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I wonder if it is grammatically correct to say 我是饿. If this sentence is grammatically correct, then what is the difference between 我很饿 and 我是饿? As far as I know, 是 should not be used with adjective predicates. But some sources suggest that using 是 in adjective predicate sentences is OK.

Also, how does 我饿 sound? Does omitting 很 in adjective predicate sentences make a difference to the meaning?

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我很饿。

In an affirmative sentence the one-character adjectival predicate is usually preceded by 很, which is a weakened adverb here without much significance of an adverb of degree. The example in the book 现代汉语八百词, which says "单音形容词前常加'很',凑成双音节", is "这间房子很大" (see below what the book says about the same sentence without '很').

我饿。

Without 很, comparison or contrast is often implied. 现代汉语八百词 says "'这间房子大'含对比意味,暗指'另一间房子小'".

我饿了。

The final structural particle '了' indicates a change, in this case indicates "I'm hungry now (I was not hungry before)".

我是饿。

As correctly said, 是 here is for emphasis (I would say it with an angry tone, for example).

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  • Great answer!!!
    – dan
    Oct 19 at 12:41
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我是饿translates to "I am indeed hungry". "是" here is to emphasize. To better illustrate its similarity to using "do" to emphasize in English, here is another translation:

我饿(了)->"I feel hungry";

我是饿(了)->"I do feel hungry"

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    So normally we don't say 我是饿 as I'm indeed hungry.It's not common nor follow the normal grammar , 我确实饿 means indeed hungry while 我很饿 means I'm very hungry. Oct 18 at 12:52
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    It's normal to say 我是饿 as a response to others. E.g., one says "你好像一天没吃东西了,肯定饿了吧?", and then you may respond "我是饿“ or "我是饿了“。Also in general it's common to use "是" to emphasize, such as ”我是不喜欢xxx", "我是不想去“. It's probably similar to "do" in english. E.g., "我饿“translates to "I feel hungry" and "我是饿“ to "I do feel hungry"; both "是“ and "do" are usually stressed, naturally.
    – ALife
    Oct 18 at 13:25
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In English, 我是饿 is "I am a hunger", the proper sentence is "I am hungry" (我饿了). Note the difference between I am + none and I am + adjective.

我很饿 = I am very hungry. 我饿 is acceptable, but it is usually a whining from a young kid or a beggar. 饿了 is better (sounds a little commending or complaining), again, the proper way to say is "我饿了".

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    Readers of this answer, please be kindly reminded that 我是饿 in no way translates to "I am a hunger". Such translation sounds absurd to a native speaker.
    – ALife
    Oct 20 at 21:28
  • Do not use the technics of attack by distortion. It is not a "translation", literally, the sentence means 我(I)是(am)饿(hunger or hungry), obviously an illogic sentence. It is a way to remind the OP that the sentence does not make sense in English, nor in Chinese. In this case, the grammars of Chinese and English are the same - I(我)am(是)xxx(something), 饿 can't be this something then. Understand now?
    – r13
    Oct 20 at 21:42
  • Do not use the technics of attack by distortion. It is not a "translation", literally, the sentence means 我(I)是(am)饿(hunger), obviously an illogic sentence. It is a way to remind the OP that the sentence does not make sense in English, nor in Chinese. In this case, the grammars of Chinese and English are similar - I(我)am(是)xxx(something, a noun), 饿 can't be this something then. Understand now?
    – r13
    Oct 20 at 21:51
  • The following two sentences are fine: 我饿了(I am hungry) and 我很饿 (I am very hungry), note the grammars of Chinese and English differ in these cases.
    – r13
    Oct 20 at 21:59

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