Questions with 不 (bù) and 没 (méi)

In Chinese, there are more than one way to ask questions. Besides interrogative pronouns, there is a way to ask if the answer you are looking for is a simple “yes” or “no.” We are talking about questions with 不 (bù) and 没 (méi).

In this post, we’ll talk about a way to ask these questions, that can also be called “affirmative-negative” questions. Why? Because they consist of an afirmative statement while at the same time denying it.

Questions with 不 (bù) and 没 (méi)

These questions are formed by duplicating the verb and including an adverb of negation, which can be 不 (bù) for present or future situations, or 没 (méi) for the past.

How to answer

As it happens with questions formed with the particle 吗 (ma), these “affirmative-negative” questions are answered with the same verb or adjective as the question itself.

Do you want to go to China?你要不要去中国?Nǐ yào bú yào qù Zhōngguó?
I don’t wanna go.我不要去。Wǒ bú yào qù.
Do you have a car?你有没有车?Nǐ yǒu méi yǒu chē?
Yes, I have有。Yǒu.
Are you cold?你冷不冷?Nǐ lěng bú lěng?
No, I’m not.我不冷。Wǒ bú lěng.

Adverbs of negation

The adverbs of negation are placed before the verb and, as mentioned above, we use 不 (bù) to deny the present and future tenses and 没 (méi) to deny the past (了 [le] is not used).

Mom is not at home.妈妈不在家。Māmā bú zài jiā.
I won’t watch the movie.不会看电影。Wǒ bú huì kàn diànyǐng.
My father hasn’t tried Chinese food.我爸爸没有吃过中国菜。Wǒ bàba méiyǒu chīguò Zhōngguó cài.
He didn’t go to school today.他今天没去学校。Tā jīntiān méi qù xuéxiào

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