Question Words (QW)

In the example “她给你什么?”, “什么” is a question word, meaning “what”. Other question words include “谁sheí” (who), “谁的sheíde” (whose), “哪里nǎlǐ” (where), “哪个nǎgè”(which), “怎么zěnme” (how), “什么 时候shénme shíhòu”(when), “为什么wèishénme” (why), etc.

In Chinese, the word order of the answer is always the same as the one in the question. So, to answer this question, we simply replace “什么” with whatever you want to express. This is different in English. E.g.
Q: What do you want?
A: I want a pen.

Remember that questions formed by using question words do not need interrogative particle “吗” to their ends.

QW as Subject - S (QW) + V + O

sheí chī pínɡɡuǒ?

A: 谁 吃 苹果?

Who eats apples?

wǒ chī pínɡɡuǒ.

B: 我 吃 苹果。

I eat apples.

QW as Object - S + V + O (QW)

nǐ chī shénme?

A: 你 吃 什么?

What do you eat?

wǒ chī pínɡɡuǒ.

B: 我 吃 苹果。

I eat apples.

Question words can also precedes the noun to modify it.

nǐ xǐhuān shénme lǐwù.

你 喜欢 什么 礼物?

What gifts do you like?

sheíde mínɡzi jiào xiǎomínɡ?

谁的 名字 叫 小明?

Whose name is called Xiao Ming?

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