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I have found a lot of information about asking questions but very little about answering them.

I want to create a rule to help learners answer affirmative/negative questions in Chinese. Presently I ask them to identify the following in a sentence: copulas, modals, main verbs or solitary adjectives and then use them in one or two-word answers. My question is how would you answer the following questions in the simplest way:

  1. 李先生在吗?
  2. 他是你的朋友吗?
  3. 李先生很累吗?
  4. 你要这张卡片吗?
  5. 李先生有朋友吗?
  • Most frequently and informally I would use 嗯 to 4th tone to make 'yes' answers, 嗯 to the reverse 2nd tone (243) to make 'no' answers and 嗯 to 1st tone to give an uncertain answer. – Joseph S WU Apr 11 '14 at 6:25
  • This question appears to be off-topic because it is about a suggestion, so it should be moved to Chinese Language Meta – xqMogvKW Apr 11 '14 at 7:09
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is an open question about teaching Chinese. – NS.X. Apr 11 '14 at 7:29
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First answer is yes, and next answer is no:

  1. 李先生在吗? 在/不在
  2. 他是你的朋友吗? 是/不是
  3. 李先生很累吗? 累(This is shortest, but in real life people wouldn't answer like that)/不累(This is native.)
  4. 你要这张卡片吗? 要/不要
  5. 李先生有朋友吗? 有/没有

And using the 嗯 to make no answer is not the right way, people don't speak like that.

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  • @user3306356 I don't have the privilege to comment you answer, so I'll write it down here. Use 嗯 to make the 'yes' answer is fine, and to make the other 2 answers is controversial. Use 2nd tone to hint a doubt, that would probably acceptable. But I don't see anyone using 嗯 to negate in real life. – Rui Apr 17 '14 at 20:22
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Don't know how much I can discover...and I'm not writing that strict rules.

  • One can combine Ma with a negative sentence, and its answer is always reverse to the western logic.

e.g.

-你们还没吃饭吗?

-不,吃了。/对,没吃。

  • Thus there are direct answers as simplified compound answers based on main verb.

是的/对/对的-不是/不对、 是的-(还)没有 、 有的-没有。

  • Note that 你吃了吗? is not really a question asking if you have had meal, but somehow a kind of invitation. The right way to answer is

-你吃了吗?

-吃得可好了。

if you have had your meal and don't want to be invited.

Any other answer leads to the consequence of being invited.

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Answering everything with:

is perfectly acceptable and can avoid having to have any sort of conversation!

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