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If I have sentences with prepositions like:

他从北京回来。
我把水喝了。
我往上海开车。
学校离我的家不远。

How would I turn them into V-not-V sentences? Is it right to say:

他从不从北京回来?
你把没把水喝?
你往不往上海开车?
学校离不离你的家远?

Thanks!

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I assume the V in 'V-not-V' means 'verb'. However, in the second group of the sentences you gave, you are repeating the prepositions (从把往离), not the verbs. Of course, it's also possible to ask questions about prepositions, but if you are trying to practice the 'V-not-V' structure, the 'V-not-V' structure should be used, shouldn't it?

That be said, for some of the sentences, the 'V-not-V' structure are not the best way to form questions. And some of the first group's sentences themselves are not natural to my ears. Here is the most natural way (in my opinion, not necessarily the only right way) to say them and ask questions about them:

他从北京回来。

他是不是从北京回来?

我把水喝了。 (Usually is 喝水. 把水喝了 has a special nuance. )

你是不是把水喝了?

我开车去上海。

你是不是开车去上海?

学校离我的家不远。

学校离你的家远不远? (This is perhaps the best example in these sentences where V-not-V structure is most suitable. However, 远 is a adjective, not a verb... )

By the way, some of the sentences in @fefe's answer are not natural to my ears. I don't know if they are from a different part of China or something.

Basically the part you repeat is the part you want to ask about. So, if you repeat the preposition, you ask about the preposition (usually about place, time, direction, etc). If you repeat the verb, you ask about the action.

If you want to ask about the whole statement without emphasis on either preposition or action, a generic question uses 是不是, like I said above: 你是不是在中国工作? Or use 吗: 你在中国工作吗?

| improve this answer | |
  • You are right, I'm duplicating the prepositions. But I am doing so because I know they are the ones that are duplicated in 你在不在中国工作? and 你给不给她打电话? (not 你在中国工作不工作 / 你给他打不打电话) – Enrico Brasil Feb 27 at 15:04
  • @EnricoBrasil OK, you can ask questions about prepositions, but then they are not Verb-not-Verb structure. They are Preposition-not-Preposition. =.= Both 你在不在中国工作? and 你在中国工作不工作? are right. They just have different meanings. The former is like Where are you working? China?. The latter is When you are in China, do you work? – Betty Feb 28 at 3:28
  • I was taught by a Chinese that 你在中国工作不工作 was wrong. Which one would be the translation of "do you work in China or not?" – Enrico Brasil Feb 29 at 0:18
  • @EnricoBrasil Basically the part you repeat is the part you want to ask about. So, if you repeat the preposition, you ask about where. If you repeat the verb, you ask about the action. If you want to ask about the whole statement without emphasis on either place or action, a generic question is as I said in the answer, 你是不是在中国工作? A sentence with a not so common emphasis could be viewed wrong because it's only valid in a specific circumstance. As I said in my answer, I feel the 'V-not-V' structure is not the best way to form questions for most of your example sentences. – Betty Feb 29 at 8:01
  • Thank you very much! – Enrico Brasil Mar 3 at 13:44
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You should change the "Verb" part to get the V-not-V sentence. All you are changing is the preposition part, but not the verb.

Try this:

他从北京回不回来?/ 他从北京回来不回来?
你把水喝没喝? (not "不")
你往上海开不开车?
学校离你的家远不远?

Note: "你把水喝了没?"/"你把水喝了没有?" is (much) better than "你把水喝没喝?", though may be not the V-not-V structure.

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  • What do you say about 你在不在中国工作 being a right sentence and 你在中国工作不工作 not? – Enrico Brasil Feb 27 at 15:11
  • I'm not saying that 你在不在中国工作 is not correct, but it might not be the V-not-V structure, because the part where the "不" is inserted is not V. – fefe Feb 28 at 1:24
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A not A is more like a structure to stress a certain part of the sentence (A doesn't have to be a verb):

他从不从北京回来?(Stress on where he comes back from)

他从北京回来不回来?(Stress on whether or not he will come back)

你把没把水喝?(x)(Because 把 is merely a grammar word to change the order. Repeating 把 makes no sense.)

你把水喝了没喝?

你往不往上海开车?

学校离你的家远不远?

| improve this answer | |
  • What about if I have a distance in 学校离你的家10公里? Would it be 学校离你的家10公里没有? – Enrico Brasil Feb 27 at 15:12
  • I would say 他是不是从北京回来/他从北京回不回来/你喝没喝水/你是不是开车去上海/学校离你家远不远 – ziyuang Feb 29 at 12:42

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