When to use the particle 嘛 ("ma")?
Hi guys! I'm only 15 and a Newbie here so please bare with me ^.^
I know when you ask a question, you use the "ma" particle but are they interchangeable with a question mark or do you only use one or the other? I mean, you wouldn't use both at the end of the sentence, would you? I just wondered because I see some Chinese sentences which use question marks and some that use "ma". Is there a "correct" one to use or does it not matter too much?
richJuly 20, 2009, 03:21 PM
No no... first of all, the above "ma"s should all be
吗(or traditional: 嗎)
Second of all, in Chinese grammar, speaking or writing the 吗 must be used for questions UNLESS the main verb is said in a positive-negative form.
Example, for "Are you well?":
Both are either said or written like this, you must have the 吗 in the first example, and a question mark of course used in the written. The reason you sometimes don't see 吗 is because of the second example, in which one is asking "Are you well or not well?"
I'm sure there is much more written on this in the grammar guide.
plzholdtheline2July 20, 2009, 03:39 PM
Oh yeah, thanks guys :) That's what I meant. I was getting confused between the simplified and traditional as I originally started to learn Cantonese/Traditional Chinese but I found the many tones and complicated characters just too challenging. :( So now I'm learning Mandarin which is far easier! Besides, I have a friend at school who's a boarder and she's a native Chinese so I get help from her now about Mandarin :) But she's in China for the summer at the moment so I can't really ask her many things :(
But thanks guys, I'm still getting the hang of everything! :)
helenshen_counselorJuly 21, 2009, 03:26 AM
嘛 is different from from 吗，for “嘛”，
1. (used to persuade sb. to do sth.) | Lái ∼, bùyào tài rènxìng. 来嘛，不要太任性。 Come on, don't be so stubborn.
2. (used to emphasize the obvious) | Shì xīngqīrì ∼. 是星期日嘛。 Bàngōngshì dāngrán guān le. It's Sunday. Of course offices are closed.
3. 吗/嘛/么[嗎/-/麼] ¹má pr. 〈coll.〉 What? | Jīnr xiàwǔ gàn∼? 今儿下午干嘛/吗/么？What will we do this afternoon?
For "吗", 1. (calling for agreement or disagreement) | Nǐ xìn tā ∼? Do you believe him?
2. 吗/嘛/么[嗎/-/麼] What? | Jīnr xiàwǔ gàn∼? 今儿下午干嘛/吗/么？What will we do this afternoon?