Chinese Sentence Structure and Word Order IX – Part I

This grammar section is divided into a few sub-sections, and will be described through a few week activities:

SP1. Basic Pattern
SP2. Direct and Indirect Objects
SP3. Prepositional Phrases
SP4. Location and Time Phrases
SP5. Adverbs
SP6. Negation
SP7. Duration
SP8. Noun
SP9. Question
SP10. Particle

SP9 : Question – Yes-No Questions

  • In Chinese, the words order in questions is identical to the order of phrases in statements.   


    What are you doing?
    zài zuò shén me ?
    Subject Verb Question Word
    you doing what

    The Anwser:

    I am eating.
    zài chī fàn
    Subject Verb Object
    I eating rice
  • Here are a few types Yes-No Questions that we have learnt so far:
  • Today we will study in details the sentence structure for these Yes-No Questions.
  • For Questions with 吗 and 呢:

    – Statement (subject + verb ) + (particle : 吗 / 呢) ?

    1. Are you Chinese?
    shì zhōng guó rén ma
    Declarative Sentence
    you are Chinese Question
    2. I am Chinese, what about you?
    shì zhōng guó rén ne
    Declarative Sentence Phrase
    I am Chinese you Question
  • For Questions Verb-Not-Verb, 是否 and either-or (还是):

    – subject + [是否] + predicate ?
    – subject + [ verb + not (不/没) + verb ] + predicate / object ?
    – subject + [ noun phrase/verb phrase/sentence + 还是 + noun phrase/verb phrase/sentence] ?

    1. Are you Chinese?
    shì fǒu shì zhōng guó rén
    Subject Question
    you whether are Chinese
    2. Are you Chinese?
    shì shì zhōng guó rén
    Subject Question
    you yes or not Chinese
    3. Are you Chinese or Japanese
    shì zhōng guó rén hái shì běn rén
    Subject Phrase Question
    you are Chinese or Japanese
  • Here are just a few Yes-No questions. Try the above links to see more examples of questions.
  • Have a nice weekend.
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17 thoughts on “Chinese Sentence Structure and Word Order IX – Part I”

  1. Hi Min Min

    What is the difference between 做 and 作?
    Under what circumstances are each used?


    1. Hi Βωων Κυαν,
      做 and 作 have the same pronunciation zuò. Many people make mistake while using these 2 words.

      ‘做’ means do and can be used as a standalone verb, example : 做工,做功课,做事。
      ‘作’ seldom used as a single word. Usually it will combine with other characters to produce a new meaningful word, example : 工作,作品,作者。

      I hope this will help. Thanks.

  2. 你好敏敏,




  3. What is meant by 动词 and 名词?

    Can you say 做 such as 做工,做功课,做事 is a verb
    and 作 is a noun such as 工作,作品,作者?

    What is the difference between 候 and 后?


    1. Hi Βωων Κυαν,
      Yes. Most the time, 做 is a verb and 作 is a noun. But in some occasions, 作 can be a verb too.
      For 候 and 后, I think klw has given a good explanation.

  4. 你好敏敏

    是否是“China Expert”?




  5. Hi Min²

    How many days old should posts be under the
    “Recent Comments” before you delete them?

    Are there any archives where one can look up
    old posts?


    1. Hi Βωων Κυαν,
      The Recent Comments is a WordPress plugin that I installed.
      I think it will display the latest 6 comments.

  6. I don’t know if you’re still here, but I want to say that this is the best Chinese-teaching website I have ever found.
    Many thanks.

  7. excellent materials..
    Thank you for sharing.
    Is there anyway to print all of the material at one time ? If so how

    1. Hi Davoud Derogar,
      I do not have PDF version of the grammar notes.
      I will try to create one if I have time.

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