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Sentence-final interjection "a"

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The interjection 啊 (a) is often added to the end of sentences to add a tone of urgency, exclamation or excitement. However, the exact meaning often depends on context.

啊 (a) Expressing Exclamation

When used like this, 啊 (a) is placed at the end of a statement and has a tone of exclamation, excitement or enthusiasm. (In a lot of cases, the only English "translation" you can offer is an exclamation point.)

Examples

  • Banging fist on table...Duì a! You're right!
  • 这里 好 漂亮 Zhèlǐ hǎo piàoliang a!This place is so pretty!
  • 你 家 真 大 Nǐ jiā zhēn dà a! Your house is so big.
  • 学 中文 真 难 Xué Zhōngwén zhēn nán a! Learning Chinese is so hard!
  • 好 香 !什么东西 ? Hǎo xiāng a! Shénme dōngxi? It smells great! What is it?

啊 (a) Expressing Certainty or Urgency

啊 (a) can also add a sense of certainty or urgency to a statement, sometimes with the feeling of an order.

Examples

  • ,我 也 觉得 !Shì a, wǒ yě juéde! Definitely, I think so too!
  • Xíng a!All right!
  • 可以 Kěyǐ a! It's fine!
  • 小心 Xiǎoxīn a! Be careful!
  • Chī a! Eat some!

啊 (a) Used in Questions

Finally, it can be used with questions, again with a sense of urgency or concern for the listener.

Examples

  • 你 走 不 走 Nǐ zǒu bu zǒu a? Are you going or what?
  • 你 吃 不 吃 Nǐ chī bu chī a? Are you eating or not?
  • 谁 说 的 Shéi shuō de a? Who said so?
  • 你 傻 Nǐ shǎ a? What are you, stupid?
  • 看 什么 ?没 见 过 漂亮 姑娘 Kàn shénme a? Méi jiàn guo piàoliang gūniang a?What are you looking at? Have you never seen a pretty girl before?

See also

Sources and further reading

Books