I'd like to know how to say "red book" in Mandarin.

Can it be 红色 的 书 or 红书?

I read a book to learn about color, it used 红色 的 before a noun but I heard in a song it used only 红 before noun.

I feel confused.

  • 1
    红书 has special meaning in Chinese, it may make people think it's "红宝书" (Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book). So generally, 红色的书 is OK.
    – Stan
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 11:56
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    Do you mean 毛主席語錄? You can search the image with this name by using Google.^^
    – Casper
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 11:58
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    红皮书. Similarly bluebook (in the sense of almanac) = 蓝皮书
    – user58955
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 12:15
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    No, no one says 白色兔, it is weird in prosody. If the noun has two characters, it would be all right to say 白色 such as 白色衬衫. (白衬衫 is also okay.)
    – user58955
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 17:25
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    There are two ways to say "white rabbit". 小白兔 (xiǎo bái tù) and 白色的兔子 (báisè de tùzǐ). Rabbit is called 兔子 not 兔 alone. Small children will say 兔兔 or 小兔兔.
    – amateur
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 21:07

4 Answers 4


Generally, 紅色的書红色的书)is better. Red (adj.) Book (n.).

  • 1
    In addition, to clarify: 红色的书 (adjective + noun) vs. 红书 (noun).
    – amateur
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 21:09
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    Yes, that's true. 红书 is a specific noun.
    – Jamie
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 23:11
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    In different cases, we use different format.
    – Jamie
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 23:12

Both 红色的书 are 红书 correct, 红 alone has the meaning of 红色的(of the color red), for example:"那是一本红书"(That is a red book), in this example we use 红 to describe the color of a book, it's an adjective, its meaning is the same as 红色的. However, the character of 红 sometimes can be part of a noun which composed of two or more character, example: 红豆, 红茶, 红包, in this case 红 is a part of a noun, but it also implies that the thing is of red color.

If you want to describe a red thing, and you don't want to make grammar error, it is safer to use "红色的", because sometimes use 红 alone cannot complete a sentence, for example you can not say"那东西是红", that sentence isn't complete, you must say "那东西是红色的"(That thing is red).

The rule of above can be applied to other colors,for example:
橙chéng orange, 橙色的 of the color orange
黃Huáng yellow, 黃色的 of the color yellow
綠lǜ green, 綠色的 of the color green
藍lán blue 藍色的of the color blue
紫zǐ purple, 紫色的of the color purple

  • Thank you so much! Does it mean it will be always correct if I say this structure "color+的+noun"?
    – nkm
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 4:29
  • 1
    @nkm Ya, you are right, but to be more formal, use this form: "color+色+的+noun" e.g.紅色的書, 紫色的花
    – ChaoYang
    Commented Feb 8, 2014 at 13:24

It depends on situation.

毛主席的小红书 The little red book of Chairman Mao

Here, we don't use 小红色的书.

But usually, we use 红色的书

那本红色的书 That red book


If the "red" describes the attribute of an object, you'd better suffix with “的” 比如 红色的椅子,红色的书. For some situation, it's a fixed phase, such as the red traffic light. 你只能说红灯. Red also has the implication of the things regarding to Mao Ze Dong and communism revolution, in this case, you don't use “的” after 红.

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