General Questions

General Questions

In general, the structure of Chinese questions is very similar to the structure of simple declarative sentences.

The question part comes with the use of question words. Here are quite a few to get you started.

怎么 how
多少 how much
几个 how many
多久how long (time)
多远how far

你有什么? 我有一把吉他.
What do you have? I have a guitar.

In this example above, the structure is the same for the sentence and the question. All that’s changed is the replacement of the noun phrase (一把吉他) with the question word (吉他).

How do we get to the mall?

Here, we’ve inserted the word 怎么 directly before the verb in order to ask “how can we verb?”

How much money? (What’s the price?)

If you use 什么 directly before a noun, the meaning becomes “which” or “what kind“ based on the context. To be more specific about asking “what kind,” use 什么样的 “what sort.“

Which book do you have? (there are several books under discussion)

Which book do you have? (there are several books under discussion)

What type of pillow do you like?

In the same way, you can use 有多 before any adjective to ask “how adjective” something is. Literally “how much adjective does it have?”

这个很贵. 有多贵?
This is very expensive. How expensive is it?

A common question you might get asked in China is:

How old are you?