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Beginner Lesson 2.1 – Ask People’s Name

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Question Word What In Chinese | Ask People's Name In Chinese

  • Question Word What in Chinese: 什么
  • Ask people's name in Chinese with last name, first name, full name and nickname

VOCABULARY


HSK CHINESE PINYIN P.O.S ENGLISH Audio
1 pr. you
1 什么 shénme q pr. what
1 shén / /
1 me / /

NOTE: ①② Neither 什 nor 么 is a word. They have to be combined with another character to form a word. You can learn more about Characters vs. Words.

GRAMMAR


Grammar 1: Question Word What in Chinese 什么 · HSK 1

shénme 什么 what

什么 is the Question Word what in Chinese. But unlike in English, when we use the Question Word 什么, it will not be automatically put at the beginning of the sentence. For example:

  • nǐ xìng shénme
    你姓什么?
    what is your last name
  • nǐ jiào shénme
    你叫什么?
    what is your (first) name

 

Grammar 2: Chinese Sentence Word Order · HSK 1

In Chinese, generally the sentence word order follows this structure:

Subject Verb (Predicate)Object

So the word order is the same whether it is to ask people's name in Chinese or to answer the question in Chinese. Here are the examples:

S V O
1

I
jiào

am called
Dàwèi
大卫
David


you
jiào

are called
shénme
什么
what
2

I
xìng

last name is


Li


you
xìng

last name is
shénme
什么
what

 

Grammar 3:  Ask People's Name in Chinese with 你叫什么 · HSK 1

nǐ jiào shén me 你叫什么?what are you called

To ask people's name in Chinese, there are multiple ways. We can use 你叫什么 to ask people's (1)full name; (2) first name or nick name that is not one-character. For example:

 

Ask/answer with first name - when the first name is two-character

Q: nǐ jiào shén me
      你叫什么?
      what are you called
A: wǒ jiào Dàwèi 
      我叫大卫。
      my name is David

 

Ask/answer with nickname - when the first name is one-character

Q: nǐ jiào shén me
      你叫什么?
      what are you called
A: wǒ jiào Lónglong
      我叫龙龙。
      my name is Longlong

 

Ask/answer with full name

Q: nǐ jiào shén me
      你叫什么?
      what are you called
A: wǒ jiào Chéng Lóng
      我叫成龙。
      my name is Cheng Long

 

Grammar 4. Ask People's Name in Chinese with 你姓什么 · HSK 1

nǐ xìng shén me 你姓什么?what is your last name

We can use this structure to ask people's last name. This way to ask people's name in Chinese is usually more formal or more polite. It could sound a little distant as well.

Q: nǐ xìng shén me 
      你姓什么?
     
what is your last name
A: wǒ xìng Lǐ 
      我姓李。
      my last name is Li

17
Lesson Discussions

avatar
mtrpop3
Graduated Student
mtrpop3

Lili, I hear you saying shemme with the n changed to be the same as the following m of me, and I assume that you are a very careful speaker; in general, what I hear is shemme as you say it, but rarely I do hear shenme. Why do some say shenme and others shemme? Is shenme with a true n sound more formal, or what?

wohengaoxing
Graduated Student
wohengaoxing

Years ago I learned some pinyin at a University in Shanghai, but only for about a month. There I learned the question – 你叫什么名字?Why do you teach only 你叫什么?I know that both versions have the same meaning, but when do I use either version?

AungMyatTun
Student
AungMyatTun

Thank for explaining.I interest chinese language.

AungMyatTun
Student
AungMyatTun

Thanks you lili

Universal
Premium Student
Universal

I hope it is okay I always ask “Ni jio she me?” (in case the person living with me knows 2+ people whose surname is Wang)…

jenna004
Student
jenna004

你好!How would you write and say the name “Jenna”?

XiaoLac014
Student
XiaoLac014

你好,我叫李,你叫什么?
你好,我叫王明。

ccesar
Graduated Student
ccesar

Hi Lili! When should I use (or not use…) 名字 at the end of the question phrase, eg, 你叫什么名字….. To be polite? Is it necessary in daily conversation?

谢谢!

Olgutza
Student
Olgutza

我叫 Olga你呢什么名字 ?

OUXING
Student
OUXING

How do I type the Chinese characters on my keyboard?

warda butt
Student
warda butt

you have to download it . or may be when you will slide your tab button on keyboard of mobile language switches .

Donald
Graduated Student
Donald

谢谢郝力。我对shenme有同样的问题。

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