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  5. "她们怎么样?"


Translation:How are they?

November 19, 2017



Can someone please break down the meanings of the three "zen ma yáng"? I got that together they mean "how", but what could they mean separately?


怎么样 is a set phrase that means something like "How's it going?" or "How are you?" (but without specifying "you").

怎么 means "how". It's one word. (Like 什么 means "what".)

样 is hard for me to explain. It means something like way/type/kind of thing/manner of being.

Other examples of 样 include 一样 (literally "one kind") means "the same". 这样 (literally "this kind" or "this way") used to express things like "Oh, this is the way it is!"


I am giving you a lingot because I have got a greater understanding because of your explanation, thank you.


One lingot for you. 你很友善!


I should mention that the pronunciation is zěn mé yàng


In the audio, the mé is inaudible.


If so it's been fixed. You can play the slower version too.


Why is "他们怎么样" being marked as incorrect and being corrected to "她们怎么样" when this is a listening exercise? Is this a bug?


Contributors have to submit cases of identical pronunciation directly to staff to have them add the necessary additional versions for listening exercises. Listening exercises are still pretty new for Chinese, so I suspect they haven't made much or any progress on this task yet :(


Some same '她‘ or '他’ problem has been already fixed, and this one has not yet.


Still not fixed as of 5/24/19


Still not fixed, was marked as incorrect for: "他们怎么样"


Not fixed as of 2019 July 26


Still hasn't been fixed, had this issue today


Not fixed as of 25 October 2019. I was able to report it with "My answer should be accepted", which has not always been possible with audio exercises before.


Still not fixed as of 22 Jan 2020


The first one is neutral whereas the latter one is only for ladies/women/girls. It's not a bug. They all sound the same


This was a listening exercise. This is a bug.


Could they refer to either people or things/situation as in English, or would the Chinese meaning be limited?


The third person has three forms in singular and plural, one for male, one for female and another for animals (which is sometimes used for inanimate objects too, but this is rare).

For males we use:

  • 他 — he

  • 他们 — they (if all male, or mixed group)

For females we use:

  • 她 — she

  • 她们 — they (if all female)

And for animals we use:

  • 它 — it (similar, but not the same as “it” in English)

  • 它们 — they (if all animals)

Usually we don’t use personal pronouns for inanimate objects, we rather use demostrative pronouns like 这 (this) or 那 (that) and the right measure word.


No, 它 doesn't refer to just animals, it can refer to anything non-humanoid —「我已經把它燒掉了。」

他 is not just "he" but also used by default for people of ambiguous gender/sex too.


No they in the sentace refers to people if they as in inaminate objects or animals is它


And only female people, right?


In Chinese, 她 means "she/her", 他 means "he/him".

However, both 她们 and 他们 can only be translated into "they" in English. In addition, it has exact matches for the two words in French, as 她们 equals to "elles" and 他们 equals to "ils".


Am i mistaken or is the pronunciation for both roughly identical and if not is should be taking EXTRA prcautions to do them absolutely correctly?


Both 她 and 他 own a pronunciation [tā], while both 她们 and 他们 own a pronunciation [tā men] (们 is read gently thus with no tone symbol above "men"). The pronunciations are exactly the same, respectively.

In fact, there are so many groups of characters owning the same pronunciations in Chinese. And that is one of the most amazing facts in Chinese which makes it easier to learn : D


[yī]: 一(one), 衣(clothes), 医(doctor), and many others

[qī]: 七(seven), 妻(wife), 期(period), and many others


If it's things or situations which is non-living, we use 它们instead


Respectfully, yet another case where 他 should be accepted in addition to 她


Oh, come on Duolingo! 他 and 她 are both pronounced ta in the first tone. You should consider both since you only asked to type in Chinese Characters the pronunciation without specifying the gender of the subject.


I got this wrong for answering “他们怎么样。” instead of "她们怎么样?“. I was using the keyboard instead of the word bank. Assuming the difference was 他 vs 他, is there anyway to tell the difference from the spoken form?


There's no way to tell the difference. It's a big problem with Duolingo if you want to practice typing in Chinese. Whenever I hear a ta1 I make sure to switch to word bank mode and quickly check if it's 他 or 她, then back to keyboard mode. I imagine this issue will be magnified when I get far enough to have to deal with 它 too.


i just typed 他们怎么样 as my answer for the listening exercise and was marked wrong! am i supposed to be able to tell which one it is by audio?


Should "are they okay?" be accepted?


怎么样 is "how" (question word), so it specifically needs an answer to "how", that will replace it in the answer. 你怎么样?我很好。(You how? I [am] good)

Are they okay? is a general question, that can be answered with "yes". You can ask it as "她们好吗?是。她们很好" ( They good [question word]? Yes. They [are] good.)


I don't think so. I think that would be 他们好吗?


"how are they"is that even a sentence!!?


yes; it's like "How are you?" but for "them"


I'm using typing and not word bank, so it only gave the audio cue. It marked "他们怎么样" incorrect, despite them sounding exactly the same.


So what's the difference between this frase and ni Hao ma?


The phrase "nĭhăoma / 你好吗" means "Are you good?". "tāmen zĕnmeyàng / 他们怎么样" means "How are they?".

The primary difference is that the first is asking "you", the singular person I'm talking to and the latter asks "they", the multiple that may not be who I'm talking to. By way of example I could simplify "how are those people over there doing?" to "how are they?", but I could not do that for "are you good?".

In a literal sense 你好吗 also presupposes you're doing good, whilst 他们怎么样 is neutral (think about the potential difference between asking "are you feeling good?" to "how are you feeling?" when someone is obviously upset). In practice 你好吗 functionally means "How are you doing?" so the primary difference is between you and they.


The male version of "they" (他们) should be accepted here! Still not as of 20190608.


她们都 should be they all. In this case, 她们 just refers to 'they'。


all of these sound too fast. Duolingo, can you have a feature that slows down the speech?


Can this question be translated to "what is up with them?" in English?


I would say that's probably 他们怎么了 not 他们怎么样.

"What is up with them?" seems to be asking why they are in that mood, not what mood they are in. That is if someone is really happy or really sad I might ask "what's up with them?", but I would not ask "how are they" - because I can already tell they are happy or sad.


Yes, more meaningful.


For listening exercises, 她 and 他 should be accepted, because it's impossible to differentiate.

What are the chances this will actually be changed?


他们怎么样? should be accepted. And this is the case throughout the entire Chinese course.


Please fix this question... Without a context it's impossible to know whether it's 他们 or 她们 but ultimately both mean "they". So if you say “他们怎么样?" or "她们怎么样?“ both answers should be accepted.


I've noticed this a lot throughout this Chinese course, for some reason whoever made it regularly to 「她們」 not 「他們」 even when referring to an ambiguous group of people. Usually, 「他」 is the default when you don't know the gender.


should it also take 他? or is there a difference in pronunciation I'm missing?


it is very annoying that 他们怎吗样 is not accepted


If 'How are they doing?' is acceptable then I would think "How are they going?' should also be acceptable. It is an informal way to ask how someone's life is progressing good/bad/ok, etc.


Interesting, in my dialect that only works with "it." "How are they going?" would only have the literal meaning of "By what means are they travelling?"


Same as piguy3. "How are they going" is not a phrasing that works in my dialect of English (US, East & West Coast).


Same as the above 2 people for the southern US.

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