City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Dec 16, 2020 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (16,050 points) | 17 views

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怎么 zěn me is used in rhetorical questions to convey a more contentious enquiry before a verb or modal verb:

他怎么会不明白呢?

Tā zěn me huì bú míng bái ne ?

How (on earth) can/could he fail to understand?

你怎么能不去呢?

Nǐ zěn me néng bú qù ne ?

How can you not go?

你怎么可以怪她呢!

Nǐ zěn me kě yǐ guài tā ne !

How can/could you blame her! (implies ‘You can’t blame her.’)

你怎么可以这么说呢?

Nǐ zěn me kě yǐ zhè me shuō ne ?

How can you put it like that?/How can you say that?

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.
answered Dec 16, 2020 by Ariel (16,050 points)

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1,133 questions
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13 comments
7,389 users