6 types of questions

1. Questions with  吗

This is the most commonly used type of question. The person who asks this kind of question has some idea concerning the answer.

Q: 你  是       中国     人  ?                      A:  是/我    是  / 对,  我   是。
    Nǐ shì Zhōngguó rén ma ?                    Shì /Wǒ shì /Duì ,wǒ shì.
    Are you Chinese?

Q:  明天       你   去    公司  ?                   A:  去/ 我     去 / 对,  我  去。
     Míngtiān nǐ qù gōngsī ma ?                  Qù / Wǒ qù /Duì ,wǒ qù
     Are you going to the company tomorrow?

The response to such a question may be a complete sentence or a sentence with its subject or object omitted.

2. Affirmative-negative questions

This type of question is also frequently used. The question is formed by juxtaposing the affirmative and negative form of the main element of the predicate (verb or adjective) in a sentence.

Q: 你  学校    大 不 大?                          A: 挺大的。
     Nǐ xuéxiào dà bú dà ?                          Tǐng dà de
     Is your school big or not?                      Quite big.

Q: 你  有 没有   弟弟?                              A: 有/我有。
     Nǐ yǒu méiyǒu dìdi ?                             Yǒu/Wǒ yǒu
     Do your have little brothers or not?     I have.

Q: 你   朋友   认 不 认识  他?                   A: 认识。
     Nǐ péngyǒu rèn bù rènshi tā ?             Rènshi
     Does your friend know him or not?      He knows.

Note: Some verbs or adjectives have two morphemes, such as 认识 rènshi,喜欢 xǐhuān, in this case we can use their abbreviated forms, 认不认识 rèn bú rènshi,喜不喜欢 xǐ bù xǐhuān. And remember in this type of sentence the particle 吗 ma is omitted.

3. Questions with an interrogative pronoun

By using 谁 shuí, 什么 shénme,哪 nǎ,哪儿 nǎr,怎么 zěnme,怎么样 zěnme yàng,多少 duōshǎo,几 jǐ ,this type of questions specifically asks who, what, which,where, how, how about,or how many.

今天    号?
Jīntiān hào ?
What date is it today?

你   想     吃  什么
Nǐ xiǎng chī shénme
What do you want to eat?

你  在 哪儿 学    中文?
Nǐ zài nǎr xué zhōngwén ?
Where do you study Chinese?

4. Alternative questions with 还是háishì

There are two or more possibilities in this type of questions.

Q: 你 的  车   是  新 的 还是  旧 的?                        A: 新的。
     Nǐ de chē shì xīn de háishì jiù de ?                     Xīn de
     Is your bike new or old?                                       


Q: 我们        上午      去   还是      下午  去?           A: 上午。
    Wǒmen shàngwǔ qù háishì xiàwǔ qù ?             Shàngwǔ
    Do we go in the morning or in the afternoon?

5. Tag questions with 好吗 hǎo ma? 是不是 shì bú shì? 是吗 shì ma?

Questions with 好吗 hǎo ma?or 可以吗 kěyǐ ma?are usually used to ask someone’s opinion concerning the suggestion put forward in the first part of the sentence. Questions with 是不是 shì bú shì?是吗 shì ma?are usually used to confirm the judgement made in the first part of the sentence.

Ask for opinions:

Q: 我们       去     锻炼,        好    吗?              A: 好啊/行啊。
     Wǒmen qù duànliàn ,hǎo ma ?                   Hǎo ā /Xíng ā
     Let´s go do some exercises, ok?                       Sure!

Q: 我们      去    看      电影,       怎么    样?       A: 好主意!
    Wǒmen qù kàn diànyǐng ,zěnme yàng ?        Hǎo zhǔyì! 
    Let´s go to the movie, shall we?                         Good idea!  

Confirm information:

Q: 你 去    过            中国,  对吗?                   A: 对,我去过。
    Nǐ qù guò Zhōngguó ,duì ma ?                     Duì, wǒ qù guò
    You have been to China, correct?                    Yes,i have been there.

Q:你喜欢吃中国菜,是不是?                             A: 对,我很喜欢。
   Nǐ xǐhuān chī Zhōngguó cài ,shì bú shì ?     Duì ,Wǒ hěn xǐhuān
   You like Chinese food, yes?                                 Yes, i like it a lot.

6. Elliptical questions with the question particle 呢 ne

The meaning of this type of question is usually illustrated clearly by the previous sentence.

Q: 我    很 好,  你呢?                                                  A: 我也很好。
    Wǒ hěn hǎo ,nǐ ne ?                                                  Wǒ yě hěn hǎo
    I am fine, how about you?                                            I am fine too.


Q:我      上午    没有    课,    你呢?                              A: 我也没有。
   Wǒ shàngwǔ méiyǒu kè ,nǐ ne ?                              Wǒ yě méi yǒu
   I didn´t have class this morning, how about you?   I don´t have either.

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