"Are you guys not eating?"
It is because 吃饭 usually means to have a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner), even when rice is not included in it.
H-O-W-E-V-E-R, language changes with culture and lifestyle. If it is a barbeque in the backyard that serves as lunch or dinner, I definitely would not say 吃饭. I even don't say 吃饭 for breakfast because in where I live rice has been becoming an exotic choice for breakfast.
Therefore I think it is not required to translate this sentence as 你们不吃饭吗？ Simply 你们不吃吗？should be fine enough.
As you say Keith, it means to eat a meal, even one without rice, just as the English word 'meal' originally referred to ground (or milled) grain, but a meal needn't include such a grain. Think of corn meal, as an example of the earlier meaning. Not having the help of 汉字 (Chinese characters) in English to remind us of the etymology :-), we are even less conscious of this reference to grain as a traditional cornerstone component of a meal.
Thank you for your cross reference!
I know both words but I hadn't been able to relate them in English. I actually felt a little strange that the same word for meal was used on grain powders.
But as you said, it's depends on culture , so in Chinese they used it or not ?
This sentence certainly is correct in Chinese and is in use frequently. However as the question is requesting us to translate from the English sentence and the words "rice" or "lunch", "dinner" are not included, the context may not always allow us to translate it to 你们不吃饭吗？.
So if you leave out the 饭, it won't change the tense of the sentence, will it?
It's very much a question mark as I understand. Japanese has one of those so it makes sense to me
These are the major differences:
吗 goes with Yes-or-No questions only; か goes with all types of questions.
A question mark is expected after 吗; A period (a ring) is expected after か.
Where is it? 在哪里吗？XX どこですか。√√
Because it only means the plural you. It’s used by Duo for the sake of comprehension and clarification. It just says this “you” is always plural.
For your latter question. No it’s not necessary if you don’t make the distinction of singular and plural “you” in your speech, you just have to know that 你们 will always refer to more than one person.
Yes, as Neto said. Answer tags seem to be random so it can happen that both "ni" and "nimen" show up at once and thus they want to avoid anyone from getting anwrong correction due to a software mistake.
Why is there no 在 if it's eating?
你们不在吃饭吗？ is not accepted, but it would seem to be a better translation.
It is very logical thinking like this in terms of tense, but in Chinese it is different.
你们在吃饭 You are eating (a meal) is a subjective observation of a state at a certain time. The negative form is 你们不是在吃饭.
What we are asking in English is about the will of people. However, if you say 你们不是在吃饭吗?, you are actually questioning whether "You are eating" would be a justified description of the state. e.g. Are you guys not eating a meal? The table is set and I have just seen you put food into your mouth. Another example: I have seen you guys walking into a restaurant 2 minutes ago but now you are walking on the street again. I might also ask 你们不是在吃饭吗?
On the lesson here on duoling (see Food) says that in Chinese there are only few verbs which doesn’t require a subject. I red that Since rice is a very common meal in China, in these lessons it is used to complete the meaning.
Can someone explain why "你们不在吃饭吗" is incorrect here. They English sentence is using "eating", that requires 在 to translate correctly, no?
Keith explicó arriba que normalmente se usa 吃饭 para comer comida cualquiera, aunque sea sin arroz. Es como usamos la palabra 'meal' en inglés para comida cualquiera, aunque esta palabra viene de una expresión para cereal molido (milled grain = flour, Esp. harina) que podemos ver todavía en 'corn meal' (harina de maíz) o 'oatmeal' (harina de avena). Entonces, podemos ver que en ambos casos, una palabra para una forma de comida más básica tradicionalmente, se convirtió también en una expresión para comida en general. Creo que si quieres hablar específicamente de comer arroz, puedes usar 吃米饭 (Chī mǐfàn).