City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Feb 2 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,470 points) | 30 views

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Although questions with 吧 and 吗 both indicate that the speaker has made an assumption of the situation and has an expectation as to what the answer will be, 吧 shows a stronger assumption or expectation than 吗.

(Situation: Someone has bought several French textbooks and two French dictionaries at a bookshop. The cashier could ask any of the following:)

你是学法文的吧?

Nǐ shì xué fǎ wén de ba ?

You must be studying French, aren’t you?

你是学法文的吗?

Nǐ shì xué fǎ wén de ma ?

Are you studying French?

你是不是学法文的?

Nǐ shì bú shì xué fǎ wén de?

Are you (or are you not) studying French?

[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 by Ariel (34,470 points)

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1,435 questions
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11,636 users