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

So I asked,


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?

  • 1
    Are you sure she understood it wrong?
    – Mou某
    Jul 26, 2018 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, 2018 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, 2021 at 13:59

4 Answers 4


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.







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)


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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