Suitable can be expressed in two different ways.
When learning Chinese, you’ll often come across words that have one common meaning, but several other definitions. Or, the same meaning but different usages. Shìhé and Héshì are two words that fall into this category. There is not much difference in meaning between the two, but there is a big difference in usage. This is because one is a verb and the other is an adjective. Furthermore, since both words use the same characters, it’s very easy to get them mixed up. In today’s article, we’ll explain the differences between them and give you some example sentences.
Suitable with 适合
Shìhé is a verb that means to fit or to suit. It can be used in a variety of contexts. For example, if you would like to express that someone suits a job or a certain environment. Always remember, Shìhé is a verb; so its function is to describe an action, state or occurrence. It is not an adverb which describes verbs or an adjective which describes nouns. Lastly, Shìhé cannot be used on its own. In Chinese sentence structures, Shìhé is always followed by an object or person. Here are some example sentences:
Wǒ shēntǐ bú shìhé hǎitān huódòng.
I’m out of shape for beach activity.
Tā fēicháng shìhé zuò zhège zhíwèi.
He was well suited to take this position.
Suitable with 合适
Whilst Shìhé is a verb, Héshì an adjective. This means that the purpose of Héshì is strictly to describe nouns. It used to express whether someone or something is appropriate. In Chinese sentences structures, Héshì typically goes at the end after following the subject and any adverbs.
Wǒ xiǎng wǒmen bú tài héshì .
I think we’re not a very good fit.
Xīngqī’èr bàifǎng nǐ héshì ma ？
Is Tuesday a favourable day for you to visit?
If you’re still unsure about the differences here’s further clarification:
A :你 知道 做什么 食物最 适合 参加 这 个 宴会吗？
Do you know what kind of food would suit this dinner party?
B:我 不 知道。但是 做海鲜一定 不 合适。
I don’t know, but making seafood is definitely not suitable.
We hope you found today’s article useful! When reading, listening and speaking always pay attention to how these two words are used. You can also find examples of 适合 and 合适 through our Chinese Languages news articles on the Chairman’s Bao Platform. If you have any burning Chinese Grammar questions we will answer them on our Quora, we’ll be happy to help!