What is the difference between:

  1. 你在哪儿?
  2. 你在哪儿呢?

Or in general: When do you use ne and what does it indicate apart from "and you? / what about you?"

2 Answers 2



1) Reciprocal question: You return the question you have just been asked. It is not limited to you or the other person taking part in the conversation, you can extend your question to 3rd persons.






2) Related to 1) it has a "What about....?" meaning. E.g. you see everybody in your office being handed over some gift. Everyone else is cheerfully distracted, and they overlook the fact that you didn't get anything. You can call attention to your situation with 我呢? "What about me?!"

3) If not at the end of a question, its role is in amplifying a statement, often with a slight undertone of discontent:


姐姐:我在打电话呢。I am making a phone call. [Can't you see?/Why do you ask?]

4) It can be used to mark continuous tense.

我还在看书呢。I am still reading.

(The previous example is actually also using the 呢 in the same sense, except that in the context it is also amplifying the perceived obviousness of the action, too.)

5) You can use it to express contrast.


I think there is at least one other use case of 呢, I cannot recall.

  • Thus I guess  你在哪儿呢 ? falls under case 4. Maybe indicating that your target is moving and you want to find out, whether it is now, at this moment / point in time. (Also indicating that you are going to ask this question a few more times in this kind of situation)
    – Imago
    Jun 13, 2015 at 11:55
  • 2
    I think in 你在哪儿呢? the 呢 is drawing more attention to the pondering nature of the question, like "Where might you be?/So where are you?", but the question isn't rhetoric.
    – imrek
    Jun 13, 2015 at 12:44
  • 1/2 and 3/4 look the same to me. Jun 14, 2015 at 14:05
  • @EnricoBrasil They are different. 1) You are returning a question. 2) There was no original question to be returned. You just react to a situation that dissatisfies you. 3) You express that you think the question was kind of superfluous or you think there was no point in asking it because it's obvious what you are to say. 4) You express the continuousness of an action or that it's still ongoing.
    – imrek
    Jun 14, 2015 at 14:20
  • @Drunken Master 1) 我有点儿累,你呢?I'm a bit tired, WHAT ABOUT you? 2) 我呢?WHAT ABOUT me? Maybe 3 and 4 are indeed different, but the examples you gave are pretty much a 在...呢 construction: 我在打电话呢。I AM MAKING a phone call. / 我还在看书呢。I AM still READING the book. Jun 17, 2015 at 15:39

I think you could use both, but using 呢 is I guess a shorter version, like if you asked:


我叫王家明。 你呢?


But it could also go like:


我叫王家明。 你叫什么名字?


So I don't think there really is a "rule" of when you use it or don't use it. But maybe I'm wrong, I'm only a Chinese 1 student.

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