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How to say "do you *ever*' do something" (as opposed to "do you do something")


Entropy_Rising

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Hello,

I was at the first meeting of the foreign language club at the Chinese university I'm studying at. There weren't many members and since it was small and since the main activity of the club is talking, I wanted to ask "Do you ever go out and eat together?" But I ended up not asking the question as I got lost in thought trying to figure out how exactly to say that.

My knee-jerk attempt would've been "你们出去吃饭吗?” or as a member of the club “我们出去吃饭吗?” But I get the sense that doesn't completely convey what I'm trying to say because the "ever" concept is missing. I don't want to say something along the lines of "Are you guys going out to eat?", I want to ask if this is a part of the group's habitual activities, or even if it could possibly become such a habitual activity.

For example, imagine if you wanted to ask a Chinese person, "Do you ever go to the movie theater?" which is actually a pretty sensible question to ask in this manner since most Chinese I know of actually don't go to the movie theater as it's far more cost efficient just to buy the pirated DVD. Would I say “你去电影院吗?” Is there any grammar construction or word to capture the meaning of "ever" in the English sentence?

Thanks.

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Doesn't that mean "Have you ever" instead of "Do you ever" ?

I think they are quite similar...In fact, it should be "Have you ever..." rather than "Do you ever...".

I understand it as "Haven't you ever....?"

This is 难道你从没XXX吗?

Jialihai Jiejie

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I think they are quite similar...In fact, it should be "Have you ever..." rather than "Do you ever...".

The difference is that one asks if somebody has done something (in their life) at least once, while the other indicates a certain habit, something that happens from time to time, and that has a chance of happening again.

In the threadstarter's situation, I'd ask "do you ever" as well.

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while the other indicates a certain habit, something that happens from time to time, and that has a chance of happening again.

Fair enough. In this case, it fits nicely in simple present tense. Therefore, adding an extra 'ever' would make the question sound a bit tautological.

The word, 'ever' is used to indicate something happened before and the time is unknown/ not important. It goes well with 'Have' but not with 'Do'

Let's compare...

Have you ever loved me? [Consider this]

Do you ever love me? [it's odd to have 'ever' here]

Do you love me? [Consider this instead]

Jialihai Jiejie

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It doesn't work well with "love", but consider:

"Do you ever think about me?"

The word, 'ever' is used to indicate something happened before

"ever" doesn't have to refer to the past. Think about:

"Do you ever stop?"

"Will you ever tell him?"

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Jiejie, the specific use of the word "ever" I am referring to is different than the one you described. You're right in that "ever" means indicates something has happened in the past and the time is undetermined, but that is just one use, the most common one. "Ever" can refer to the future, specifically when used in conjunction with "to do," and it is this specific function of ever that I'm trying to ferret out in Chinese. Pardon me for stating the obvious if you happen to be a native speaker of English, but using "ever" with the verb "to do" is perfectly natural and correct English when used in this fashion.

In response to your example, I don't think your choice of the verb "to love" fits what I'm aiming here for. As I mentioned and couple others mention, "does one ever" is a question about whether or not an agent engages in a habitual action or activity whereas loving someone is more of a "state of being." Furthermore making the direct object the speaker of the sentence won't do as an example here because asking "does one ever" means that the speaker of the sentence is unaware of the actions of the person he or she is addressing.

Let's take your examples and change the verb to "kiss" (an action instead of a state) and the object to 3rd person instead of the person spoken to. In this case:

Have you ever kissed her?

Do you ever kiss her?

These two sentence are both perfectly correct and natural, but the meanings are different. The first one is obviously inquiring about a particular occurrence in the past. The second one is asking about the existence of a habitual action that has occurred in the past and will probably happen again in the future.

I think the key factor in the "do you ever" question form is that the asker sees that the person he's talking to is in the position to easily and logically do something and wants to confirm this supposition.

For example:

A: "I've been dating my girlfriend for 5 years but I'm worried that we're not that intimate."

B: "Do you ever kiss her?"

B has learned that A has been in a position where he easily/logically can kiss his girlfriend. B suspects that given A's situation he probably should have kissed his girlfriend in the past and will continue kissing her in the future. But he is asking to confirm if this habitual condition exists.

A: "We live near some great mountains that are covered in snow year round."

B: "Do you ever go skiing?"

B thinks its logical and likely that A goes skiing alot since the ideal conditions exist, that's why the ever is there.

Which brings us back to my situation. There is a language group, with a small amount of people, whose main activity is talking with each other. So I think it's logical and likely that people in such a situation go out and eat together as they do their talking activities. But to confirm, I want to ask, "Do you ever go out to eat?" If I asked "Do you go out to eat?" technically that would be correct but without the right context the listener may not realize this question is linked to the club itself. With the "ever," it's clear to an English speaker that the question is being asked in relation to the current context, in my case, the language club.

So back in Chinese, I could've said 你们出去一起吃饭吗? But I was concerned that people wouldn't understand my question was being asked in the context of the club activities. I didn't want them to think I was asking if they eat together because their friends, or eat together because they like the same food, or are going to eat together that particular night. But maybe in Chinese that implication isn't there - I'm not sure, as a Mandarin novice I'm not sure what particular sentences imply.

:mrgreen:

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Why not? 'Love' is all you need! Ha ha...

True. What you said is correct but I still feel that 'have' and 'ever' - they don't really go well together with certain words.

Anyway, to answer your question. You should say "你们从不出去吃饭吗?" Just add 从不 to indicate 'ever'. You may use 从不曾...过 to indicate 'have' and 'ever'.

Compare 你们从不出去吃饭吗? vs 你们从不曾出去吃过饭吗?

Eg:

Do you love me? 你爱我吗?

Have you ever loved me? 你从不曾爱过我吗?

Jialihai Jiejie

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That implies that the person sometimes loves her and sometimes not, so the question is "do you ever love me". It would mean that the person switches love on and off.

But it's a bit stretched with "love".

The "Do you ever ....." is basically a skeptical variation of "Do you sometimes ......"

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From the sentences you gave, Do you ever love me? 你還愛我嗎? Or, 你還有沒有愛我?

Do you ever ski? 你還滑雪嗎? Or, 你還有沒有滑雪?

"Do you ever go out and eat together?" ... I want to ask if this is a part of the group's habitual activities, or even if it could possibly become such a habitual activity.

"Do you ever go to the movie theater?" which is actually a pretty sensible question to ask in this manner since most Chinese I know of actually don't go to the movie theater as it's far more cost efficient just to buy the pirated DVD.

Consider using 會...嗎?

I think in this case, Skylee's 會...嗎 is correct for your 'do you ever do something pattern". But mind you, 會, 要, 還, etc. will be used in different contexts. For example, in your sentence-do you ever go out and eat together?- you want to know if this is a habitual activity, you may ask, 參加這個社團, 你們會聚餐嗎? Or 參加這個社團, 你們需要聚餐嗎?

Edited by semantic nuance
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