This page describes how to use 是 properly in sentences:

是 (shì) is only used to link two nouns. It cannot be used to link a noun and an adjective. This is a very common mistake for people just beginning to learn Chinese. For that kind of sentence, you'll want to use a different structure with the linking word 很 (hěn).

It makes sense, but one pattern is not clear.

Take for example: "All her clothes are black."

Would you say, 她什麼衣服都很黑色,since you cannot say, 她什麼衣服都是黑色?

It seems strange to say 很黑色 in this context, so confirmation would be most appreciated.

  • 1
    It cannot be used to link a noun and an adjective. This is incorrect; you can use 是, but there's a slightly different nuance if you do end up using it. For example, 他臉**是**很紅啊~!His face **is** very red!.
    – dROOOze
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 23:29
  • @droooze would it be correct to say it cannot be used to link a noun and a simple adjective (e.g., 紅)but can be used with with an adjective that already contains 很(e.g., 很紅)?
    – Crashalot
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 0:02
  • I appreciate that the above example is actually quite unclear; you only do this in spoken language, as written language cannot convey the spoken emphasised stress that's required for that syntax to make sense. Basically, the above is used in an act of mild disbelief - as in, I didn't believe that his face was red before, and now I've seen his face and it really is red. 他臉**確實是**紅哦! or 他臉**是**很紅哦!
    – dROOOze
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 0:13

1 Answer 1


The confusion here lies with the fact that「黑」(black) is an adjective, but「黑色」(black colour) is a noun. So, the correct way to say your example meaning is one of these:

  • 她什麼衣服都很黑 (not 黑色)
  • 她什麼衣服都是黑色的 (not 黑)

「的」should be appended on the end of the second example to make it a nominalised adjective, and「色」is optional:


This syntax equates the following two:

  • 黑色的衣服
  • 衣服是黑色的
  • Can you please elaborate on the exceptions to using 是 to link nouns and adjectives?
    – Crashalot
    Commented Feb 18, 2018 at 23:58
  • 1
    Apart from the spoken emphasis from mild disbelief as in the other comment, the construction A is B is valid (for all circumstances) with B as an adjective if you nominalise it with 的 at the end, as in this answer. More examples: 火車速度是快的 (The speed of the train is fast), 工人衣服是乾淨的 (the clothes of the workers are clean).
    – dROOOze
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 0:17

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