"Who is that person?"

Translation:那个人是谁?

November 25, 2017

78 Comments
This discussion is locked.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mgbianc

Can it also be said as "谁是那个人"?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Heidi453404

In English, question words have to be placed at the beginning of the sentence. This involves changing the word order to allow this rearrangement. In Chinese, using question words is a lot simpler. You simply place a question word in the place of the thing you want to ask about. Nothing needs to be rearranged.

So if the statement is

我 是 小李 。

Wǒ shì Xiǎo Lǐ.

I am Xiao Li.

the question form - "who are you?" - has the same word order:

你 是 谁?

Nǐ shì shéi?

Who are you? (you are who?)

Hope that helps I found it at https://resources.allsetlearning.com


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fuzzalex

Why in another exercise 谁是你的爸爸? was correct, but in this one 谁是那个人? incorrect?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

In cases where the person being mentioned is at the beginning, it's more directly demonstrative, I would say. In other words, in a notional sense, the speaker can "point to" that person.

In the case of "谁是你的爸爸", the speaker doesn't know who the listener's father is, and therefore has no one specific to "point to". The best that can be done is to point to the vast "anyone" represented by "谁".

To my mind, "你的爸爸是谁" could imply that the speaker knows the father well enough to have someone in mind to "point to" (or the father is at least notionally more definite or more proximate) but is inquiring about his social identity. Is he some sort of high muckamuck, for example.

Here are a couple of native Chinese speakers' takes:


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SimonWhite1

In grammatical short, 谁是你的爸爸 is a sentence with no object, 那个人是谁 has an object (那个人).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

In grammar terms, what comes before the verb, its agent, is called the "subject", which is the role filled by either "谁" or "那个人" if it's in that position.

In contrast, an "object" is acted on by a verb or a preposition and usually comes after one or the other, so I wouldn't use that term here.

Moreover, what comes after the verb "to be" isn't even called an "object" by grammarians. Rather, it's usually called a "complement", and sometimes a "subject complement".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PrudoH

Got it! Thanks for the elaboration! It is very helpful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KujoJ

May this be the same reason for which it is mandatory (if it's so) the 个 After 那?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

I don't think it's exactly mandatory, but "那个人" is more common, whereas "那人" is more casual and may be somewhat regional.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GSergivs

Absolutly the same question.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TylerSedig

Thats using english grammar, its better to use chinese which would be 那个人是谁


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChiNane

How come in 'who is your father' the order was not reversed, then?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

那个= that 这个= this

Hope this helps.

who is that person= 那个人是谁 Nàgè rén shì shéi Who is this person = 这个人是谁 Zhège rén shì shéi


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AsitGanguly

Sorry it does not reply why in case of "who is your father", 'shei' comes in the beginning unlike other examples!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

There are also many other measure words such as the measure word for

flower= 朵(measure words) Duǒ e.g. 一朵花 a flower 張 (zhāng )= 一張桌子 Yī zhāng zhuōzi e.g. a table

And many more, which just have to be learned BTW, I'm from Hong Kong

info: http://www.languagerealm.com/chinese/chinese_measure_words.php

http://www.ctcfl.ox.ac.uk/Grammar%20exercises/Measure%20words.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nohaha3

I looked online https://www.howtosayinchinese.com/who-in-chinese-shei-shui-mandarin/

You put 谁 in the beginning of the sentence if there are no subject pronouns (he, she, you) and the who question can apply to anyone 谁要去 ?(shui2yao4qu2) who is going

You put 谁 in the end of the sentence if there is a subject pronoun 那个男人是谁 (na4ge4nan2ren2shi4shui4) Who is that man


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MeganFlint2

I think its a grammar thing, kind of like how asking your name is your name is what?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JoeChicago

Should....yes....I confirmed with BOTH Google Translate and Microsoft Translator AND half a dozen Chinese colleagues on WeChat.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ph.h3RU9A

In Chinese,yes.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RhullyPutr

It sounds weird


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yunanuu

As a native Chinese speaker, let me just say that "他是谁?“ sounds more natural. Doesn't it?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

Yes you can use that as well. But obviously that is for a man (他).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mike371454

Can anybody say why 个 is necessary? It's not the numeral... Why can't we say 那人是谁?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Lee238840

个 is a measure word. It is a generic measure word. Mandarin has them commonly when you are counting something but there's more to it I think.

Eg. You don't say '四人' for 'four people' you say '四个人'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

There are also many other measure words such as the measure word for

flower= 朵(measure words) Duǒ e.g. 一朵花 a flower 張 (zhāng )= 一張桌子 Yī zhāng zhuōzi e.g. a table

And many more, which just have to be learned BTW, I'm from Hong Kong

info: http://www.languagerealm.com/chinese/chinese_measure_words.php

http://www.ctcfl.ox.ac.uk/Grammar%20exercises/Measure%20words.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chetlin

You also use measure words after a few other words besides numbers, like 这, 那, 哪, and 几.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GabDiniCiacci

We really need some grammar tip here or rule, cause I think many if us are just guessing. They the word order is reversed compared to English? To me other similar sentences with "who" has instead the same order. Could someone please leave a comment with some explanation? Thanks in advance :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

那个= that 这个= this

Hope this helps.

who is that person= 那个人是谁 Nàgè rén shì shéi Who is this person = 这个人是谁 Zhège rén shì shéi


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RyanHack2

Why is谁 at the end of this sentence when “who is your dad?” Is translated as 谁是你的爸爸?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ForestJade

The spelling and the sound of the word谁 'shui' is incorrect. (its really getting on my nerves)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DMd619327

All my dictionaries state that both "shui" and "shei" are correct alternative readings. I guess they may be used in different regions.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

It could be regional, but I've never heard a native Chinese speaker say "shuí" in a natural context, no matter where they're from — and I've lived in Taiwan and China, and traveled throughout China. (I've only heard it in teaching materials, e.g. Pimsleur Chinese.) Granted, I could always be surprised in the future, but these days I believe "shuí" should be listed as formal or poetic (and really I think it's verging on obsolete).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SamanthaMi11252

It's bothering me too. Omg.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ana983529

how does one know the difference between this and that in Chinese? is there any or do they just use the same characters?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cloudsdale4ever

这 = this, 那 = that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gerald562590

Stop saying the hearts are to enhance learning. It's just a cheap trick to sell more subs. People are starting to hate you for it. It's ruined Duolingo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PrakashJos18

What is the difference between "Na" and "Na ge"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cedie.1

I think Duolingo hasn't explained this part to me. The questions without enough explanation make me confused and lessening my motivation to continue.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

Duolingo doesn't teach by explaining everything first. It teaches by exposure and repetition, and by showing you what you may need to go and learn elsewhere, in conjunction with your practicing on this site. There are many things that Duolingo doesn't explain, though sometimes other learners provide explanations in the comments. If you plan on continuing, my suggestion is to get used to this, and to find other helpful sources on the internet.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JackDaniels124

Am I supposed to guess the order?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/keolebogil4

I think the Pinyin spelling for "shei" was incorrect.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

"Shuí" is an alternative pronunciation, though it's much less common nowadays. At this point it could be called formal or literary in most of the Mandarin-speaking world, though I would say it's even verging on obsolete, except perhaps in Malaysia.

On one Chinese learning website I came across the statement that it's always "shei" in "spoken Chinese". That doesn't really make sense, since the only time that the word would be heard would of course be when it was "spoken", so the statement would suggest that the "shui" pronunciation doesn't exist at all, or it exists only in pinyin, presumably in dictionaries. However, it does exist in speech, but rarely.

Practically speaking, the use of "shui" in colloquial speech can nowadays be considered an affectation (except maybe, again, in Malaysia).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ke.raeh_

Is it 那个人是谁? or 那人是谁?. Can it be both?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/frozen_feather

Gives me false info i do it as it asks me to do but its still wrong


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CurtisD.Mo

Ok this read says " that person is who?" But in translation to English we put the question " word" in the beginning... that right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CurtisD.Mo

Once again I had to read it right to left and switch to 2 characters around To make it sense


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CurtisD.Mo

It's bad enough we have a doctor who lol do we really have to say " You are who?" Lol


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

There are also many other measure words such as the measure word for

flower= 朵(measure words) Duǒ e.g. 一朵花 a flower 張 (zhāng )= 一張桌子 Yī zhāng zhuōzi e.g. a table

And many more, which just have to be learned BTW, I'm from Hong Kong

info: http://www.languagerealm.com/chinese/chinese_measure_words.php

http://www.ctcfl.ox.ac.uk/Grammar%20exercises/Measure%20words.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AddyMoreno

So, this should literally be written "that person is who?" :/


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaryEllen24

Yes. Chinese word order is different than English word order. This is not surprising as this is the case all over the world - different word orders. Just think "that person is who?" when you write out the Chinese sentence. But translate it to "Who is that person?" when you write it out in English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shakhawathossain

Na ge ran shi shei?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DavidKhan12

What confuses me is, why is it Nàgè and not just Nà? Na means That, and Nàgè means: That one. So in this case, 那个人是谁 = That one person is who? But the translation is Who is that person.

If it was Who is that one person, then I'd use the 个


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

Well, that's exactly it, and you're on exactly the right track. In Chinese you have to say "That one person is who?"

If it were the case that we could just transliterate one language into another, word for word, we wouldn't need to learn languages, per se, only a whole bunch of new words, and we'd all be polyglots in no time!

("那人" is actually possible, but it's less common, more colloquial, and at least somewhat regional. The gold standard is to include "个". You should also be aware that "个" is used with numbers other than one. For example, you would say "那三个人" for "those three people", so you can see that the "个" doesn't really carry the notion of a specific number, even though it's true that only one person is referred to when "个" isn't preceded by a number.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Craig83923

None of these who, what, that questions make any sense to me. It seems like evry one follows a different rule


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mattsb04

Why is 谁 being pronounced like 水?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/raykrause

I had the same question!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

那个= that 这个= this

Hope this helps.

who is that person= 那个人是谁 Nàgè rén shì shéi Who is this person = 这个人是谁 Zhège rén shì shéi


[deactivated user]

    That person is who? Talking backwards like Yoda I am.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

    那个= that 这个= this

    Hope this helps.

    who is that person= 那个人是谁 Nàgè rén shì shéi Who is this person = 这个人是谁 Zhège rén shì shéi


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/WangDeFu1

    Multiple times i have seen the app change a word in the sentence, after i click check. Like from 这 to 那。 On english answers i have seen the answer i gave changed to one that i overrode autocorrect on.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MaryEllen24

    那 个人是谁? Shouldn't this answer be accepted - i used the keyboard entry instead of the Word Bank.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeaceJoyPancakes

    Duo often doesn't accept spaces between Chinese characters. You seem to have typed one after "那".


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SocKerMom

    When do you know when to put na ge or na


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MichaelChe974573

    谁是那个人?should be acceptable. In fact this is a better translation because it preserves the original language structure without losing the meaning.


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Toby526381

    那个= that 这个= this


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Victor24Prats

    Can't I say 他是谁?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FJSoekahar

    Why this is wrong:"那人是谁?" Unlike the other exercise?


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cloudsdale4ever

    I guess you forgot the measure word 个 before 人 .


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/M92Y3

    那个人是谁


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jerry161819

    That is what I entered. I have had several of these problem in a row when I decided to tell you. I will lose all of the credit if I sign out, but I dare not continue. I will sign again in a few seconda and if this continues, I will have my computer checked out.

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