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.   Maquestion

 

          shuō de hǎo ma? 

          他说得好吗?

          Does he speak well?

 

A 2.   Choice-type Question

 

          shuō de hǎo hǎo? 

          他说得好不好?

          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. gāoor 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

 

          zhǎng de gāo gāo de. 

          他长得高高的。

          He has grown very tall.

 

B 2.   Ma-question

 

          zhǎng de gāo ma?  

          他长得高吗?

          Has he grown very tall?

 

B 3.   Choice-type question

 

          zhǎng de gāo gāo?  

          他长得高不高?

          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

 

          pǎo de chuǎnbúshàng lái, shì shì?  

他跑得喘不上气来,是不是?

          He was out of breath from running, right?

 

C 2.   idiomatic expression as complement

 

          shì shì xiào de qiányǎnghòuhé?  

他是不是笑得前仰后合?

          Is it the case that he is rocking back and forth with laughter?

 

C 3.   clause as complement

 

          Tiānqi lěng de shéi dōu xiǎng chūqù, shì shì?  

          天气冷得谁都不想出去,是不是?

          It is so cold that no one wants to go out, right?