IV. The question forms
A. Stative verbs as complements
If the complement is a stative verb, it can be used in both ma-questions and choice-type questions.
A 1. Ma吗question
Tā shuō de hǎo
Does he speak well?
A 2. Choice-type Question
Tā shuō de hǎo bù hǎo?
Does he speak well, or not?
B. Other elements as complements
When the complement is a stative verb in its reduplicated form, such as gāogāo de高高的or piàopiàoliàngliàng de漂漂亮亮的, the stative verb must be changed back into its original form, i.e. gāo高or piàoliàng漂亮, and de must be removed before it can be used in a ma-question or choice-type question. Compare the following sentences.
B 1. Declarative sentences
Tā zhǎng de gāo gāo de.
He has grown very tall.
B 2. Ma-question
Tā zhǎng de gāo
Has he grown very tall?
B 3. Choice-type question
Tā zhǎng de gāo bù gāo?
Has he grown very tall, or not?
C. Other elements as complements
If the complement is a verbal or idiomatic expression or a clause, it can be used in a ma-question, but not in a choice-type question. However, such expressions can use ‘shìbúshì是不是’ to form a tag question. ‘Shìbúshì是不是’ can also be placed after the subject to form a question. The following are a few examples.
C 1. verbal expression as complement
Tā pǎo de chuǎnbúshàng qì lái,
shì bú shì?
He was out of breath from running, right?
C 2. idiomatic expression as complement
Tā shì bú shì xiào de qiányǎnghòuhé?
Is it the case that he is rocking back and forth with laughter?
C 3. clause as complement
Tiānqi lěng de shéi dōu bù
xiǎng chūqù, shì bú shì?
It is so cold that no one wants to go out, right?