"Do you know why they are angry?"


April 4, 2018

This discussion is locked.


Is the "ma" really necessary here with the 为什么?


The 吗 is completely necessary. Without it, the sentence would mean "You know why they are angry." But with it, the sentence means "Do you know why they are angry?" The 吗 affects the 知道 as the focus of the question.


他们为怎么生气,你知道吗 is the breakdown of the question, so yes, it is necessary.


Why is 你知道为什么他们很生气吗 wrong?


Your answer is now accepted. Thanks!


Why no 是 or 很 before angry?


生气 is also a verb.


Additionally, the sentence was just accepted with 很 for me. 2021年11月13日。


You don't use 是 to describe a noun with an adjective (The cat is white. / His house is big.). You only use it to define what something is (usually it's "subject + 是 + noun", for example: I am a student. / He is my brother).

For describing a noun with an adjective you either use 很, 非常, 太。。。了, (and more), or nothing at all, like in this case. 很 means very, but I think Chinese speakers simply use it to connect nouns with adjectives because it may sound off not to do it? The latter is just my own speculation.

The less intuitive answer is that adjectives act as verbs. Like 生气 would mean "to be angry".


Why 他们为怎么生气,你知道吗 Is marked wrong? It more often appear this way in real situation.


No, the opposite is true. That said, I think your answer should be acceptable.




What is the diference with: 你知道为什么他们在生气吗?


do you have to put the "吗"?


吗 indicates that this is a yes/no question, so it's extremely important. Note the difference between the first and second sentences:

你喜欢去公园。--> You like to go to the park.

你喜欢去公园吗? --> Do you like to go to the park?

你喜不喜欢去公园? --> Do you like to go to the park?

Likewise, the meaning of this sentence changes dramatically without 吗.

你知道他们为什么生气吗?--> Do you know why they're angry?

你知道他们为什么生气。--> You know why they're angry.

The Collins Dictionary reference for 吗 can be found here: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/chinese-english/%E5%90%97


You have to include 吗 because this is a yes/no question. The question here isn't "Why...?". The question is "Do you know ...?".

It may be a bit confusing because the "Wh...?" questions in English always start with the WH word, whereas in Chinese the WH words (为什么,什么, 什么时候,谁, 哪儿, ...) aren't always the first word in the sentence, even when it's a WH question.

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