City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Feb 1 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,470 points) | 34 views

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吧 ba, in addition to being a sentence particle indicating a suggestion, also has some colloquial usages:

(1) To express indecision, when available courses of action all seem impossible or problematic:

去吧,没空;不去吧,不好意思。

Qù ba,méi kòng;bù qù ba,bù hǎo yì si。

I don’t really have time to go, but I’d be embarrassed if I didn’t.

到餐馆去吃吧,太贵;自己做饭吃吧,太累。

Dào cān guǎn qù chī ba,tài guì;zì jǐ zuò fàn chī ba,tài lèi。

It’s too expensive to eat out, but I’m too tired to cook.

(2) To convey a tone of resignation in the pattern ‘verb/adjective + 就jiù +the same verb/adjective + 吧ba + clause’:

丢就丢了吧,再买一个。

Diū jiù diū le ba ,zài mǎi yī gè。

If it’s lost, it’s lost; I’ll just have to buy another one.

喝就喝吧,可别喝醉了。

Hē jiǔ hē ba ,kě bié hē zuì le。

If you want to drink, drink, but don’t get drunk.

瘦就瘦吧,反正没病。

Shòu jiù shòu ba,fǎn zhèng méi bìng。

If I’m thin, I’m thin, so long as I’m not ill.

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

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