Mandarin Grammar

Use of " 是不是 shì bú shì "

Learning Objectives


Learn three ways to make a sentence using " 是不是 shì bú shì ":


  • Put " 是不是 shì bú shì " at the end of a sentence


  • Put " 是不是 shì bú shì " after a subject


  • Put " 是不是 shì bú shì " in front of a subject


Learning Video

Additional Notes

The use of "是不是 shì bú shì " in a sentence is similar to the English "QUESTION TAG", literally in English, meaning "Yes or No".


"是不是 shì bú shì" is often used in a sentence for three purposes:


First, it is used to to verify information or ask for confirmation.


Second, to show surprise in a negative way in order to express unbelievable things.


Third, to ask for help in a polite, indirect and modest way.


Having known the purposes of using "是不是 shì bú shì", we learn how to use it to make a sentence.


Let us see a simple scenario.


On a rainy day, a boy does not bring with an umbrella, her classmate sees him. Actually, she knows her classmate brings with no umbrella, she can say,

你没带雨伞。

nǐ méi dài yǔ sǎn。

You don’t bring an umbrella.


However, for the purpose of offering help in a polite manner, you might find it she says

你没带雨伞,是不是?

nǐ méi dài yǔ sǎn , shì bú shì ?

You don’t bring an umbrella, do you?


There are three ways to make a sentence using "是不是 shì bú shì".


1. Put “是不是 shì bú shì” at the end of a sentence:

你没带雨伞,是不是 ?

nǐ méi dài yǔ sǎn , shì bú shì ?


2. Put “是不是 shì bú shì” after a subject:

是不是没带雨伞?

shì bú shì méi dài yǔ sǎn ?


3. Put “是不是 shì bú shì” in front of a subject:

是不昰你没带雨伞?

shì bú shì nǐ méi dài yǔ sǎn?


Let’s see more examples:

是不是明天去中国?

shì bú shì míng tiān qù zhōng guó ?

Are you going to China tomorrow, aren't you?


是不是她昨天来过?

shì bú shì tā zuó tiān lái guò ?

Did she come here yesterday, didn't you?


电影八点开始,是不是?

diàn yǐng bā diǎn kāi shǐ , shì bú shì ?

The film starts at eight, doesn’t it?



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