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Sometimes when talking to Chinese via MSN or a comparable means of complicating communication, I find that after simple yes/no questions, they use 么 instead of 吗. What is that? A typo? Slang? Or is there even a difference between the two?

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1) It's convenience. It takes fewer keypresses to enter 么 me since there are fewer characters that share the same pronunciation.

2) It's a throwback to the early 20th century when 么 and 吗 had not had their usage clearly defined. It's non-standard now, though.

Take your pick...

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Great, Elina, thanks a lot. :clap Very helpful, that book looks like it could frequently help me. So off to Wangfujing again...

PS: Of course thanks for answering to you as well, zhwj! :)

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