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We know from question #17 that she is pretty. But now we want to know about her personality and we're asking, "What is she like?" Here is the question and answer:
We first saw the phrase 怎么样(zěnmeyàng) back in question #16, “How are you doing?” As you can see now, we’re getting a lot of mileage out of it. It’s useful because it works in a lot of basic patterns. But perhaps more importantly, it gives your language ability some depth. You no longer have to simply spell out the details of your life in objects (nouns) and actions (verbs). Now you can use 怎么样(zěnmeyàng) get to the details about those objects and actions. You can also express your thoughts and opinions. That’s deep stuff. This lesson gets you to that next level. Let’s take a look.
The character 她(tā) means, “she.” The particle
的(de) has no meaning by itself. When you combine
的(de) with a person’s name or a pronoun it makes that noun or pronoun possessive. So
她的(tāde) means, “her.” Next is the word
性格(xìnggé). The character
性(xìng) means “character” “disposition” or “temperament.” The character
格(gé) means “standard” or “style.” So you can see that together
性格(xìnggé) is pretty close to the English, “personality” “disposition” or “temperament.” Finally we come back to
怎么样(zěnmeyàng). We took a detailed look at
怎么样(zěnmeyàng) back in question #16 so you can
go back and check it out if you are curious about the individual characters. But in this context it is easiest to just translate
怎么样(zěnmeyàng) as “how.” All together the literal translation is, “Her personality how?” Now let’s check out the answer.
The answer gives the information you’d expect (a subject and an adjective to describe it) but Chinese is unique when it comes to adjectives. We start out with 她(tā) which means “she.” The next word is
很(hěn) which means “very.” But what makes Chinese different is that it doesn’t use a form of the word “to be” with adjectives. For example, in English you might say, “She
is friendly” so you would expect the Chinese translation to be 她是友好(Tā
shì yóuhǎo). THIS IS NOT CORRECT. Chinese doesn’t use the verb 是(shì) with adjectives in this grammar pattern. The final word is
友好(yóuhǎo). The character
友(yóu) means, “friend” or “friendly”and the character
好(hǎo) means, “good” so it is easy to see how
友好(yóuhǎo) matches up with “friendly” in English.
You can replace 友好(yóuhǎo)in the answer with anyone of the adjectives below to describe a person’s physical traits.
和气－Héqì – nice, kind
吝啬－Lìnsè – mean
外向－Wàixiàng – outgoing
害羞－Hàixiū – shy
矜持－Jīnchí – reserved
平静－Píngjìng – calm
懒惰－Lǎnduò – lazy
勤奋－Qínfèn – hardworking
聪明－Cōngmíng – smart, clever
笨－Bèn – stupid
严－Yán – strict
随和－Suíhe – easy going
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