Marking a topic with "ma"

嘛 (ma) can be used for topic marking. It basically allows the speaker to state the topic, then gather his thoughts before making a comment on it. In this pattern, the following comment may or may not be one the speaker feels is obvious.


Topic + 嘛 ,Statement


  • 大 熊猫 ,大家 都 喜欢 。Dà xióngmāo ma, dàjiā dōu xǐhuan.Pandas. Everybody likes them.
  • 名牌 ,一定 不 便宜 。Míngpái ma, yīdìng bù piányi.Brandname. It can't be cheap.
  • 第 一 次 ,以后 就 会 了 。Dì-yī cì ma, yǐhòu jiù huì le.First time. You'll learn soon.
  • 孩子 ,不 懂 这些 很 正常 。Háizi ma, bù dǒng zhèxiē hěn zhèngcháng.Kids. It's common that they don't understand these things .
  • 老板 请客 ,当然 要 大方 。Lǎobǎn qǐngkè ma, dāngrán yào dàfang.The boss is buying. Of course I need to be generous.

See also

Sources and further reading