I'd like to know precisely how the Chinese language syntax conveys in the fewest possible number of words the meanings that English syntax expresses with simple copulative sentences.

For example, (1) can be used to respond to someone saying Jenny is behaving outrageously; it means that such behavior is ordinary behavior for her (i.e. Jenny is exhibiting the traits she always has had). (2) means exactly the opposite: she's now behaving out of the ordinary.

(1) Jenny is Jenny

(2) She's not being herself today

Sometimes in English we also identify participants of the conversation or its surroundings. For example, if we are talking with a friend about a couple of artists that he knows and, while we're talking, we happen to see people just like them in the street, we can point to them and utter (3). Moreover, if four kids are staging a play and deciding who plays who, one of them can utter (4).

(3) Are they them?

(4) He's me and she's you

Do these structures have equivalents in Chinese? I'm not interested in the translations per se; what I want to know is what syntactic structure is used to express sentences like (1)-(4).

2 Answers 2


The same structure exists in Chinese

Jenny (is) Jenny --> 珍妮(就是)珍妮

Money (is) money --> (就是)


She's (not being/ not like) herself today --> 今天(不是/ 不像是)她本人

Silver and coin (was not) the first currency --> 錢銀(不是)最初的貨幣

This amount of money (is not/ is not counted as) money to me --> 這數目的對我來說(不是/不算是)


(Are) they them? --> '他們' (是那個) '他們'嗎?

(is) he him? -->'他'(是那個)'他'嗎?


He (is) me (and) she (is) you -->''(就是)(而)''(就是)

Money is currency ; currency is money --> (就是)貨幣貨幣(就是)


I don't get the meaning of syntactic structure but I guess yes there is equivalent in Chinese:

(1) Jenny 就是 Jenny

(2) 你/她不太像你/她(it's not that like you/she)

(3) 是他们吗?

(4) 他是我,她是你(but we would probaly say 他演我,她演你)

  • Why can't we use 是 instead of 就是 in (1)?
    – user242292
    Jan 15, 2020 at 7:19
  • @user242292 I don't know. We would use 我是我,你是你 for distinguishing in some scenes like argue.
    – igonejack
    Jan 16, 2020 at 6:43

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