Translation:Is this Teacher Wang's wife?
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Your answer, "Is this not Teacher Wang's wife?" was marked incorrect; because, that answer is incorrect.
A correct answer is, simply, "Is this Teacher Wang's wife?" because, that is what the Chinese question asks. Putting "not" between "this" and "Teacher" changes the question from a simple, straightforward, "affirmative" or "positive" question into a negative question, which the Chinese question is not:
这是不是王老师的妻子 means "Is this Teacher Wang's wife?"
这是不是王老师的妻子 does not mean "Is this not Teacher Wang's wife?"
DuoLingo is correct to accept "Is this Teacher Wang's wife?" and is correct to reject "Is this not Teacher Wang's wife?"
"Is this Teacher Wang's wife?" and "Is this not Teacher Wang's wife?" are not two ways to ask the same question in English: the two questions differ in tone, implication, and expectation.
The site below says 是不是 can be used to ask a regular yes/no question or to ask for confirmation for something you already believe is true.
If I already believe someone is teacher wang's wife, then I would ask: "Isn't this Teacher Wang's wife?"
However, the phrase 是不是 (shì bú shì) can also be added on to the end of a sentence to confirm something you think is true. For example, if you’re pretty sure someone is from Taiwan, you can confirm by asking:
nǐ shì Táiwān rén, shì bú shì ?
You’re Taiwanese, aren’t you?
In English, "You’re Taiwanese, aren’t you?" means the same thing as "Aren't you Taiwanese?" and "Are you not Taiwanese?"
Although the site says to use 是不是 at the end of a statement, I've also seen other opinions that say it can be used for confirmation questions when it is not at the end.
My question is for a native speaker.
Can 这是不是王老师的妻子？mean both:
- Is this Teacher Wang's wife?
- Isn't this Teacher Wang's wife?
Or do you only use 这是王老师的妻子，是不是？to say "Isn't this Teacher Wang's wife"?
Also please let me know what region you are from. Thank you.
Types of Questions: Yes-No using 吗 ma; 是否 shìfǒu question; or with verb-not-verb structure that is formed by repeating the first verb of the verb phrase in affirmative and negative form.
这是不是王老师的妻子？means "Is this Teacher Wang's wife?"
这是王老师的妻子吗？ also means "Is this Teacher Wang's wife?"
We know that the first sentence is a question because the verb is immediately followed by the negation of the verb: 是不是; we know that the second sentence is a question because the sentence ends in 吗.
The 是不是...? construction and the 是...吗? construction are simply two functionally equivalent ways of asking the same question: they mean exactly the same thing, and neither implies a negative: neither sentence means "Is this not Teacher Wang's wife?"; rather:
这不是王老师的妻子吗？(without the first 是, but with 吗 at the end) does mean "Is this not Teacher Wang's wife?"
这是王老师的妻子。 means "This is Teacher Wang's wife," and is a positive assertion rather than a question (是 rather than 是不是, and no 吗 at the end).
这不是王老师的妻子。 means "This is not Teacher Wang's wife," and is a negative assertion rather than a question (不是 rather than 是不是, and no 吗 at the end).
The 是不是...? and 是...吗? forms are used for questions that can be answered with a simple affirmation or negation. In the case of either 这是不是王老师的妻子？ or 这是王老师的妻子吗？, the answer would be either 是 (for "yes") or 不是 (for "no").
Replying to Fred: 是不是 in my understanding, is a replacement for 吗 , in that ‘ma’ at the end means “yes or no?” And ‘shi-bu-shi’ means “is or is not”. I personally would translate and understand the following two sentences to have the same meaning: (With ‘ma’) This is Teacher Wang’s wife, yes or no? (With ‘shi-bu-shi’) This is, or is not, Teacher Wang’s wife? While the former question will be answered with a brief “yes” or “no”, the latter is answered “yes, she is” or “no, she is not”