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Use “sǐle” to intensify a negative adjective in Chinese

Chinese words, learning Chinese

In English, you might use or hear the expression "you scared me to death!" In Chinese, 死了 (sǐle) is used similarly to intensify a negative adjective.

Structure

The "Subject" part below is actually optional, you can still make your over-the-top exclamations without it.

Subj. + Negative adj. + 死了

Note that this structure is a degree complement.

Examples


我饿死了。It could be read as 'hungry to death'

wǒ è sǐle!

I'm so/terribly hungry!


今天累死了。It could be read as 'tired to death'

jīntiān lèi sǐle!

I'm so/terribly tired today!


热死了!It could be read as 'hot to death'

rè sǐle!

It's so/terribly hot!


这几天忙死了。It could be read as 'busy to death'

zhè jǐ tiān máng sǐle!

It's been so/terribly busy these days!


这件衣服丑死了。It could be read as 'ugly to death'

zhè jiàn yīfu chǒu sǐle!

This piece of clothes is so/terribly ugly!


你的房间脏死了。It could be read as 'dirty to death'

nǐ de fángjiān zāng sǐle!

Your room is so/terribly dirty!


吵死了!It could be read as 'noisy to death'

chǎo sǐle!

It's so/terribly noisy!


这里的东西贵死了。It could be read as 'expensive to death'

zhèlǐ de dōngxī guì sǐle!

The things here are so/terribly expensive!


我们都急死了。It could be read as 'anxious to death'

wǒmen dōu jí sǐle!

We are all so/terribly anxious!


这个小孩烦死了。It could be read as 'annoying to death'

zhè ge xiǎohái fán sǐle!

This kid so/terribly annoying!

None of these sentences actually refer to someone dying, instead the word 死了 (sǐle) and the structure is simply used to intensify an adjective. Notice how these are awkward to translate into English – 死了 (sǐle) is much more versatile than the English expression "to death."

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2016-06-22

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