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Chinese Character Bites – #3 – 是

Our character for today is 是

In simplified Chinese characters: 是
In traditional Chinese characters: 是
(It’s the same in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters)


This character is pronounced shì in the 4th tone.

What it means:

是 means is, are, am, so it’s a little bit similar to the verb ‘to be’ in English, although it’s not used in all the places where you would see these words in English.

Let’s break it down:

The top part of the character is 日, which means sun, and the bottom half is . Some people believe the bottom half of the character is a variation of 正 (which means correct).