Translation:What do I drink?
Would there be a difference here between 'What do I drink?' and 'What am i drinking?' Does Chinese make a difference between the present continuous and the simple present?
There are no verb tenses in Chinese, but if you want to emphasize that it is present continuous, you can add ‘在’ before the verb. So 'What am I drinking?' would be ‘我在喝什么？’
Well, I wouldn't say they don't have any tenses. They have a word for past tense, I think it was "le", and I'm sure they have a word for futere tense, too, but we haven't learned it in school, unfortunately..
There aren't any actual verb tense conjugations, unlike that Latin-Germanic languages. In Chinese, you can say that you're doing something by adding 在 in front of the verb. But in normal conversation, even without 在 people will still assume you're talking about a present action. If you add 了 behind the verb on the other hand, then that becomes a past action. If you want to talk about something in the future, then add 會 in front of the verb. These are applicable to all the verbs that I can think of on top of my head.
The only things that tend to stump foreigners are when you start adding conditions in your sentence, such as "What time did you eat? What time will you eat?" But this is quite easy, just put the time directly in front of the verb itself, and the problem is solved. TBH it's kinda hard to just think of issues that people might have so feel free to ask.
What is the pinyin for the characters that emphasize the tenses please? Past, present continuous, and future. Thank you!
Wow, I just came here I clarified my questions reading you guys. Please keep helping :)
The character that makes the sound "ma" is used to indicate that the sentence is a question
I am not sure why your comment appears here, in the context of this particular exercise; because, the question in this exercise is a "what" question rather than a "yes or no" question, and therefore does not involve the interrogative particle 吗 ("ma").
The 么 of 什么 is pronounced more like "me," (not the English word "me" but "me" in pinyin) and is part of the word for "what;" whereas, the interrogative particle 吗 (pronounced "ma") is appended to a sentence to indicate a "yes or no" question. 我喝什么? is not a "yes or no" question, and accordingly does not involve 吗 ("ma"); rather, it is a "what" question, and accordingly involves the word 什么 ("shenme"):
我喝什么？= ”What am I drinking?" (or "What do I drink?")
我喝吗？= "Am I drinking?" (or "Do I drink?")
The program should be flexible to include other answers, such as "What should I drink?" or "What will I drink?" since these could also be implied by this statement.
Agreed, especially since the English form 'what do I drink' is almost never used in conversation. Questions to ones self are typically rhetorical questions that aren't spoken.
This could also mean: What should I drink? Intonation is important to meaning.
There is no "should" in the question; the question is simply "What do I drink?" (or "What am I drinking?") rather than "What should I drink?" To ask the latter question, you could use the word 应该 (pronounced ying1gai1), which means "should," "ought to," or even "must" in Chinese:
我应该喝什么？= What should I drink?
我喝什么？ = What do I drink? (or What am I drinking?)
I agree there is no actual "should" in the question, but the literal translation of "What do I drink?" is so uncommon that no one would expect to use that in actual conversation. "What am I drinking?" would also be incorrect by your reasoning since there is no "在 - zài" in the question.
There doesn't have to be anything else in the question to be "What am I drinking?" English tends to overuse the present continuous compared to other languages, Chinese included. This could be translated either way.
If you go around asking the question or stating a statement without 在, most people would automatically assume that you're talking about some present-continuous action.
It should be. That is clearly a mistake. I lived in Beijing for 8 years and I even speak Chinese at home sometimes. This is a common expression.
I don't think "what do I drink?" is grammatically correct... But icr i'm italian ahahahahah