The most difference between Chinese and English is structure of sentence.
- When you ask a question via English, you have to adjust the structure of sentence.
- In English, you have to change word to express past, current or future.
Are you living in China now?
In Chinese expression, it is “You now live in China ma?”
So Chinese sentence does not have to change the structure of sentence when you ask a question, it always ends with ma?.
Did you go to school today?
Have you been to school today?
In Chinese expression, it is “you today go to school lema?”
lema? = le + ma?
“le” is the only and must phrase to be with “ma?” when expressing meaning of “have been” or “have”
Have you had your dinner?
In Chinese expression, it is “you eat dinner lema?”
Have you shipped out my parcel?
In Chinese expression, it is “my parcel ship out lema?”
You see Chinese word does not have to change ship to shipped or live to living.
Further more, can you understand the below meaning now?
“I today must go to school !”
“I today must go to school ma?”
Further more, there is no strict discipline to organize words in order. The below sentences are correct as well.
“I must today go to school!”
“I must go to school today!”
“today I must go to school!”
“I must today go to school ma?”
“I must go to school today ma?”
“today I must go to school ma?”
“I must go to school ma today?”
As explained in this article “Big Mouth“, at most time, Chinese expression always consists of two words to make it clear like circle field and circle lie.
Let me explain more:
We can divide the sentence as below:
I / must / today / go to school!
I / bi xu / jin tian / go to school!
bi xu and jin tian are two words in Chinese. So no matter how you move them to a position, listener or reader can understand what you mean.
Because Chinese words are so diverse, there is exclusive show in China called “Xiangsheng”, performers always take advantages of it to make audience laugh.