Vague and Indefinite Statements

Chinese people often give vague, indefinite, even evasive answers to direct questions! For example, the often heard question,“你去哪里?” (Where are you going?) usually receives the vague and indefinite reply: “我不去哪里。” (I'm going nowhere in particular)!

In order to give a vague and indefinite reply, the negative form of the Question Words should be used. It has the meaning: “not much in the way of ...”

nǐ zhǎo shuí

Q: 你 找 谁?

wǒ bùzhǎo shuí, wǒ zhǐkànkàn yǒuméiyǒu rén háizài jiàohuìlǐ.

A: 我 不找 谁,我 只看看 有没有 人 还在 教会里。


nǐ xiàxīngqī dǎsuàn qù nǎlǐ?

Q: 你 下星期 打算 去 哪里?

wǒ bùdǎsuàn qù nǎlǐ, kěněng huìqù kàn péngyǒu.

A: 我 不打算 去 哪里,可能 会去 看 朋友。


zhuōzishàng yǒu shénme cài?

Q: 桌子上 有 什么 菜?

zhuōzishàng méiyǒu shénme cài, yìpán chaǒqīngcài éryǐ.

A: 桌子上 没有 什么 菜,一盘 炒青菜 而已。

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