In a video I recently watched, the narrator introduced an idea by saying

是不, ...

Can someone tell me what the best way is to understand this for an English speaker?


Edit: here is one instance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsFGZ1dyJnc

At 35 seconds, in accord with the subtitles, the narrator says:

是不,一下車我們就..., which is translated, "That's why, as soon as we got out of the car,..."

So in this case I take it to mean, "for this reason,..." "that's why...," or the like.

Edit 2: Correction, it is 这.

  • Could you please give some sentence you've heard?
    – pjhades
    Dec 4, 2014 at 22:55
  • Yes I wil listen to video again and see if I can find it.
    – daniel
    Dec 5, 2014 at 4:47
  • 1
    If you've heard it at the beginning of a sentence, it is more likely to be 是故 not 是不. It is a term used in classical Chinese literature and highly educated people still use it today occasionally, meaning 因此, 所以(therefore).
    – AKFish
    Dec 5, 2014 at 7:31
  • 1
    是不 usually follows the sentence. But if it's intended to mean “told you”, then it's totally natural to precede the sentence.
    – Yang Muye
    Dec 7, 2014 at 6:18
  • @PJ.Hades: I have added a source. There are many instances in this series of the same usage and similar translation.
    – daniel
    Mar 29, 2015 at 9:04

4 Answers 4


I checked the video at 35", it's 这不, not 是不. I don't think there is 是不 to start sentences with.

Basically, you can understand 这不 as a shortened version of 这不是嘛(isn't it [so]) which is rhetorical and means 是这样的(it is [so]).

In speaking, I think its function is just something to get listeners attention by marking the start of a point or narration. I don't know any expression in English that is quite the same as 这不. But I think there are some possible flexible translations:

这不, 一下车我们就直奔XXX

So, we went straight to XXX after getting off our cars.

Here it can be translated to ‘so‘, or 'that's why' (like they did in the subtitle of the video) because the content before that was saying the city had a long history, considering which so they went to the museum first. However, 这不 doesn't really indicate causality in general, it's just a casual piece of word to connect sentences which can be interpreted in many ways. Some times it would be better translated as 'now' or 'here'. Examples:

A: 他怎么还没到?

Where is he (literal: Why hasn't he arrived?)

B: 他这不来了么

(Now/look) Here he comes.


I don't think it's standard Mandarine, it feels more a northern (Beijing/Hebei at least) dialect to me. The whole video is narrated in such style to be more approachable, I guess.

  • Only correct answer among the lot.
    – Mou某
    Mar 29, 2015 at 9:49
  • Yep, exactly. Thanks for the effort. I also think you are right about the slightly northern dialect, but that's way beyond my discernment at this point.
    – daniel
    Mar 29, 2015 at 10:24

isn't it so? (That something is something.)

  • 1
    It seems to me all the answers are close to this. Do you see this as short for "是不是? Dec 5, 2014 at 5:44

Need more context of your question.

In my understanding, “是不” can be used at the end of a Interrogative sentence.

Ex: 她长得很美,是不? She is beautiful, isn't she?


Must have been 是不是 I think.


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