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Making Sense of Grammar
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What are the differences between the alternative conjunctions 或(者) and 還是?

asked Apr 20, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (19,380 points)
edited Apr 20, 2018 by admin

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或(者) and 還是 can be translated as “or” in English, but there’s a distinction between these two words.

還是 typically appears in a question which offers choices, while 或者 is normally used in a statement.

請你給我一杯茶或(者)咖啡。

qǐng nǐ gěi wǒ yī bēi chá huò ( zhě ) kā fēi

Please give me (either) a cup of tea or a cup of coffee.

你要汽水還是茶?

nǐ yào qì shuǐ huán shì chá

Do you want soda or tea?

When 或者 is used in a question, it is an affirmative-negative question or a question with the sentence-final particle ma (嗎).

我想喝一點飲料,有沒有茶或者汽水? (=有茶或者汽水嗎?)

wǒ xiǎng hē yī diǎn yǐn liào , yǒu méi yǒu chá huò zhě qì shuǐ

I want to drink something. Is there tea or soda?

Reference: YUFA! A Practical Guide to Mandarin Chinese Grammar

answered Apr 20, 2018 by admin (19,380 points)
edited Apr 24, 2018 by admin
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