Asking questions in Chinese
Essential in any conversation is the ability to ask and answer questions! Let’s discuss two common methods for forming questions in Chinese using grammatical particles 吗 (ma) and 呢 (ne).
Asking questions with 吗 (ma)
To form a question in Chinese, simply add the grammatical particle 吗 (“ma”) at the end of a phrase. You do not need to change the word order in the sentence, unlike English and many other European languages! Although we do not have a direct translation of 吗 in English, it can be roughly said to translate as “…right?” – although it has a less assuming tone.
Asking questions with 呢 (ne)
After responding to someone’s question, you can bounce it back to them using the reciprocal question word 呢 (“ne”). This can be roughly translated as “How about…” or “What about…“.