Tag questions with "ma"
As well as yes/no questions, you can also form tag questions with 吗 (ma). Tag questions are quick questions that are tagged on the end of a sentence to ask for confirmation. In English, this is often done with "right?" or negatively with "isn't it?"
The easiest way to do this in Chinese is to add some kind of confirmation word and 吗 (ma) on the end of the sentence.
As you can see below, the pattern typically involves words like 好 (hǎo), 对 (duì), 是 (shì), or 可以 (kěyǐ), followed by 吗 (ma).
⋯⋯， 好 / 对 / 是 / 可以 + 吗？
By placing these on the end of a sentence, you can soften a suggestion or request confirmation.
- 这样 做，对 吗 ？ Do it like this, right?
- 你们 见 过，对 吗 ？ You’ve met, right?
- 他们 昨天 都 没 去， 是 吗 ？ They didn't go yesterday, right?
- 你 没 来 过， 是 吗 ？ You haven't been here, right?
- 你 喜欢 我妹妹， 是 吗 ？ You like my younger sister, huh?
- 我们 去 你 家 ， 好 吗 ？ Let's go to your place, OK?
- 不要 告诉 他 ， 好 吗 ？ Don't tell him, OK?
- 今天 我们 都 不 喝酒， 好 吗 ？ Let's all not drink alcohol today, OK?
- 我 现在 想 去 洗手间， 可以 吗 ？I want to go to the bathroom now. Is that OK?
- 妈妈，我 要 吃 巧克力 ， 可以 吗 ？ Mom, I want to eat chocolate. May I?
Sources and Further Reading
- Chinese: An Essential Grammar, Second Edition (pp. 144-45) →buy
- New Practical Chinese Reader 1 (新实用汉语课本1) (pp. 218) →buy
- Integrated Chinese: Level 1, Part 1 (3rd ed) (pp. 106) →buy