City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Nov 18, 2020 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Mickey (7,400 points) | 30 views

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Although zěnme 怎么and wèishénme为什么 can both mean ‘why’, they are different in pragmatics. Speakers usually express a weird tone when using zěnme 怎么, as they tend to use 怎么(How come) to ask abnormal things? For example,

Zěnme          tiān      biànchéng   hóngsè  le?

How come    sky     change into     red

‘How come does sky change into the red color?’

From the example, we can see that it is abnormal to see the red sky, and therefore speaker tends to use zěnme 怎么.

In addition, there is an interrogative tone when using zěnme 怎么, which means you should not do it. For example,

你怎么打人?

Nǐ       zěnme      dǎrén

You      why    hit people

‘Why do you hit others?’
answered Nov 18, 2020 by Mickey (7,400 points)

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1,162 questions
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13 comments
7,389 users