"Do you know where the Yangtze is?"


August 17, 2018

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Do you need 吗 here? Not accepted without


Yes, you do since a subject is being asked whether or not he/she knows about the location of the river. Since 吗 complements with the verb 知道 in place, the given translation is appropriate. Otherwise, you can use 知不知道


Could you provide any reference to this grammar structures?


The grammar structure here is a normal 吗 question. The sentence is 你知道....吗? (Do you know....?)

The information that we're asking if you know (the blank) just happens to be "where the Yellow River is" (长江在哪儿).


Why is 你知道长江在哪儿?not correct? As 哪 always is an interrogative form


@Ryf-Reto - read the English question again. Where is NOT the interrogative in this instance.. Do you know? is the interrogative.. "Where" simply happens to be the subject of "Do you know"?

Now, "Do you know?" is a Yes/No question, and as you (hopefully) know, Yes/No questions need a 吗 or a X 不 X in the sentence construction.

Hope this helps.


@Rajas - many thanks for your precision. Now I understand it clearly.


My pleasure... Glad to be of help.


You are correct, but usually in English this form of question is colloquially asked to find out where the river is, and not if the person knows where it is. Again, you are correct, but the form is confusing for english speakers.


The important point is that this form of question is asked in English, regardless of why it is asked.

So no reason why this form should be confusing for English speakers. Ideas?


The English name comes from 揚子 (Yángzǐ) which is the name of an ancient ferry crossing mistaken to mean the entire river. 长江 or 長江 just means "long river" but has other local names within China.


It was really not easy from the beginning, maybe what we discussed with my Chinese teacher can clarify it: - 你知道不知道,长江在哪儿? If you rephrase the sentence this means: do you know or not WHERE the Yangtse is? - 你知道,长江在哪儿吗? So this sentence means the same, the 吗 refers to 你知道 - 你知道,长江在那儿? This has a different menaning: do you know if the Yangtse is THERE


Same question as AidanGoodall. - Is the 吗 needed with 哪. - I mean the 吗 is needed with 那。


Think about the English answer. Does "Do you.." go with "where"? Or should it only go with "there"?

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