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shì
v./adj. to be; correct, right
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Both 是 and 有 can be used to express existence. What is the difference?
Generally speaking, 有 is more widely used than 是 when expressing existence. We can only replace 有 with 是 only in some sentences (E.g. 1). In E.g. 2, we cannot use 是.
E.g. 1 大楼前面是/有一个广场。 [phr] In front of the building there is a square.
E.g. 2 大楼前面有一棵树。 [phr] In front of the building there is a tree.
“Square” is a large item which fills the space “in front of the building”. In this case we can use 是. But in E.g. 2, “a tree” is a small object which only occupies a small portion of the space “in front of the building”, so we cannot use 是.
lisaC
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是 can be simply translated into English as “to be”. It has the following meanings:
1. Expressing judgment
E.g. 这是剪刀。 [phr] These are scissors.
E.g. 今天是星期三。 [phr] Today is Wednesday.
2. Expressing existence
E.g. 大楼前面是一个广场。 [phr] In front of the building there is a square.
3. Denoting classification
E.g. 左边的那个杯子是你的,右边的是我的。 [phr] The cup on the left is yours. The one on the right is mine.
是 is not an action verb. It cannot be followed by 了, 着, or 过. It can neither be followed by complements. The negative form of 是 is 不是
lisaC
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In what situations is 是 (shì) used?
个学生
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What other words can I use to express the same meaning as 是 (shì)?
个学生
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对 (duì) versus 是 (shì):

对 (duì) is an adjective that means "right, correct". 是 (shì) can also be an adjective that means "right, correct". For example: 你说得是。(You are right.) We can replace 是 with 对 in this usage. It is correct to say 你说得对。

是 (shì) can be a verb the equivalent of the verb "to be" in English. 对 cannot be used in this way.
- In this usage, 是 (shì) indicates identity, existence, or is used to affirm something.
- The structure is "Subject + 是 + Object" For example: 我是学生。(I am a student.); 这是我的书。(This is my book.)

对 (duì) can also be a measure word or a preposition; 是 (shì) does not have these meanings.
lisaC
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