Difference between revisions of "Yes-no questions with "ma""
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The question particle 吗 (ma) is a simple way to form questions in Chinese. By placing 吗 (ma) on the end of a statement, you convert it into a ''yes/no question''
The question particle 吗 (ma) is a simple way to form questions in Chinese. By placing 吗 (ma) on the end of a statement, you convert it into a ''yes/no question'' (questions that could be answered with ''yes'' or ''no'' in English).
== Basic Usage ==
== Basic Usage ==
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+ 吗 ？
Revision as of 07:25, 12 February 2016
The question particle 吗 (ma) is a simple way to form questions in Chinese. By placing 吗 (ma) on the end of a statement, you convert it into a yes/no question (questions that could be answered with yes or no in English).
Any statement can be converted into a yes / no question with 吗 (ma). You could think of 吗 (ma) as being like a question mark you say out loud. So the basic structure is:
[Statement] + 吗 ？
- 你 喜欢 咖啡 。 (statement)You like coffee.
"You like coffee" can easily be converted into "Do you like coffee?" by adding 吗 (ma):
- 你 喜欢 咖啡 吗？ (question)Do you like coffee?
More examples of statements and their yes/no question forms:
- 你 是 大 学生 。 (statement)You are a college student.
- 你 是 学生 吗 ？ (question)Are you a college student?
- 他 是 老板。 (statement)He is the boss.
- 他 是 老板 吗 ？(question)Is he the boss?
- 你 喜欢 她。 (statement)You like her.
- 你 喜欢 她 吗 ？ (question) Do you like her?
- 你 想 家。 (statement)You miss home.
- 你 想 家 吗 ？ (question)Do you miss home?
- 爸爸 喜欢 喝 茶。 (statement)Dad likes drinking tea.
- 爸爸 喜欢 喝 茶 吗 ？ (question)Does dad like drinking tea?
- 你们 也 去。 (statement) You also go.
- 你们 也 去 吗 ？ (question)Are you also going?
- 他 在 你们 学校 学 中文。 (statement) He studies Chinese in your school.
- 他 在 你们 学校 学 中文 吗 ？ (question) Does he study Chinese in your school?
- 我 见 过 他 。 (statement)I've met him.
- 我见 过 他 吗 ？ (question)Have I met him?
- 妈妈 会 做 饭。 (statement)Mom knows how to cook.
- 妈妈 会 做 饭 吗 ？ (question) Does mom know how to cook?
- 你 昨天 没 去 上班。 (statement)You didn't go to work yesterday.
- 你 昨天 没 去 上班 吗 ？ (question)Did you not go to work yesterday?
It's important to remember that you do not normally add 吗 (ma) to a sentence that's already a question. For example:
- 你 是 谁 吗？(谁 is a question word)
- 这 是 不 是 书 吗？(是不是 is a question pattern)
These would be something like "Are you who are you?" and "Is this is a book?" in English--both obviously wrong. Still, if you're not careful, you may find yourself throwing a 吗 (ma) onto the end of a question that doesn't need it. Many learners make this mistake, so don't worry if it happens every once in a while, just catch it and remember it the next time.
More Advanced Usage
However, this doesn't mean that a sentence can't ever have a question word and 吗 (ma). If a sentence contains verbs of understanding such as "知道 (zhīdao),了解 (liǎojié), 明白 (míngbai), 认识 (rènshi)" etc, then "吗" (ma) can still be added at the end of the question.
This is not a necessary pattern for a beginner to know, but you may also wish to read about advanced yes-no questions with "ma".
Sources and further reading
- Yoyo Chinese: Yes-no Questions with 吗