Cantonese Grammar: Cantonese Adjectives

This page is about the grammatical usage of adjectives in Cantonese. An important fact that should be noticed is that in Cantonese, the verb to be oftentimes is unnecessary when it is followed by an adjective. On the other hand, the verb to be is often necessary when it is followed by the object.

For Describing a Noun:
Adj. (with two Chinese characters) + 嘅 + N. (嘅 ge2)
Adv. + Adj. + 嘅 + N.
Adj. (with one Chinese character) + (嘅) + N.

Example:
She is a very capable doctor (好叻 means very capable; 醫生 means medical doctor)
佢喺一個好叻嘅醫生
kui4 hai5 yat1 goh3 ho2 lek1 ge3 yi1 sang1

She is a good doctor (好 means good; can also mean very)
佢喺一個好(嘅)醫生
kui4 hai5 yat1 goh3 ho2 (ge3) yi1 sang1

She is a very good doctor (好好 means very good)
佢喺一個好好嘅醫生
kui4 hai5 yat1 goh3 ho2 ho2 ge3 yi1 sang1

Note that “好” and “好好” can be ambiguous because it can refer to good personality or great capability when describing a doctor

Usage of Adjectives together with Adverbs of Degrees
N+V+somewhat Adj N+V+得+(都)幾X + intonation modifier (得 dak1 都 do1 幾 gei2)
N+V+very+Adj N +V+好X N is very X (好 ho2)
N+V好鬼(死) 好 ho2 (鬼 gai2 死 sei2)
N+真喺X啦 is really X (真 jun1 喺 hai5 啦 la3)
N+V+really really+Adj. N+V+真喺幾X = N+V+真喺好X (真 jun1 喺 hai5 幾 gei2/好 ho2)
N+真喺非常X is really extraordinarily X (真 jun1 喺 hai5 非 fei1 常 seung6)
N+真喺好鬼死X (真 jun1 喺 hai5 好 ho2 鬼 gai2 死 sei2)
so X = 咁X (gam3)

If V is “be”, then replace V+得 by 喺 hai5 (or no verb to be at all) before an adjective.

Examples:
He is tall.
佢(喺)幾高架
kui4 gei2 go1 ga3
He is very tall
佢(喺)好高架
kui4 ho2 go1 ga3
He really is tall
佢真喺高架
kui4 jun1 hai5 go1 a3
Wow, he is really tall!
嘩, 佢真喺高呀!
wa3, kui4 jan1 hai5 go1 a3!
He is really tall
佢真喺好高架
kui jan hai ho go ga3

Examples:
Sparrows are very fast
麻雀(喺)好快架
ma6 jeuk2 (hai5) ho2 faai3 ga3

Sparrows fly very fast
麻雀飛得好快架 (麻雀 means sparrow; 飛 means fly; 快 means fast)
ma6 jeuk2 fei1 dak1 ho2 faai3 ga3

Sparrows fly somewhat fast
麻雀飛得(都)幾快架
ma6 jeuk2 f2i1 dak1 do1 gei2 faai3 ga3

Sparrows fly really fast
麻雀飛得真喺快架
ma6 jeuk2 fei1 dak1 jun1 hai4 faai3 ga3

Sparrows fly really fast
麻雀飛得真喺幾快架
ma6 jeuk2 fei1 dak1 jun1 hai4 gei2 faai3 ga3

Sparrows fly really extraordiarily fast
麻雀飛得真喺非常快架
ma6 jeuk2 fei1 dak1 jun1 hai4 fei1 seung6 faai3 ga3

Sparrows fly really really fast
麻雀飛得真喺好鬼死快架
ma6 jeuk2 fei1 dak1 jun1 hai4 ho2 gai2 sei2 faai3 ga3

Why do Sparrows fly so fast?
點解麻雀飛得咁快嘅?
dim2 gaai2 ma6 jeuk2 fei1 dak1 gam3 faai3 ge2?

a little er than = X小小 (小 siu2)
more X = X啲 (啲 di1)
much er = X 好多 (好 ho2 多 doh1)
the est = 最X (最 jui3)

Example: A is a little faster
A 快少少 A faai3 siu2 siu2
Example: A is much faster
A 快好多 A faai3 ho2 doh1
Example: A is the fastest
A 最快 A jui3 faai3
Example: This is the biggest apple
呢個蘋果最大(隻) lei1 goh3 ping6 gwoh2 jui3 daai5 (jek3)

Comparison:
A Xer than B = A + X過 + B or A 同 B 之中 A X啲 (過 gwoh3; 同 tung6; 之 ji1; 中jung1; 啲di1)
(X being the Cantonese adjective)

Example: large or big 大 daai5 (大 daai5)
This apple is larger than that apple
呢個蘋果大過嗰個蘋果
lei1 goh3 ping6 gwoh2 daai5 gwoh4 goh2 goh3 ping6 gwoh3

This is the biggest apple among all apples here
呢個喺呢道最大嘅蘋果
lei1 goh2 hai5 lei1 do5 jui3 daai5 ge3 ping6 gwoh2
呢個蘋果喺呢道最大嘅
lei1 goh3 ping6 gwoh2 haai5 lei1 do5 jui3 daai5 ge3
呢個喺咁多個蘋果之中最大嘅
lei1 goh3 hai5 gam3 doh1 goh3 ping6 gwoh2 ji1 jung1 jui3 daai5 ge3

 
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