Vietnamese conjunctions and negations

We’ve gone through lessons on Vietnamese nouns, Adjectives then Verbs and Adverbs. Those are the most fundamental building blocks of any sentence. In this last lesson of our express course on Vietnamese Grammar, we’ll learn negation and conjunctions.


The way we Vietnamese saying no is also very similar to the English way. The equivalent of not is không in Vietnamese. To be specific, let’s consider the following example in which a verb is negated.

Verb negation:

She doesn’t read fast
Cô ấy không đọc nhanh

In the English negative sentence, we need to put does not in front of the verb read. In the Vietnamese translation, we use the word không in the place of does not. This word không would be the main negation word for most cases.

Let’s take another example to see how adjectives are negated. Consider the following:

Negation of adjectives

The story isn’t interesting
Câu chuyện không thú vị

Here, we again use không in front of the adjective thú vị(“interesting”) to negate it.

The summary of this section?

Vietnamese Negation

Use không in the place of doesn’t, don’t or isn’t, aren’t, etc.


Now that we’re aware of most of the basic sentential constructs in Vietnamese, it seems appropriate to learn about conjunctions so that we can connect simple sentences into more complex ones.

Let’s begin with and, which connects ideas that support each other, and but, which contrasts opposite ideas. The equivalent of and and but in Vietnamese are and nhưng, respectively. Let illustrate their usage with the following two examples.

Examples of and and but

I like this color and that color
Tôi thích màu này màu kia
This method is simple but effective
Phương pháp này đơn giản nhưng hiệu quả

We can observe in these two examples that (“and”) and nhưng(“but”) are used exactly in the place of their English counterparts. In the first example, and is used to connect two nouns while but is used in the second example to connect two adjectives. Let’s look at an example where we use and to connect two simple sentences:

Connecting simple sentences

His idea is great and I really like it
Ý tưởng của anh ta hay tôi thực sự thích nó

Here, the Vietnamese usage of (“and”) is, again, totally similar to the English usage of and.

There is another frequently used conjunction: or, whose Vietnamese equivalent is hay, which share a very similar usage to or.

The related construct eitheror is expressed by the single word hoặc.

Below are a couple of examples to illustrate hay and hoặc.

Example usages of hay and hoặc

Do you like this color or that color ?
Anh thích màu này hay màu kia ?
Please do either this question or that question
Xin vui lòng làm câu hỏi này hoặc câu hỏi kia

To conclude what we’ve just learned about Vietnamese conjunctions

Vietnamese Conjunctions

Use (“and”), nhưng(“but”), hay(“or”), hoặc (“either…or”)
the way you use them in English.

If you have questions related to this post, please comment below.

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2 months ago

Thank you for this great, simple resource. You’ve put a lot of effort in getting the essentials down, which is very helpful for new learners. Cheers!