In mandarin Chinese, the majority of the adjectives can act as attributes and predicates. This is to say, the majority of Chinese adjectives can modify nouns and serve as predicates. Those who are not of the majority are the adjectives that can only modify nouns. These adjectives are called 非谓语形容词 non-predicate adjectives.
As the name indicates, non-predicate adjectives can’t act as predicates directly. They are the minority of in the family of Chinese adjectives.
Common non-predicate adjectives
正 zhèng, principal, chief, major: e.g. 正团长 the chief leader of a delegation
副 fù, secondary, deputy, vice, e.g. 副部长 deputy minister
男, nán, man, male, e.g. 男运动员, male athletes
女 nǚ, woman, female, e.g. 女选手, female athlete
雌 cí, female, e.g. 雌黄蜂, female wasps
雄 xióng, male, e.g. 雄鹿, buck
单 dān, odd, e.g. 单数, odd number
大型 dà xíng, large, large-scale, e.g. 大型企业 large enterprise 初级 chū ji, primary, e.g. 初级小学 primary school
多项 duō xiàng, multiple, e.g. 多项选择题 multiple-choice question
Non-predicate adjectives can not be modified by “不” or adverbs of degree.
Even though non-predicate adjetives can’t act as predicates directly, they can be used together with “是” and “的” to act as predicates. Take 雄 for example, we can’t say 这头鹿雄的 but 这头鹿是雄的。
See also the characteristics of Chinese adjectives