Sentence-final interjection "a"
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.)
- 对 啊 ！Banging fist on table...You're right!
- 这里 好 漂亮 啊 ！This place is so pretty!
- 你 家 真 大 啊 ！Your house is so big.
- 学 中文 真 难 啊 ！Learning Chinese is so hard!
- 好 香 啊 ！什么东西 ？ 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.
- 是 啊 ，我 也 觉得 ！Definitely, I think so too!
- 行 啊 ！All right!
- 可以 啊 ！It's fine!
- 小心 啊 ！Be careful!
- 吃 啊 ！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.
- 你 走 不 走 啊 ？ Are you going or what?
- 你 吃 不 吃 啊 ？Are you eating or not?
- 谁 说 的 啊 ？Who said so?
- 你 傻 啊 ？What are you, stupid?
- 看 什么 啊 ？没 见 过 漂亮 姑娘 啊 ？ What are you looking at? Have you never seen a pretty girl before?
Sources and further reading
- HSK Standard Course 1 (pp. 107) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- A Practical Chinese Grammar For Foreigners (外国人实用汉语语法) (pp. 142-3) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 2, Part 2 (pp. 51-4) 40 Lessons for Basic Chinese Course (基础汉语40课上册） →buy