The use of 什么 [shénme]

2024-04-29 Chinese

There are two main uses of 什么 [shénme] in Chinese: 

1- 什么 [shénme] means “what” in Chinese and it is used to ask open-ended questions. In Chinese, 什么 [shénme] can be placed at the end of the sentence, or before the object of the sentence. When using 什么, it is important to understand its different uses:

1. Asking about things or objects: 

Example: 你想要什么?

[nǐ xiǎng yào shénme?]

What do you want?

2. Asking about actions or events: 

Example: 你昨天做了什么?

[nǐ zuótiān zuòle shénme?]

What did you do yesterday?

3. Expressing disbelief or confusion: 

Example: 什么!这怎么可能?

[shénme! zhè zěnme kěnéng?]

What! How is this possible?

4. Intensifier: 

Example: 什么天气!

[shénme tiānqì!]

What terrible weather!

2- Besides its use as a question word, 什么 [shénme] can also be a pronoun meaning “something”, “anything”, or “any”, so you may see sentences such as:

Example: 你想喝点什么吗?

[nǐ xiǎng hē diǎn shénme ma?]

Do you want something to drink?