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tcmzueck

嘛 and 吗 -- usage difference?

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tcmzueck

Hey all,

This word popped up in my textbook today, and they didn't make any mention to it's pronunciation, definition, use, etc. I asked my teacher to use it, and she gave me this example.

你想去北京,所以去嘛!

Judging by that example it seems like you use it to express your dislike. Another teacher said it's used just like 吗, except it shows praise, like...

不错嘛!

Sounds kind of like "Not bad, HUH?"

Anyways it seems obscure and unimportant, but I really want to learn to use it because I think it sounds really cool :wink:. By the way, what character is cool? It's pronounced ku4 right? That's all I got...

Can anyone elaborate on the use of 嘛?

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muyongshi

It is a way of expressing an obvious thing in some circumstances (your first example)- you want to go so then go! (duh!)

The pronunciation is ma

And according to the dictionary as the oxford puts it "used at the end of a sentence to show what precedes it is obvious"

But there is another common use of it that I'm not sure how to explain like in 干嘛...this one really has an annoyed/sarcastic feel to it...Kind of a rhetorical question like "what are you doing????" (insert the feeling yourself as I can't)

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Josh2007

Q. 北京的房子贵吗?

A. 贵嘛!

This is how it is sometimes used. It confused me at first that someone appeared to be repeating my question in the answer!

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frankcupid

1. 嘛 is a function word and generally used at the end of a sentence with no actual meaning.

你想去北京,所以去嘛。

嘛(ma5)is same as 吧(ba5) or 呗(bei5) means i agree you go to Beijing, there you go. no problem. this word can be only used in spoken Chinese.

2.嘛(ma2) is same as what eg. 你在干嘛? means what are you doing? in fact 干嘛(干吗 with same pronunciation and no difference) is a phrase(oral). we can't say 你在做嘛?你在忙嘛? in madarin Chinese.

that is to say in some region eg. Tianjin, 嘛(ma4)can be used as 什么 such as 你说嘛?=你说什么? there is an amusing usage eg.Q:好吃吗(ma1)? A: 好吃嘛! it means 好吃什么啊!=非常难吃! in Tianjin spoken Chinese.

3. 嘛(ma5) is used as an oral "!" at the end of a 感叹句. it can be interchange with 哈, 嘿,啊 etc. 嘿 is often used in Beijing spoken Chinese

eg. 不错嘛!(not bad,huh!<=not ?) means nice, good, great even though it looks like not bad. 不错=很好 in Chinese culture. 非常好=真不错.

4.:oops: 嘛(ma5) can also be used between lovers as a flirt expression(only for girls, generally)

嘛(ma2)=吗(ma2)=what

嘛(ma5 in general)=啊,嘿=oral exclamation

cool is with same pronunciation and usage in mandarin Chinese.

Q. 北京的房子贵吗?

A. 贵嘛!

this sentence is not correct. 贵吗?好吗?来吗?多吗? etc. these question can't be answered with 嘛(except Tianjin Chinese means negative) because 吗 and 嘛 sound similar. in this case, you can say 贵! or 贵啊!

indeed, 嘛 is a bit irregular.

hope this helpful

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zozzen

Q. 為甚麼不在北京買房子?

-贵嘛!

-貴啊!

-貴唄!

-貴哦!

-貴呀!

-太貴吧!

-太貴呢!

I know how to use them ,but how would you explain the subtle difference?

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frankcupid

Q: 为什么不在北京买房?

A: 贵。

贵嘛

when you want to say certainly because expensive you can use '贵嘛

贵啊

generally, 啊 at the end of a sentence , i think , makes it oral and kind. eg. 对啊, 是啊,好啊 cause chinese tone can't be change. in english, yes and yes/ can mean differently, however, in chinese 贵/gui4/ never changes. we can only use 啊 at the end to express different moods.

i guess the difference between 贵 and 贵啊 is similar to the one between expensive and it's expensive.

贵呗

if you ask me , i will answer 贵呗. it means 贵,否则还能为什么 of course 呗 doesnt mean so much it sounds so. when the reason is very obvious you can use 呗 so it is similar to 贵嘛

贵哦

哦 cannot be used as an answer. if you answer me this question, 贵呗, i can say 是哦 or single 哦. 哦 means i understand something.

贵呀

呀 often means the same as 啊 and you can also say 呀 when you feel amazed. 呀 is more amazing than 啊.

太贵吧

when you are uncertain of something you can say -吧. eg. 太贵吧 means maybe 太贵, in fact, you dont know.

if the question is 他为什么不在北京买房子呢? you can say 太贵吧. 可能他觉得太贵,我不是很清楚.

太贵呢

呢 is often used at the end of an interrogative sentence. eg. 为什么...呢? 怎么...呢? it can NOT be exchanged for 吗?

呢 can also used in short form, 我这里天气很炎热,那里呢?(song lyrics) 我想看电影,你呢?

expresses status 我吃饭呢(我正在吃饭), 我还没吃呢(我正在饿肚子)

expresses 不服气 我还会呢(我也会)

expresses what beyond i can describe eg. 什么时候能到家啊? 早着呢(还需要很长的时间)

here we cannot say 太贵呢

we can also say 太贵啦, 啦 is just an oral "!" same as 了 but more excited.

so confusing! all above are my personal experience. for reference only

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zozzen

Thanks for the details!

贵哦 can also be an answer indeed. (google result: 2,430,000 ), but seems to me that it's mostly for girls to pretend to be cute.

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frankcupid

:) you're right ~哦, 哟,喽(or 咯/lou5/) are often used by girls to pretend to be cute, no meanings. In chinese , it's called 发嗲(dia3) so i ignore it.

when we are amazed at the price, we can say 好贵哦(girls like it). here 哦 is same as 啊.

single 哦 has some other meanings eg

"哦!我们赢喽!" similar to yeah! sounds/ou4/注意: only for oneself

"哦?真的吗?" similar to really? sounds /ou2/

"哦,我明白了" similar to i see(i guess) sounds /ou4/*

"哦!糟糕" similar to oops sounds /ou4/

*it's a bit complicated. when you are told something, you can answer 哦 but...

/ou2/ means you dont believe it deeply or you believe it but the result is unexpected

/ou4/ is common which means you understand.

/ou2^4/ means 恍然大悟.

a question has puzzled you for a long time ,eg. why an apple can drop from the tree to the ground?

i tell you because the apple miss its mother, the root. you say 哦,真的吗?

there comes Isaac Newton who speak the truth.

you can say 哦/ou2^4/, 原来是这样 and then yell 哦/ou4/! 我终于明白了!

suddenly there is an apple drop onto your head, you can say 哦!真倒霉!

哦 also can used to 起哄(similar to jeer in english). it can be friendly or unfriendly and long or short. 哦哦! or 哦~~ just say it to your friends

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Quest
你想去北京,所以去嘛!

Using 所以 for 就 strikes me as rather odd.

Another teacher said it's used just like 吗, except it shows praise, like...

不错嘛!

Perhaps you need a new teacher.

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James Garrison

When used in the interrogative, is there any difference between 嘛 and 吗 ? I know the former is also a particle of persuasion, right?

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pandagirl

in the general mood,you can use"嘛" ,such as: 1.这个活很容易干嘛.要珍惜机会,2.机不可失时不再来嘛!

but in the other mood such as you want to know something or you want express some mean.you can use"吗" 1.昨天布置的事办了吗?2.这辆汽车吗,早该报废了。

when we ask someone what are you doing,we can use"你在干什么"or"你在干吗",

but not "干嘛".

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jade-

There is a little difference. 吗 is most used in questions, and speaker is quite neutural about the question. 嘛 is used with more personal feelings - sign, complain, persuade, etc.

你这是干吗?- questioning

你这是干嘛?- complaining

A lot of Chinese are confused with these two words too. You can see they use them as interchangable words. In that case, there is no difference to them.

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muyongshi

Try this thread...

(ps if you searched and couldn't find it try reading this thread to help you find those pesky characters that don't show up in the vbulletin search)

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roddy

Merged the two.

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