Jump to: navigation, search

Challenging a verb with "shenme"

Chinese-grammar-wiki-shenme.jpg

Adding 什么 (shénme) to the end of a verb can be used to change a sentence into a rhetorical question. This usage is often used with separable verbs.

Structure

The most common structure you will see is:

Verb + 什么 + Obj.

Examples

This usage is best illustrated with examples:

  • 什么 婚 !你们 结婚才 三 个 月 。The speaker is implying that getting divorced right after being married for three months is a ridiculous notion.
  • 什么 歉 啊 ,又 不 是 你 的 错 。The speaker is implying that apologizing is completely unnecessary.
  • 什么 玩笑 啊 ,你 撞 了 我 ,我 还要 跟 你 说 “对不起” ?The speaker is implying that it's a joke that he was asked to apologize to the guy who hit him.
  • 没有 钱 看 什么 电影 。The speaker is implying that there's no money to watch a movie.
  • 还 吃 什么 早饭 啊 ,要 迟到 了 。The speaker is implying that there's no time for breakfast.

Note that the questions above would likely be between friends, or at least two people who are quite familiar with each other. Tone of voice and context is key.

See also

Sources and further reading