Level 1 Lesson 22.1 – How to Write This Chinese Character?

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Question Pronoun 怎么: Ask How in Chinese | Ask How Come in Chinese

In this video lesson we'll learn the Question Pronoun 怎么 and how to (1) ask how in Chinese and (2) ask how come in Chinese with 怎么. We'll do a review of all previously-learned Question Pronouns and Questions Words in Chinese. And we'll also try to see how it sound differently in tone while adding the Question Particle 呢 at the end of a question.

  • Ask how in Chinese with Question Pronoun 怎么
  • Ask how come in Chinese with Question Pronoun 怎么
  • Review of Question Pronouns and Question Words in Chinese
  • Question Particle 呢 (III). See also Question Particle 呢 (I) and (II).
  • The 好 + verb structure



Grammar 1: Ask How in Chinese with Question Pronoun 怎么 · HSK 1

Zěnme 怎么 is a Question Pronoun in Chinese, we use it to ask about manner or method. We can use it to (1) ask how in Chinese, and (2) ask how come in Chinese.

First, to ask how in Chinese with Question Pronoun 怎么, we can follow this structure:

Subject + 怎么 + Verb Predicate

For example,

  • zhège Hànzì zěnme xiě
    how to write this Chinese character
  • jīntiānde shēngcí zěnme dú
    how to read today's new word

怎么 can be used in more complicated sentences as well, for example,

  • "I love you" yòng Zhōngwén zěnme shuō
    “I love you”用中文怎么说?
    how to say "I love you" in Chinese
  • tā bù zhīdào zěnme zuò jiǎozi
    he doesn't know how to make dumplings
  • wǒ xiǎng xuéhuì zěnme zuò pīsà
    I want to learn and be able to know how to make pizza


Grammar 2: Ask How Come in Chinese with Question Pronoun 怎么 · HSK 1

Second, we can also use Question Pronoun 怎么 to ask how in Chinese by following this structure

Subject + 怎么 + (V./Adj.) Predicate

For example,

  • nǐ zěnme bù xǐhuan chī pīsà
    how come you (do) not like eating pizza
  • nǐ zěnme xiǎng xué Zhōngwén
    how come you want to learn Chinese
  • tā zuótiān zěnme bù gāoxìng
    how come she (was) not happy yesterday
  • zhèwǎn jiǎozi zěnme bù hǎochī
    how come this bowl (of) dumplings (are) not tasty


Grammar 3: Review of Question Pronouns and Question Words in Chinese · HSK 1

Up till now, we have learned five Question Pronouns or Question Words in Chinese. And they are:


shénme 什么 what
shéi/shuí who; whom
shénme shíhou 什么时候 what time;when
nǎr/nǎlǐ 哪儿/哪里 where
zěnme  怎么 how;how come


When used in questions, their position in the sentence is decided by which Member of Sentence they function as, and are not always put at the beginning of the sentence.


Grammar 4: Question Particle 呢 to Soften the Tone · HSK 1

We've learned two usages of 呢: (1) 呢 as a Question Particle to ask a contextual question, (2) to be used in the structure 在……呢 to suggest that an action/state is continuing.

Today we'll learn another usage: (3) 呢 as a Question Particle to be used at the end of the sentence, just to soften the tone.

Sentence + 

For example, each pair of the two sentences mean the same thing, but the one with 呢 at the end has a little bit nicer, more interested, softer tone.

  • zhège jùzi zěnme dú
    how to read this sentence
  • zhège jùzi zěnme dú ne 
    how to read this sentence
  • nǐ jīntiān zěnme méi lái shàngbān
    how come you didn't come to work today
  • nǐ jīntiān zěnme méi lái shàngbān ne
    how come you didn't come to work today


Grammar 5: The 好 + Verb Structure · HSK 1

In Lesson 2 we have learned two Adjectives hǎochī 好吃 and hǎohē 好喝, which means tasty for food and tasty for drinks. And hǎokàn 好看, which means good looking.

They are all created by this structure:

+ Verb

Today we have more Adjectives that are created in this way, for example,

  • hǎoxiě 好写 easy to write (with)
  • hǎodú  好读 easy to read
  • hǎoyòng 好用 easy to use
Collapse Comments
Chris SterryPremium Student June 3, 2023 at 9:30 pm

What is the difference in the meaning of 怎么 and 为什么

mindv0rtexPremium Student December 29, 2018 at 9:14 am

他么昨天怎么不上课?- Why 不 and not 没 here?

他们昨天怎么不上课?and 他么昨天怎么没上课?Are both grammatically correct. But there are small differences in the meaning for them to be used in different contexts.

Please refer to Grammar 3 of our lesson on 不 vs. 没 for more details.

不 in this sentence particularly suggests that there wasn’t any class and it might be “according to a schedule (which has to be set by someone so it’s ‘SOMEONE’S WILL’)”

没 only suggests there wasn’t any class AS A FACT.

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