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Rhetorical questions

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汉语的反问句有很多种句型。一般性是非问句加上反问语气就可以构成疑问句。下面就来介绍几种汉语里常用的反问句句型。

Basic Rhetorical Question

Rhetorical Question only using 吗

Structure

Subj. + Verb Phrase + 吗?

Examples

  • 你 想 进去?你 有 票 吗?(你 没 票。)Nǐ xiǎng jìnqù ma? Nǐ yǒu piào ma? (Nǐ méi piào.)You want to come in? Do you even have a ticket?(You don't have a ticket.)
  • 他 要 来 我 家?我 认识 他 吗?(我 不 认识 他。)Tā yào lái wǒjiā? Wǒ rènshi tā ma? (Wǒ bù rènshi tā.)He wants to come to my house? Do I even know him?(I don't know him.)
  • 这么 贵,值得 吗?(不 值得。)Zhème guì, zhídé ma?(Bù zhídé.)It's so expensive. Is it even worth it?(It's not worth it.)

Rhetorical Question with 不 or 没

Structure

Subj. + 不 / 没 + Verb Phrase 吗?

Examples

  • 你 不 知道 他 结婚 了?你 不 是 他 最 好 的 朋友 吗?(你 是 他 最 好 的 朋友。)Nǐ bù zhīdào tā jiéhūn le? Nǐ bù shì tā zuì hǎo de péngyǒu ma?(Nǐ shì tā zuì hǎo de péngyǒu.)You don't know that he got married? Aren't you his best friend?(You are his best friend.)
  • 你 不 能 去 那儿!我 没 告诉 你 吗?(我 已经 告诉 你 了。)Nǐ bù néng qù nà'er! Wǒ méi gàosu nǐ ma?( Wǒ yǐjīng gàosu nǐ le.)You can't go there! Did I not tell you that?(I told you that.)

Rhetorical Question with 还不 or 还没

Structure

Subj. + 还不 / 还没 +Verb Phrase (吗)?

Examples

  • 我 已经 说 对不起 了。你 还 生气?(你 不 应该 生气 了。)Wǒ yǐjīng shuō duìbùqǐle, nǐ hái shēngqì? (Nǐ bù yīnggāi shēngqì le.)I already said I'm sorry. Are you still mad? (You should stop being mad.)
  • 已经 十一 点 半 了!他 还 没 到 家?(他 应该 到 家 了。)Yǐjīng shí yī diǎn bàn le! Tā hái méi dào jiā? (Tā yīnggāi dào jiā le.)It's already half past eleven. He hasn't arrived home yet?(He should be home by now.)

Advanced Rhetorical Question

Rhetorical Question with 怎么

Literally, it means "cow could" or "how is it possible that."

Structure

Subj. + 怎么 + 会 / 能 / 可能 + Verb Phrase (呢) ?

The 呢 is optional.

Examples

  • 六 个 月 大 的 宝宝 怎么 会 走路 呢?Liù gè yuè dà de bǎobǎo zěnme huì zǒulù ne? How can a six-month-old baby walk?
  • 怎么 能 这样 跟 你 父母 说话 呢?zěnme néng gēn nǐ de fùmǔ zhèyàng shuōhuà ne?How can you talk to your parents like that?
  • 他 结婚 才 两 个 月,怎么可能 这么 快 就 离婚 了?Tā jiéhūn cái liǎng gè yuè, zěnme kěnéng Zhème kuài jiù líhūn le?He's been married for only two months. How could he possibly get divorced so soon?

Rhetorical Question with 难道

Structure

“难道(nándào)” is only used to make the tone stronger. "吗"可以省略。

难道 + Subj. + Verb Phrase (吗)?

Subj. + 难道 + Verb Phrase (吗)?

Examples

  • 我 已经 结婚 了!你 难道 不 知道?Wǒ yǐjīng jiéhūn le, nǐ nándào bù zhīdào? I'm already married. Did you not know that?
  • 你 为什么 要 帮 他 做?难道 他 自己 不 会 做 吗?Nǐ wèishéme yào bāng tā zuò? Nándào tā zìjǐ bù huì zuò ma?Why would you help him do it? Can't he do it by himself?
  • 他 说 的 都 是 对的。难道 你 不 同意 吗?Tā shuō de dōu shì duì de. Nándào nǐ bù tóngyì?What he said is right. Do you disagree?
  • 我 把 钱 放 在 桌子 上 了。难道 你 没 看见 吗?Wǒ bǎ qián fàng zài zhuōzi shàng le. Nándào nǐ méi kànjiàn ma?I put the money on the table. Did you not see it?

Rhetorical Question with 哪儿 or 哪里

Structure

"哪儿" or "哪里" here doesn't act as a question word "where." It's used to express the negation. "啊"可以省略.

Subj. + 哪儿 / 哪里 + Verb Phrase (啊)?

Examples

  • 哪里 知道 ?我 才 来 两 天。nǎlǐ zhīdào? Wǒ cái lái liǎng tiān.How would I know? I've only been here for two days.
  • 他 才 三 岁,哪儿 懂 这 个 ?Tā cái sān suì, nǎ'er dǒng zhège?He's only three. How could he understand stuff like that?
  • 哪儿 能 让 一 个 孩子 拿 这么 重 的 东西?nǎ'er néng ràng yīgè xiǎohái ná zhème zhòng de dōngxi?How can you ask a kid to carry something so heavy?

Sources and further reading