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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

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