I was listening to one of my favorite Chinese songs, 口是心非 (duplicity) by 张雨生, and there's a line in the chorus that says

于是爱恨交错人消瘦 怕是怕这些苦没来由

a) what does x 是 x mean?

b) what does it mean in this context?

c) what are other similar examples using this structure?


  • reminder about X是X, Y是Y which of course does not apply to the present situation, 现代汉语词典 是^3 (5)'是'前后用相同的名词或动词,连用两个这样的格式,表示所说的桩事物互不相干,不能混淆:去年~去年,今年~今年,你当年年一个样哪|说~说,做~做,有意见也不能耽误干活儿
    – user6065
    Mar 23 '15 at 20:47
  • 1
    Sure it is not '怕只怕‘??
    – Pedroski
    Mar 23 '15 at 23:48
  • "x 是 x" - "What I x is to x that"
    – Shaw
    Jan 14 at 20:51

To answer your questions:

a) what does x 是 x mean? Here the verb1 + 是 + verb1 is a common pattern used to emphasize the verb or to build up to the next part of the sentence.

b) what does it mean in this context? In this context it can be translated to "(what I am) afraid/scared is being afraid/scared of these pain/suffering without a reason/cause"

c) what are other similar examples using this structure? You can basically use this pattern on any verb, such as

Example 1

A: 气什么? What are you angry about?

B: 气是气在你的无知! Angry, I am angry about your naivety/ignorance!

Example 2

A: 等什么? What are you waiting for?

B: 等是等你准备好! Waiting is waiting for you to get ready!

  • OP's second example is 等一等: 于是悲欢起落人静默 等一等这些伤会自由 btw
    – Ming
    Mar 24 '15 at 0:48
  • @Ming the question only asked about x 是 x patterns, so my answer and examples are only relevant to that pattern. Mar 24 '15 at 0:52
  • But if OP actually thinks the two are the same, I think the answer would be complete if you detail how x是x and x一x are different :)
    – Ming
    Mar 24 '15 at 0:58
  • @Ming I have an idea of what 等一等 is and only added that sentence in there so you could easily find the reference point in the song. I think adding it actually confuses others so I'll remove it.
    – Growler
    Mar 24 '15 at 15:08
  • @Growler ahh okay, yeah sounds good :)
    – Ming
    Mar 25 '15 at 0:58

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