Softening the tone of questions with "ne"
We have seen before that 吧 can be used to soften the tone of statements, or make commands feel more like suggestions. 呢 works in same way, but it is used to make questions more indirect and uncertain in tone.
呢 Used Successively with 还是
呢 can be used successively in questions using 还是.
Option 1 + 呢 + 还是 + Option 2 + 呢？
- 我 去 缅甸 呢，还是 泰国呢？我 得 想 一 想！Should I go to Myanmar or Thailand? I have to think a bit!
- 咱们 打 游戏 呢 ，还是 泡吧 呢 ，我 都 可以！Should we play video games or go to the bar? I'm OK with either!
The example sentences above almost have a tone that the speaker is talking to him/herself, as the question is not directly asked of the listener. A second verb is only necessary if different from the first verb.
呢 with Questions Involving Interrogative Pronouns
Interrogative pronouns, of course, include 哪儿，谁，怎么，什么, 为什么, 什么时候, etc.
⋯⋯Interrogative Pronoun⋯⋯ + 呢？
- 这 是 谁 的 笔 呢?I wonder whose pen this is?
- 他 去 哪儿 了 呢？I wonder where he's going?
- 怎么 会 呢？How could that be?
In the previous examples, the speaker has a tone of conjecture, a bit like saying "I wonder" in English. Again, as in the first usage, the question is not directly asked of the listener. Overusing 呢 in your questions can sound a bit feminine, though, so keep this in mind.
呢 with "Verb 不 Verb" Questions
If a "verb 不 verb" question is posed without 呢, it can appear as though the speaker is a bit impatient, or is ordering the listener to do something. Tone of voice used is also an important factor here, and adding 呢 can give a tone of uncertainty, which sounds less demanding and more polite.
Subj. + Verb 1 + 不 + Verb 1 + (Verb 2) + 呢？
- 你 去 不 去 逛街 ？Said as though demanding an answer, potentially in a hurry.Well are you going to go shopping or what?
- 你 去 不 去 逛街 呢？Less intense, just asking a question.Are you going to go shopping?
- 牛奶 你 喝 不 喝 ？Said to a child, with the implication that if the milk isn't drunk, there will be consequences, with emphasis placed on 喝Are you gonna drink the milk or not?
- 牛奶 你 喝 不 喝 呢？Perhaps said to a friend, with no implication of coercion. Perhaps you want to clear away their cup.Did you want to drink that milk?
- 你 周末 加 不 加班 ？Perhaps a manager asking a subordinate. This seems like an order, perhaps implying there will be consequences for not working overtime.You're working this weekend, right?
- 你 周末 能 不 能 加班 ？Perhaps a manager asking a subordinate. This is not super direct, as 能 has been added.Can you come into work on the weekend?
- 你 周末 能 不 能 加班 呢 ？Much more indirect than the above example, implying the person really does have a choice.Would you mind coming in on the weekend?")
Remember: the exact meaning of the above sentences depends on the full context, and tone of voice is very important as well. The interpretations given are just possible examples.