6.8: Lesson 5 Grammar - Tag questions with 吗 (ma)
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As well as yes/no questions, you can also form tag questions with 吗 (ma). Tag questions are quick questions that are tagged on the end of a sentence to ask for confirmation. In English, this is often done with "right?" or negatively with "isn't it?"
The easiest way to do this in Chinese is to add some kind of confirmation word and 吗 (ma) on the end of the sentence.
As you can see below, the pattern typically involves words like 好 (hǎo), 对 (duì), 是 (shì), or 可以 (kěyǐ), followed by 吗 (ma).
……， 好 / 对 / 是 / 可以 + 吗？
By placing these on the end of a sentence, you can soften a suggestion or request confirmation.
Zhèyàng zuò, duì ma?
Do it like this, right?
Nǐmen jiàn guo, duì ma?
You’ve met, right?
Tāmen zuótiān dōu méi qù, shì ma?
They didn't go yesterday, right?
Nǐ méi lái guo, shì ma?
You haven't been here, right?
Nǐ xǐhuan wǒ mèimei, shì ma?
You like my younger sister, huh?
Wǒmen qù nǐ jiā, hǎo ma?
Let's go to your place, OK?
Bùyào gàosu tā, hǎo ma?
Don't tell him, OK?
Jīntiān wǒmen dōu bù hējiǔ, hǎo ma?
Let's all not drink alcohol today, OK?
Wǒ xiànzài xiǎng qù xǐshǒujiān, kěyǐ ma?
I want to go to the bathroom now. Is that OK?
Māma, wǒ yào chī qiǎokèlì, kěyǐ ma?
Mom, I want to eat chocolate. May I?
[adapted from AllSet Learning Chinese Grammar Wiki, Creative Commons License BY-NC-SA 3.0]
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