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I wanted to ask her if she misses China and her friends in China.

So I asked,

你不想中国和在中国里的朋友吗?

Don't you miss China and your friends in China?

But instead, she understood it as 'I don't miss China and friends inside China'. Where have I gone wrong?

3
  • 1
    Are you sure she understood it wrong?
    – Mou某
    Jul 26 '18 at 5:07
  • 3
    As a native speaker, I cannot understand this question at my first sight. I thought "你不想" means "Don't you want to......".
    – NoobTW
    Jul 26 '18 at 8:02
  • I think the question is phrased awkward enough that native speakers might have oversaw the correct way of interpreting the question. But if you put together this English translation with the Chinese question, I believe there's no grammatical error that prevents your way of interpreting. I guess the best way is to add more context to isolate the one way of interpretation. Feb 3 at 13:59
6

Just sounds odd to natives, 你不想念中国和在中国的朋友吗 is the common expression.

Add 念 to distinguish it from 想(think) and 想(miss).

You don't need 里 after a place name.

But this is still not normally said by the Chinese. The typical question is 你不想念你的家乡/祖国吗? 家乡/祖国 includes friends and other things.

2

中文一个字有很多意思。你这里的“想”,要表达miss的意思。在这种情况下,“想家”这个词频比较高,“想中国”用得就比较少了。所以,你可以先问想家,这样你的朋友就知道你是在问“想念”的事:

你不想家,不想你在中国的朋友吗?

或者正如Jacob所说,直接用“想念”

你不想念中国和在中国的朋友吗

1

If you want to ask a question of the form: don't you [verb]..., you can use: 你[verb]不[verb]...
It literally corresponds to: do you or don't you [verb]...

For example: 你想不想中国? Do/don't you miss China? (in simplified Chinese)

0

So your problem is that your friend mistake your question as a negative sentence, is that right? Otherwise I don't see where she misunderstood it.

Similar to English, we distinguish questions from statements with phonetics. You should use an obvious rising tone to suggest you are asking a question.

Or begin your sentence with

问你个问题, Let me ask you a question,

It might also be the rhyme you used to say this long sentence.

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