City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Feb 28 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 52 views

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No. Since the word order in a question and in a statement is basically the same, there is no distinction between a direct question and an indirect question in Chinese.

(a) Question mark used with an indirect question

English: Go ask Xiao Li if he has eaten.

你去问一下小李,吃饭了没有?

Nǐ qù wèn yī xià xiǎo lǐ ,chī fàn le méi yǒu ?

(This is an indirect question with a question mark.)

(b) Common mistake

An indirect affirmative-negative question is often translated into English with the word ‘if’. Learners who are English speakers should avoid the common mistake of actually translating ‘if’ into words such as 要是 or 如果.

李:他跟你说了些什么?

lǐ :tā gēn nǐ shuō le xiē shí me ?

Li: What did he say to you?

张:他问我能不能帮他一个忙?

zhāng :tā wèn wǒ néng bú néng bāng tā yī gè máng ?

Zhang: He asked if I could help him.

(This is an indirect question, but a question mark is correct. Also, do not say 他问我要是我能帮他一个忙.)

[1] Yip, P. C., Rimmington, D., Xiaoming, Z., & Henson, R. (2009). Basic Chinese: a grammar and workbook. Taylor & Francis.
answered Feb 28 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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