On a particular forum is a banner reading:


which I imagine is a highfalutin way of saying that this thread is read-only.

Now, 乃 has many senses in my dictionary. What is the sense of 乃 being used here? My best guess would be "only", in the sense that this page is "nothing more than" a read-only area.

  • 2
    = This is, 舊貼 = old posts, 唯讀區 = read-only area.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 6:08
  • From what I could read from the sentence it means the word "is" as mentioned by Stan
    – Yao Bo Lu
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 6:24

3 Answers 3


Here "乃" means "be". This sentence means "This area is for old posts, and these posts are read-only."

Next time, if you find "此乃" these two characters together or a noun+乃 together, "乃" properly means "be". For example:

This is my book.

Consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.

  • 4
    It should be emphasized that 乃 is an ancient expression in Chinese -- though it's occasionally used today, the whole sentence should be "of some old-style". To some extent, 此乃我的书 sounds a little funny/silly because 我的 is a modern expression. In a formal occasion, such a sentence will be criticized as 半文不白 (mixed style of classical and vernacular Chinese). However, compared with a single 乃, the compound verb 乃是 sounds a limited little more modern, so 意识乃是大脑的一种自然属性 is OK.
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 10:27
  • Stan you should make your own answer. I'd upvote you :) Commented Jul 23, 2013 at 23:50
  • 此乃我书, 的 is not required in the classical form.
    – 杨以轩
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 4:57
  • @deutschZuid: such a complement to this answer would better be a comment so that visitors won't miss it. Earning reputations is fun, though :)
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 9:41

In your giving sentence, it means is (be)

but as a chinese ,this verb is hardly use in communicating or writing, this is a verb which uses in ancient chinese

  • Disagree. 乃 is still very much in use in writing today.
    – 杨以轩
    Commented Jul 24, 2013 at 4:59

My suggestion is that you'd better have a Chinese dictionary when you learn it, for example <新华字典>. All the usual meaning will be presented with example. The 乃 in your example has the same meaning in the following example:吾乃常山赵子龙也from (三国演义).

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