Many Chinese learners are told that “ma(吗)” is used at the end to form a question. However, this statement is not always correct even when creating basic questions.
“Ma(吗)” needs to be added at the end of a yes-no question only. For questions like “Where are you?”, “What time is it?”, there is no need to add “ma(吗)”.
Let’s have a look at some examples:
|English||Chinese Pinyin||Chinese Character|
|Do you like Shanghai?||nǐ xǐ huān shàng hǎi ma?||你喜欢上海吗？|
|Does he have a Chinese name?||tā yǒu zhōng wén míng zì ma?||他有中文名字吗？|
|Where are you?||nǐ zài nǎ lǐ?||你在哪里？(“ma(吗)” is not needed in this case as this is not a yes-no question.)|