I am trying to better understand the use of 吧 in a sentence where I am asking a question. For example, could the particle be used in the following way:


My understanding is that the particle would imply that the person asking the question already assumes that the coffee belongs to the person he is asking, and so the question is not entirely open-ended. Something like, "This is your coffee, right?"

Is my understanding correct here? Also, does this construction affect the politeness of the phrasing?

  • 1
    – user6065
    Jan 15, 2016 at 17:18
  • Basically, correct as far as this very example is concerned.
    – imrek
    Jan 15, 2016 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


Yes is used at the end of a question when you already assume the statement to be true.

(modal particle indicating suggestion or surmise)

Whereas had you ended the question with ma (t: 嗎, s: 吗) then it is just a question, no assumption behind it, you are asking because you honestly have no clue.

References: http://cdict.net/?q=吧,嗎

As for the politeness level of 吧, while it is certainly non-formal, it is not inherently impolite. Even in English, This is yours, right? is not necessarily offensive or impolite, probably depends on the situation. For example

  • positive: someone may have been looking for their misplaced coffee and would be delighted to hear you bring their coffee and say This is yours, right?
  • negative: On the other hand if I point to an unwanted piece of litter on the ground and say to you This is yours, right?, I'm accusing you of being a litterbug, so it is a slightly different story.


It's not particularly impolite, but if for some reason conveying that you assume something, will somehow come across as rudeness on your part, then instead of ba, use ma (t: 嗎, s: 吗)


I think you are right: for more

这是你的咖啡吧?More casual tone,used between friends.here "吧" can be replaced with "咯"

这是你的咖啡吗?maybe usually,"吗” used between 2 strangers

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