Usage of 呢 - Chinese Grammar
Posted by yuyu zhao on December 30, 2015
Jessica is a accredited mandarin teacher at iChineseLearning, which is an online Chinese tutoring school. In one of Jessica’s blog posts, she introduced the usage of Chinese particle 吗. Like 吗, 呢 is also a common particle word used to end a sentence in Chinese.
First, forming queries
The most common use for 呢 is probably to form simple queries. It’s very easy to query things in Chinese using 呢. Just say the thing you’d like to know about, and put 呢 right after it.
When used this way, 呢 can combine with question words to emphasize a query. In Chinese grammar, 呢 is being used to add a further querying element to these questions
tā wèishénme méi lái ne？
她 为什么 没来 呢？
Why didn’t she come?
tā yǒu shénme bù xǐhuɑn chī de ne？
他 有什么 不 喜欢 吃 的 呢？
Why is that he doesn’t like eating?
These questions are also grammatically valid questions without 呢, but by adding 呢 the speaker makes it clear that they don’t just want an answer to the question. Maybe they’re questioning the situation or even criticizing it.
Second, asking bounce-back questions
There is another way of using 呢 We may call it a “bounce-back” question. This is when someone asks you a question, and you return the question to them after answering it. This is commonly done by simply asking “你呢？”. This may often happen in our online mandarin lessons when the students first meet with his online teachers.
nǐjiào shén me mínɡ zi ？
A: 你 叫 什么 名字？
What’s your name?
wǒ jiào jiékè， nǐne？
B: 我 叫 杰克， 你呢？
I am Jack, what about you?
There are other ways to use 呢, but if we can understand the above two, it will be surely enough for daily use. If you want to learn more about Chinese grammar, you can also go to chinese-grammar.com, a good site to learn Chinese the easy way.
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