City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Feb 2, 2021 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 150 views

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Frequently 吗 is used (instead of an affirmative–negative question affirmative–negative questions) when the person asking the question expects the answer

to be ‘yes’.

(Situation: Seeing a friend getting out of a new car, you ask him if he has just bought a new car.)

你买新车了吗?

Nǐ mǎi xīn chē le ma?

Did you buy a new car? (You bought a new car?)

(An affirmative–negative question 你买新车了没有? would not be proper in this context since there is a strong indication that he did.)

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.

[2] Teng, W. H. (2016). Yufa! A practical guide to Mandarin Chinese grammar. Taylor & Francis.

answered Feb 2, 2021 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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