Dear Chinese Language community users, I have the following question. During my learning I encountered the answer 我不是很好 in response to 你好吗?I was puzzled because I thought the correct negative answers are 我不好 or 我很不好. Could you help me out? Thanks!

  • All cited answers are fine without "我", which is implied and understood". "不是很好" equals "不太好", not very good. "不好", not feeling well or not good. "很不好", feel bad, and "非常不好", feel very bad.
    – r13
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 17:19
  • Thank you very much! I am confused because I learned that 是 is not to be used with adjectives. That is should be subject + 很 + adjective. I got my grammatical information from here: resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/… Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 19:25
  • 1
    Correct. You know that "不是好" is incorrect because 是 can't be used directly with 好 (good - an adjective). "不是很好" is fine because I don't think 很好 (very good) is an adjective.
    – r13
    Commented Jun 20, 2021 at 19:36
  • Thanks for your help! Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 7:27

3 Answers 3

  • 我不是很好 means I'm not feeling quite well, but not that bad.
  • 我不好 literally means I'm feeling bad. But this sounds a bit rude/impolite. When you're unhappy and not likely to have a conversation with the guy, you can say this. However, when you are very familiar with the guy, you can say this with a joking tongue.
  • 我很不好 means you are feeling quite bad.
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    Thank you! This helped a lot. Especially the part about not to sound rude/impolite. Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 7:29

我不是很好 = I am not feeling so good;

I don't really use 我不是很好 or 我不好 because I hardly say that or hear people say that in real life, it's a bit unnatural to include the subject "我";

What I use the most to negatively respond to 你好吗? is 不太好 which also means not really good but this one sounds more natural/casual by leaving the subject out. Be sure to use this if you do want someone to care about what you feel.

  • Thank you! Especially for the clarification about leaving the subject out to sound more natural. Commented Jun 21, 2021 at 7:30


We don't usually say the question in real life. We say 你还好吗 or 你还好吧 more often.

To answer those questions, we often say: 我还好,我挺好的,我不怎么好,我不太好,我还行,etc.

我不是很好 is also a valid answer.

  • Thank you for your answer! Commented Jun 30, 2021 at 14:41

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