Xue-Hanyu.com: Learn Chinese:

Grammar: Questions

  1. Yes-no questions
  2. Question words

Yes-no questions

In Chinese there are two ways to change a statement into a yes-no question.

1) Adding a question particle to the end of the sentence

ma(question particle)
A)你会说中文Nǐ huì shuō Zhōngwén ma?Do you speak Chinese?
B)你有笔Nǐ yǒu bǐ ma?Do you have a pen?
C)她走Tā zǒule ma?Did she leave?
D)他去中国Tā qùguo Zhōngguó ma?Has he been to China?

2) Repeating the verb by it's negated form

A)你会不会说中文?Nǐ huì bu huì shuō Zhōngwén?Do you speak Chinese?
B)你有没有笔?Nǐ yǒu méiyǒu bǐ?Do you have a pen?

For past tense, the auxiliary verb is used, while the particle is omitted.

C)没有走?yǒu méiyǒu zǒu?Did she leave?
D)没有中国?yǒu méiyǒuguo Zhōngguó?Has he been to China?

Answer

In Chinese, there are no words for yes and no, but two ways to answer yes-no questions.

1) Repeating the verb

A)huìYes, I do
A)不会bú huìNo, I don't
B)yǒuYes, I have
B)没有méiyǒuNo, I haven't
C)走了zǒuleYes, she did
C)méi(yǒu) zǒuNo, she didn't
D)去过qùguoYes, he has
D)去过méi(yǒu) qùguoNo, he hasn't

2) Using a replacement verb

是的shì deSo it is
duìRight
不是búshìIt isn't
(present tense/imperfect)
没有méiyǒuIt wasn't
(past tense/perfect)

Question words

The question word is always in place of the unknown part of the sentence. So the word order doesn't change at all.

Exception: is placed on the end of the sentence.

The final particle may be added to the question in order to emphase it.

你在哪里Nǐ zài nǎlǐ a?Where are you?
newhat about
什么shénmewhat
shá 话what
shéiwho
哪个nǎgè / něigèwhich
哪儿nǎr [N]where
哪里nǎlǐwhere
什么时候shénme shíhouwhen
何时héshí 文when
多久duōjiǔhow long (time)
多长时间duōcháng shíjiānhow long (time)
多久…一次duōjiǔ ... yícìhow often
多常duōchánghow often
how much, how many (numbers up to 10)
多少duōshǎohow much, how many (larger numbers)
为什么wèishénmewhy
为何wèihé 文why
怎么zěnmehow, how come (why)
怎么样zěnmeyànghow
如何rúhé 文how