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On a particular forum is a banner reading:

此乃舊貼唯讀區

which I imagine is a highfalutin way of saying that this thread is read-only.

Now, 乃 has many senses in my dictionary. What is the sense of 乃 being used here? My best guess would be "only", in the sense that this page is "nothing more than" a read-only area.

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= This is, 舊貼 = old posts, 唯讀區 = read-only area. –  Stan Jul 23 '13 at 6:08
    
From what I could read from the sentence it means the word "is" as mentioned by Stan –  Yao Bo Lu Jul 23 '13 at 6:24
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3 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Here "乃" means "be". This sentence means "This area is for old posts, and these posts are read-only."

Next time, if you find "此乃" these two characters together or a noun+乃 together, "乃" properly means "be". For example:

此乃我的书.
This is my book.

意识乃是大脑的一种自然属性。
Consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.

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It should be emphasized that 乃 is an ancient expression in Chinese -- though it's occasionally used today, the whole sentence should be "of some old-style". To some extent, 此乃我的书 sounds a little funny/silly because 我的 is a modern expression. In a formal occasion, such a sentence will be criticized as 半文不白 (mixed style of classical and vernacular Chinese). However, compared with a single 乃, the compound verb 乃是 sounds a limited little more modern, so 意识乃是大脑的一种自然属性 is OK. –  Stan Jul 23 '13 at 10:27
    
Stan you should make your own answer. I'd upvote you :) –  deutschZuid Jul 23 '13 at 23:50
    
此乃我书, 的 is not required in the classical form. –  Question Overflow Jul 24 '13 at 4:57
    
@deutschZuid: such a complement to this answer would better be a comment so that visitors won't miss it. Earning reputations is fun, though :) –  Stan Jul 24 '13 at 9:41
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My suggestion is that you'd better have a Chinese dictionary when you learn it, for example <新华字典>. All the usual meaning will be presented with example. The 乃 in your example has the same meaning in the following example:吾乃常山赵子龙也from (三国演义).

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In your giving sentence, it means is (be)

but as a chinese ,this verb is hardly use in communicating or writing, this is a verb which uses in ancient chinese

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Disagree. 乃 is still very much in use in writing today. –  Question Overflow Jul 24 '13 at 4:59
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