I overheard in a subway train two young people were in a dialogue A:出了地铁就是XX电影院了,你是去呢还是去呢? B:我去。 What does "你是去呢还是去呢" mean?

3 Answers 3


It's kind of a joke. There could be a few reasons:

  1. The girl thought her friend really want to go to the cinema but perhaps he was not willing to admit the fact he was really wanting to (especially with her I guess) maybe because he felt awkward/shy to be known the fact. The girl was trying to reveal his pretending.

  2. It could also be that she was simply just wanting him to go to the cinema by providing only choice as if saying go to the cinema, there is no other choice.

  3. She was guessing he would go to the cinema based on her understanding about her friend.

There could be other reasons according to context.

The pattern could go on and on like 你是去呢, 还是去呢, 还是去呢... ....


No meaning and does not make sense. I think you missed a word in the sentence, 你是去呢还是""去呢? - Are you going (去) or not going (不去)?


It could be a casual conservation that one who has jokingly placed a question to trick his friend into confusion and returns the answer the way he wants/designed - as 去 is the only choice :)

  • No need to be teenagers, but definitely more common for younger people.
    – sylvia
    Jul 12, 2021 at 17:30
  • @sylvia Agree. Revised, thanks.
    – r13
    Jul 12, 2021 at 18:08
  • I'm a Chinese, and I 100% believe that it's "你是去呢还是不去呢".
    – Andy Lin
    Jul 14, 2021 at 2:14

Well, "X or Y" is to give a choice to choose. This is the same usage for both English and Chinese. A trending usage (jokingly) in oral Chinese is to make the choices the same, so the one who needs to make the choice doesn't have a choice. The one (A) who said that definitely wants B to go, but presented in a way that a choice is given.

  • Even no real choice is given, X and Y would still be different. e.g. 你要插眼還是踢蛋蛋? (總之就是要受痛); 你要跳海還是跳河? (總之就是要淹死); 你要交給我還是要我動手拿? (這東西無論如何都要轉到我手上)
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 12, 2021 at 16:14
  • "Am I right or am I right?" shouldn't be literally translated as "我是對的還是我是對的?" in Chinese, because Chinese don't talk like this. We would translate it as "我是對的,不是嗎?"
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 12, 2021 at 16:24
  • @TangHo I didn't quite get your point, but in English we don't say "am i right or am i right" either? Like I said, this is used jokingly in oral Chinese, but in a form of "X or Y".
    – sylvia
    Jul 12, 2021 at 17:33
  • I see, so it is a game of words played by young people of China in modern times, they seem to offer you a choice, but actually you have no other choice than the ones offered that should be different but same. Jul 13, 2021 at 2:33
  • @NanningYouth Yup. Imagine if you hear that, is it a bit hard to say no? :)
    – sylvia
    Jul 13, 2021 at 16:07

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