ABC Chinese–English Comprehensive Dictionary (2003). I can't access the "slightly revised through July 2005" ed. p 253.

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  1. I understand copulas for English, but not for Chinese here. Anyways, let's focus on the negatory meanings of and Disregard their unique (like 5-7 for both entries above). 非 and 不 can both mean "not". So how do they differ?

  2. Is 非 - Wiktionary correct? CUHK doesn't mention 惟. Wiktionary avouches that

(OC *pɯj) is the fusion of the negation particle (OC *pɯ, *pɯʔ, *pɯ', “not”) and the copula (OC *ɢʷi, “to be”), attested in oracle bone inscriptions.

  1. If so, please see this question's title.
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    Hi AYX please can you clarify what you are asking? It seems you're asking about the difference btw 非 and 不 but I don't understand what you mean with the copula 惟 – blackgreen Sep 17 at 19:05
  • @blackgreen Hi! Of course! Sorry for not clarifying "the copula 惟". – NNOX Apps Sep 29 at 19:11

Contrary to general perception, there is a huge difference between 非 and 不。 I am not referring to/talking about this one; I don't want this term; I am not pointing to this one: 非, implying this is the wrong term。 I am negating this one:不, implying total rejection。 In other words, in most of the cases, you just can't use one to replace another. 子非鱼,焉知鱼之乐?--> 子"不"鱼,焉知鱼之乐? However, I don't understand why 惟 (mostly using 唯 now) is dragged into this, as it means "only" as 惟民惟止 is the only consideration for all politicians.

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