I know how to ask affirmative-negative questions in Chinese and how to ask questions with 吗。These encompass many questions with English equivalents like "Do you live in China". But I don't know the Chinese equivalent to questions with CAN, like "Can you pour me some water", or "Can you go running tomorrow with me". How do you ask questions like this in Chinese? Is it with 马, affirmative-negative, or a different pattern altogether?

  • 1
    It's , not . To ask if someone can do something, you could use the modal verbs , , or 可以, depending on the context. The format you could use is Verb+不+Verb or Verb+……+吗?, e.g: 明天你能不能跟我一起去? or 明天你能跟我一起去吗?
    – Reynaldi
    Commented Jun 19, 2018 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


Almost any yes-no question can be formed simply by placing 吗 after a statement.

statement: You can pour me some water. (你可以给我倒些水。)

question: Can you pour me some water? (你可以给我倒些水吗?)

statement: You can go running tomorrow with me. (明天你可以和我去跑步。)

question: Can you go running tomorrow with me? (明天你可以和我去跑步吗?)

Also, when asking someone to do something, you can use the pattern "Do something 好吗?"



Here 好吗 can also be 行吗/可以吗

  • you say almost any yes-no question can be formed that way, but not all? Which of them cannot be formed with 吗? Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 7:16
  • @VitalyOsipov None, I guess. At least I can't come up with one so far. But I'm not 100% sure so I said “almost” just to be cautious : ) Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 9:21

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