Posted by Grace Feng on December 14, 2011
If you’ve followed my lessons to this far, the previous topic “How to ask questions in Chinese? (1)” might leave you wonder what if I want to ask questions that don’t have enough known information to structure as a statement first. Such as “W” questions in English. For example, questions as below:
What is your name?
Where is your baby sister?
When did you go home?
Which one is Beijing University?
How did your presentation go?
Well, the strategy to structure the above questions in Chinese is still the same as it was in the previous lesson.
Turn the sentence into a statement, fill the unknown information with corresponding “W” or “H” words: what, where, when, which, how etc..
I’ll show you the way to do it in the following examples:
1) What is your name?
The process to form the sentence in Chinese is:
Your name is what. ==> Your name is what?
nǐ de míng zi shì shén me
你的名字是什么 ==> 你的名字是什么?
Isn’t it straight forward enough? OK then, let’s learn a few new words first before we move on:
|shén me||nǎlǐ, nǎr||shén me shí hòu|
|什么 (what)||哪里, 哪儿 (where)||什么时候 (when)|
|nǎ yī ge||zěn me yàng||míng zi|
|哪一个( which)||怎么样 (how)||名字 (name)|
|mèi mei||zài||Běi jīng|
|妹妹(younger sister)||在 (at)||北京(Beijing)|
|dà xué||bào gào|
|大学 (university)||报告 (presentation)|
Please read out loud with the recording for a few times for each of the new words. Write them on paper with the help of estroke tool for a few times too until you can speak and recognize all of them without checking back on their pinyin or translation. Then move on …
Once you’ve passed the “new words” phrase, please go on with the rest of the examples (each uses one “W” or “H” word). Pay attention to the top sentence that is written in English, but in Chinese word order.
2) Where is your baby sister?
Your baby sister is where. ==> Your baby sister is where?
nǐ de mèimei zài nǎlǐ
你的妹妹在哪里. ==> 你的妹妹在哪里?
3) When did you go home?
You when went home. ==> You when went home?
nǐ shén me shí hou huí de jiā
你什么时候回的家. ==> 你什么时候回的家?
4) Which one is Beijing University?
Which one is Beijing University. ==> Which one is Beijing University?
nǎ yī ge shì Běi jīng Dà xué
哪一个是北京大学. ==> 哪一个是北京大学?
5) How did your presentation go?
Your presentation went how. ==> Your presentation went how?
nǐ de bào gào zěn me yàng
你的报告怎么样. ==> 你的报告怎么样?
In brief, for “W” questions in Chinese, just simply replace the unknown word with “W” or “H” word and add a question mark to the end of the sentence.
I’ll show you how many “W” or “H” words in Chinese you need to know to form these type of questions. Again, they are only a few, I’d suggest you to memorize the following basic mapping list, so they’ll become handy when your smart brain cells need to reach them.
|What – 什么|
|where – 哪里, 哪儿|
|when – 什么时候|
|which – 哪一个|
|how – 怎么样|
Enough of questions. Hope you’re not overwhelmed so far. Now let’s have some take-away for today’s lesson. Please use google or any search engine you like to search for the above “W” or “H” words in Chinese. See whether you can figure out what is being asked. You can use an online dictionary to help you translate the Chinese words in the question.
Again, repeat with the recording for as many times as you could. See if you can create some “W” questions in Chinese with the help of online dictionary. You’re welcomed to paste the questions you created in your comment too!
Enjoy your Christmas shopping and see you soon!
Category: JLC Chinese grammar lessons
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