I saw this sentence in a book:


I thought the sentence was wrong at first, but it says the sentence is grammatically correct and that there's nothing wrong with it. As you know, most Chinese grammar books tell you have to use 没 to negate past actions, so I didn't understand how 明年, which refers to a future time, can stand with 没. The book says 没(有) is used for unfinished events(毕业), regardless of the time.

Nevertheless, I'm still not sure what cases I have to use 没, not 不, with adverbials of future time like 明年, 下星期, etc. for. Can you give me some examples?

Also I'm wondering if there's a difference between the meanings of these two sentences:



Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    In these two sentences, the difference is subtle. 你还没有 sounds more objective, and 你还不 sounds more subjective (so it would sound a little weird if "not yet graduate next year" is an objective fact – though still it's acceptable in loose conversations). I don't know whether this observation can be applied to other situations.
    – Stan
    Feb 19, 2016 at 15:44
  • 1
    @Stan When you say it sounds more subjective, do you mean that 你还不 would make it sound like "you will refuse to graduate next year," as if it is up to you? Feb 19, 2016 at 23:43
  • 1
    @ColinMcLarty exactly.
    – Stan
    Feb 20, 2016 at 3:19
  • 1
    As 昨天 yesterday is not in future, the situation is a little different. Yes, Answer 1 still just tells the objective fact that he didn't come to work. But Answer 2 implies two things: (1) the fact that he didn't come to work; (2) he was on his holiday leave (or other valid reasons) so that he didn't have to come – and he decided not to come. Let's see another example: Q: 上周他去旅游了吗? A1: 上周他没去. A2: 上周他不去. Now A1 states the fact he didn't go. A2 implies "Last week was not the time he chose (or some other reasons), so he didn't go."
    – Stan
    Feb 20, 2016 at 10:08
  • 1
    "实用汉语近义虚词词典"不(副)/没(副)[相同]都是副词表示否定,都可以修饰动词和某些形容词。以下情况可以互换:1。都可以用在动词前,但有一些不同:"不"否定的是事物的性质或人的主观愿望,"没"否定的是事物的变化、经历或者动作行为发生的客观事实:1他一句话也不说就走了。(否定"说",从主观愿望说)2他一句话也没说就走了。(否定"说了",从客观事实说)3他已经几天不来上课了。(强调主观上不愿意)4他已经几天没来上课了。(强调"没有来"这一客观事实)2。都可以用在一些有变化的形容词之前,但有一些不同:"不"否定事物具有某种性质或存在某种状态,"没"否定事物在性质状态发生变化:☐不圆 不熟 不红 不干 不着急 不紧张(没✓)1今天的月亮不圆。(不具有"圆"的性质)2今天的月亮没圆。(没有出现从"不圆"到"圆"的变化)3牛肉不熟,再煮一会儿。(不具有"熟"的状态)4牛肉没熟,再煮一会儿。(没有出现从"不熟"到"熟"的变化)5苹果还不红,不能摘!(没✓)6衣服还没干,再晒一会儿。(不✓)7我不着急,你满满说。(没✓)[不同]1用在动词性词语之前,"不"多否定将来的,未发生的动作行为,也可以否定经常性或习惯性,规律性的动作行为:"没"多否定过去的,已经发生的动作行为:1明天你们去吧,我不去。(将来,没✗)2我下周不参加考试。(将来,没✗)3他常常不吃早饭。(经常性,没✗)4这里从来不堵车。
    – user6065
    Feb 21, 2016 at 19:31

6 Answers 6


I've never heard of 没 being restricted to past actions. It is perfectly useful, as in 范冰冰明年没有结婚的打算.

I interpret these sentences as:

明年这个时候你还没有毕业呢 = next year at this time you will still not have graduated.

明年这个时候你还不毕业呢 = next year at this time you will still refuse to graduate.


Think of 還沒有 as not yet. It isn't limited to the past actions. It simply means not yet. Just like in English you can say you will not yet have graduated next year.

If it's just , most of the time it is used for the past actions.

I wouldn't say 明年這個時候你還不畢業呢. But I would say 明年這個時候你還不畢業嗎 or 明年這個時候你還不畢業阿. Both are questions.

  • you can only say "next year, you will not yet have graduated"
    – Colin
    Feb 19, 2016 at 19:51

Question: 昨天他上班了没有? ~ Answer 1: 昨天他没上班 or Answer 2: 昨天他不上班. Either answer is grammatically correct to the above question, but with different implications. Answer A implies that the fact that he goes to work did not happen yesterday, whereas Answer B implies that he was not on duty yesterday.

  • Excellent example, because it's realistic!
    – Ludi
    Apr 15, 2017 at 12:19

Using 没 often suggests a of deviation from an expectation or likely scenario. It would have been plausible for us to graduate next year, but now it looks as if we will not achieve that. However, if the action we failed to complete was entirely unexpected or even implausible, then 不 may feel more appropriate. But this will rarely be the case when you are also using 还, which emphasizes an implicit or explicit expectation.

Edit: 倪阔乐 just gave a good example of a negation that does not imply a failure to meet an expectation: "Next year at this time you will still refuse to graduate." If you have been refusing to graduate all along, then a completion of the action "to graduate" could not have been expected and 不 should be prefered over 没.


Q1: Anyway, in the sentence "明年这个时候你还没有毕业呢", "没有" means the person has not graduated right now. However, "还" refers to the situation which the person is not graduated lasts into the future. So "还没有" make sense of the future time "明天".



Translate into English:

"不" is used to negate present, past and future actions in subjective mostly.

"没" is used to negate present and past actions in objective mostly.

In this case, "you have not graduated next year(明年这个时候你还____毕业呢)" is objective description. So we should choose "没有". And "明年这个时候你还不毕业呢" is a incorrect sentence.


[没有] ( <= ) // past or now

For time:not happen, but may/might happen.

For things:not here, but was/should be somewhere.

[还没有] // for future

For time: not yet, but should will happen

For things:not here, but will be somewhere.

[不] ( ! ) //any

reverse, could using everything and everywhere for everyone

$不不 is Yes

$不 is no

When you want to check graduate

sometimes, We should careful the time point (明年)in the conversation. future:at this case, we use 还没有。when we say it, we may ignore 还,so we may say 没有 instead of 还没有. becasue we know the time is next year. But the meaning is not equal to 没有 if there is no 明年(future time point)

没有毕业 :


明年没有:=> 明年(还)没有


明年这个时候你还没有毕业呢 // will graduate

If (time < graduateTime)
     Return “没有”

明年这个时候你还不毕业呢 // no graduate

If (time != graduateTime)
       Return "不"

This is my first answer in stackoverflowers. Thanks!hope you understand

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.