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.||我不会看电影。||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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