4

"你会不会怕我" example

What tense is this sentence? It seems like future tense, but if you watch the video the person talking (the dad) is talking to his daughter. But, that makes me think it is current tense. So, then what does 会 mean in this context?

  • 1
    Tense is not a feature of Chinese – julian Mar 24 at 8:39
  • Present and/or future. – Flux 1 hour ago
4

The usage here is like 'would' in English. 'Would' can be either past tense, or present tense with subjunctive mood. 会 can be either future tense, or present tense with subjunctive mood.

I believe this usage is influenced by Taiwanese Mandarin where there's a common pattern to turn simple V+O structure into 有没有/会不会 + (V+O as O) to soften the tone. This is considered redundant and borderline ungrammatical in the schools in mainland China, but in daily spoken language it's very common.

1

Given the fact that Chinese (Mandarin) is a tonal and an analytic language which comparison to English (which isn't), by placing independent element side by side to create a sentense, but do not use inflection - modifying words to indicate grammatical meaning such as plural, gender, tense, case, etc.

In order to create or add a past/future tense, you may add a tense condition first before the origin sentense. Example,

两年前, 你会怕我吗? (Past tense) Are you afraid of me 2 years ago?

明天, 你会怕我吗? (Future tense) Will you be afraid of me tomorrow?

** Notice the Engliah translation has already adapted its past/future tense base on the addee condition.

Present tense? That depends how "long-winded" are you yapping for words. You may add words and form sentense like:

现在你怕我吗?

but after a while when you have master this language, you'll find many ways that 你怕我吗? would be enough for present tense.

1

Tense is a fraught subject, even in English. Many members here tell us, Chinese has no tense. I'm inclined to believe them.

你会吃青菜吗?
Do you eat Chinese cabbage? (Ostensibly Present Tense, this sentence asks about the past, present and future.)
你会不会吃青菜吗?
Do you eat Chinese cabbage?

你会不会怕我? Are you afraid of me? (Do you fear me?)

To invoke the subjunctive, we need a [condition]:

如果[我穿得像个可怕的印第安人],你会怕我吗?so I wouldn't go for 'would' in your sentence.

This 会 below equates to 'certainly, definitely,' maybe there is a bit of that in your 会?

长风破浪有时。(——唐· 李白《行路难》) There is definitely a time for daring.

  • Just a tip, the last word in the first two Chinese sentences should be 吗/嗎 rather than 马/馬 – mestackoverflow Mar 24 at 4:49
  • 我这个笨蛋哦!太快不小心。感谢你告诉我。 – Pedroski Mar 26 at 8:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.