亮 (piào liang)
漂亮 (piào liang)
Okay, this is on female or on girls or women.
What about boys or men?
In this case, we would say 帅 (shuài).
帅 (shuài) “handsome”
帅 (shuài)
And there are also times, someone is not just pretty, but also cute.
How do you say “cute” in Chinese?
可爱 (kě ài)
Now, the first character 可 (kě), in this case, means “worth” or “able to”, 可 (kě).
The second one 爱 (ài) means “liked” or “loved”, so 可爱 (kě ài) together literally is “worth being loved” or “worth loving on”, in other words, “adorable, cute, lovely” 可爱 (kě ài). All right.
So, the opposite of all these, a very general word is 难看 (nán kàn).
难看 (nán kàn) means “bad looking” or “ugly”.
难 (nán), the first character means “difficult”, 难 (nán).
看 (kàn), the second one, it’s a verb meaning “to look at” or “see”.
So, 难看 (nán kàn) literally is “difficult to look at”.
So when something is difficult for you to look at, for you to lay eyes on, it definitely is ugly or bad looking, 难看 (nán kàn). All right.
Now, here’s a bonus word for you. Here is also an adjective. In Chinese, 好 (hǎo) means “good”, all right? So, we can use 好 (hǎo) with 看 (kàn), and together, they are a word meaning 好 看 (hǎokàn), means “good looking” which is the very opposite of 难看 (nán kàn).
好 看 (hǎokàn)
漂亮 (piào liang)
帅 (shuài)
可爱 (kě ài)
Also, 好 看 (hǎokàn).
漂亮 (piào liang), 帅 (shuài), 可爱 (kě ài) are all “good looking”.
So, now, let’s go over all the adjectives one more time.
高 (gāo)
矮 (ǎi)
胖 (pàng)
瘦 (shòu)
年轻 (nián qīng)
老 (lǎo)
漂亮 (piào liang)
帅 (shuài)
可爱 (kě ài)
难看 (nán kàn)
And 好 看 (hǎokàn)
Next, we’ll be looking at a dialogue between two friends. So, I will be reading it. When I’m reading, I want you to pay attention to the adjective. Find where the adjective is and how it is used in the dialogue. Ready?
那 是 我 弟 弟 (nà shì wǒ dìdì)
哦 他 很 高 (ó tā hěn gāo)
One more time, a bit slower.
那 是 我 弟 弟 (nà shì wǒ dìdì)
哦 他 很 高 (ó tā hěn gāo)
Did you find where the adjective is?
Right here, it is 高 (gāo) which means “tall” and it is used in this sentence, 他 很 高 (tā hěn gāo).
他 很 高 (tā hěn gāo)
The next, let’s find out what this dialogue means together.
First line:
那 是 我 弟 弟 (nà shì wǒ dìdì) “That is my younger brother.”
那 是 我 弟 弟 (nà shì wǒ dìdì) means “That’s my younger brother.”
那 是 我 弟 弟 (nà shì wǒ dìdì)
Okay.
And the second line is:
哦 他 很 高 (ó tā hěn gāo)
It means, “Oh, he is tall.”
哦 他 很 高 (ó tā hěn gāo)
All right. What if 我 弟 弟 (wǒ dìdì) is “thin” or “skinny”, and how do you describe him?
In this case, you would say, 他很瘦 (tā hěn shòu).
Remember, 瘦 (shòu) is “thin”.
他很瘦 (tā hěn shòu)
Now, what if we’re talking about a little girl who is cute?
Where is cute? 可爱 (kě ài) and in this case, we would say 她很可爱 (tā hěn kě'ài).
她很可爱 (tā hěn kě'ài)
You know, in Chinese, “he” and “she”, they have the same pronunciation, but the characters look a bit different. The “she” has a female radical, so, but they have the same pronunciation, so it could be confusing sometimes.
她很可爱 (tā hěn kě'ài) means “She is cute.”
It looks like we’ve got a pattern here. You’re right!
Now, the pattern to describe the people is 他 (tā) / 她 (tā) + 很 (hěn) + [adjective]. It means he/she + very + [adjective]. All right.
So, this 很 (hěn) could be a little confusing here because instead of a “be” word like in English, we don’t have “is”. We don’t use 是 (shì), but we use 很 (hěn), so it’s 她很 + 怎么样 (tā hěn zěnmeyàng). It does not necessarily focus on the “very” part, so 他 很 高 (tā hěn gāo) doesn’t necessarily mean, “He’s very tall.” But instead, we focus more on the adjective. It’s like, “He is tall.” So, just remember, or you can think of 很 (hěn) as a word that connects or links the noun with the adjective, just like “be”, but we don’t use “be”. We use “very” 很 (hěn).
So again, the pattern is 他 (tā) + 很 (hěn) + [adjective].
他 (tā) + 很 (hěn) and with all the adjectives you can choose from that we learned today. You can make 10 or more sentences.
Also, one more thing to mention is that you get more advanced in Chinese learning, you will find, besides 很 (hěn), there are other adverbs you can put here to link the noun with an adjective, but for now, for this lesson, we’ll stick with 很 (hěn).
Lastly, I have a little cultural lesson for you.
So, when you’re interacting with your Chinese friends, don’t get offended or upset if they tell you that you’ve gained weight or you look fat. Chinese people tend to be very blunt or brutally honest when it comes to commenting on people’s physical appearance. Just see it as a sign of good relationships and part of the culture.
Do you remember how to say “tall”?
高 (gāo)
And how to say “very”?
很 (hěn)
Do you remember how to say “he”?
他 (tā)
And do you remember how to say “He’s tall”?
他 很 高 (tā hěn gāo)
Do you remember how to say “she”?
她 (tā)
And how to say “short”?
矮 (ǎi)
Do you remember how to say “fat”?
胖 (pàng)
And how to say “thin”?
瘦 (shòu)
Do you remember how to say young?
年轻 (nián qīng)
And how to say “old”?
老 (lǎo)
Do you remember how to say “pretty”?
漂亮 (piàoliang)
And how to say “handsome”?
帅 (shuài)
Do you remember how to say “cute”?
可爱 (kěài)
And how to say “bad looking”?
难看 (nánkàn)
That’s it for this lesson. In this lesson, we’ve learned the 10 most common adjectives to describe people in Chinese. Thanks for watching! I’m Yinru and I’ll see you again on ChineseClass101.com.
再见 (zàijiàn)!

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ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 01:47 PM
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Hello Marion,


Thank you for your comment. The sentence is correct! 👍


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Marion
Monday at 02:05 AM
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她很漂 亮


Hello,

Here is my sentence.


Thank you for this new course


Marion

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Let's practice together in the comments!

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Monday at 01:33 PM
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Hello Mauricio A Solano,


Thank you for your comment. Yes this is a new course, we'll continue to add more lessons, stay tuned!


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