City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Dec 15, 2020 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,470 points) | 40 views

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A stronger form of rhetorical question is couched in the negative where the speaker is actually inviting a positive answer. The interrogative particle 吗 ma may be added, but the question can sound even more rhetorical without it:

你不是去过美国吗?

Nǐ bú shì qù guò měi guó ma?

Didn’t/Don’t you know?

你不是说她是俄国人吗?

Nǐ bú shì shuō tā shì é guó rén ma?

Hasn’t he told you?

中国话不是有很多不同的方言吗?

Zhōng guó huà bú shì yǒu hěn duō bú tóng de fāng yán ma?

Don’t you like dancing?

他不是把那本小说翻译成英文了吗?

Tā bú shì bǎ nà běn xiǎo shuō fān yì chéng yīng wén le ma?

Aren’t you a doctor?

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.
answered Dec 15, 2020 by Ariel (34,470 points)

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