In the following sentence:


Why does this sentence use two 喜欢 and what is the verb in this sentence?

I understand that "the speaker likes bowling" and "the speaker nonetheless are bad at bowling". But I don't understand how 喜欢是喜欢 works grammartically...

  • 喜欢是喜欢 always followed by a '但是', even if there are no 但是 followed, it still implies that something or someone don't support my interesting. Aug 24, 2017 at 2:11
  • Usually in a double character word like this the second character is omitted: 喜是喜欢…
    – Mou某
    Aug 24, 2017 at 2:40
  • As I have the passion to get the question clear (lol), I did an interesting survey among my friends about this question. I threw two options for 喜欢是喜欢, A. 我喜欢是真的, B. 我确实喜欢。 The result I got is 2 people vote for A, 2 people vote for both A and B, 3 people vote for B. While I was doing this, I got the best answer from one of my friends which are agreed by all. That is “尽管我喜欢” (Though I like it). So, put it into the sentence, 尽管我喜欢保龄球, 但我打不好。
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2017 at 15:49
  • So, 虽然我喜欢 or 尽管我喜欢 is appropriate interpretation for 喜欢是喜欢.
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2017 at 16:00

3 Answers 3


喜欢= like to; love to

欢喜= happy

  1. 保龄球我喜欢是喜欢,不过打得不好-- (As for bowling, It is true that I like it, but I am not very good at it.)

[Subject XX 是 XX]= [granted/ It is true that subject is XX]


"他贪心是贪心, 但他不会为了钱做违法的事情"= "他贪心是真的, 但他不会为了钱做违法的事情" (It is true that he is greedy, but he wouldn't do any illegal thing for money)

  1. 能夠打保龄我是很欢喜,但我必须先完成作业-- (I am very happy for able to go bowling but I must finish my homework first.)
  • Don't you think in your example, 他贪心是真的(It is true he is greedy)==他确实贪心(he is truly/really greedy)?
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2017 at 4:00
  • 1
    "truly" and "it is true that" are different. See examples: (1.) "It is true that 1+1=2". (2.) "I truly love math". BTW, "他确实贪心" in English is "he is really greedy"
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 24, 2017 at 4:09
  • I agree it could be different in some other contexts. But in this context, I think it's pretty much the same. 他贪心是真的 has the same meaning of 他确实贪心.
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2017 at 4:12
  • what context? 他贪心是真的, 但他不会为了钱做违法的事情 stated clearly that 'It is a fact that he is greedy, but he wouldn't break the law for money" 是真的 (is real) means not faked or presumed
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 24, 2017 at 4:16
  • ok, if I say: 他确实贪心, 但他不会为了钱做违法的事情. Do you think this sentence can express the similar meaning as yours '他贪心是真的, 但他不会为了钱做违法的事情' ?
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2017 at 4:38

喜欢是喜欢 is used to emphasize you really like bowling (it implies you would say something different in later context '不过打得不好'), equally as 我确实喜欢.

Usually, it implies that you would say a 'but/however' after this expression. Like this example, 保龄球我喜欢是喜欢,不过打得不好。 Another example, 这个人我讨厌是讨厌, 不过他人还是不坏的。

  • 3
    喜欢是喜欢 is used to emphasize you really like bowling -- No, 喜欢是喜欢 means, "it is true that I like bowling-- but" e.g. "保龄球我喜欢是喜欢, 但我必须先完成作业" (it is true that I like bowling, but I must finish my homework first.)
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 24, 2017 at 2:09
  • @TangHo : I don't see any difference with that here. Isn't it "It is true that I like bowling" == "I truly like bowling", hence=="I really like bowling"?
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2017 at 2:37
  • 1
    "you truly like something' means 'you like something with a passion"; "It is true that you like something" just means "you do like something and it is not fake" . More importantly [subject XX 是 XX ] = [granted subject is XX] usually followed by a 'but'
    – Tang Ho
    Aug 24, 2017 at 3:13
  • We need some Englishman to clarify here. To me, I truly like something == I really like something == I literally like something== it is true/real that you like something. Also I think "保龄球我喜欢是喜欢,不过打得不好。"==" 保龄球我确实喜欢,不过打得不好。"
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2017 at 3:22
  • I'm not an English native, but I'm positive that Tang Ho is correct. To make it clear, you could add a contrastive while and an actually: "While it is true that I like bowling, I'm actually pretty bad at it."
    – Philipp
    Aug 24, 2017 at 6:16


It can be viewed as short for 你問我喜欢吗?我是喜欢的。(If you ask me if I like, I would say yes.)

That implies the speaker don't want others to notice the fact as the speaker answers yes only when asked by others (i.e. not so willing to answer). So in your sentence,

保龄球喜欢是喜欢,但我打得不好。 ==> Yes indeed I like it, but then I don't play well.

Since I don't play well, I may be reluctant to say I like bowling, as it is not good to know that (E.g. Will the listener look me down when he know I like playing bowling but do not play well? It is awkward to say that.)

That's why using the pattern "X是X" is usually followed by "but".

  • I don't quite agree with this. Imagine when we would say the sentence? It's the time when someone is asking "你这么喜欢打保龄球?", then you might answer '保龄球喜欢是喜欢,但我打得不好. '. It's been used when you don't want people misunderstand that you could play bowling well as you like it so much. So, this could be considered as an explanation of that misleading. It could be a bit awkward here to admit you don't play it well, but the main purpose is to explain the fact of not playing well.
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2017 at 2:55
  • No, the emphasis is the latter sentence. Imagine when someone ask “你这么喜欢打保龄球?”, and you answer with the sentence. Yes, it would seem that the first sentence is the main point, but the speaker actually wants the listener to know the fact that he doesn't play well more than liking it, as it is more important not to miss this fact.
    – user13501
    Aug 24, 2017 at 3:11
  • You just speak for me, not for yourself I think. -:) @ Super Cool Handsome Gel Boy
    – dan
    Aug 24, 2017 at 3:27

Your Answer

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

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