How to Use "谁, shéi" in Mandarin
Learn to use "谁, shéi" to construct a question sentence to ask for a person or people whom you want to know in mandarin.
Let’s look at the way to introduce a person in mandarin using the following affirmative sentence, "他是大卫。 " (He is David.)
Its grammatical structure is : Subject + verb + object.
We first learn the meaning of each character in this sentence and then extend to learn
the meaning of the full sentence.
The Subject: "他, tā" - means “He” which refers to a male person.
We can also use: "她, tā" - means “She” which refers to a female person.
Their mandarin pronunciations of “he- tā” and “she – tā” are the same.
If more than one person, we can use: “他们, tā men” means “they”, that describe more than one person, regardless of whether the persons are male or female.
Last, we can also use - "我, wǒ", in the Subject position. “我, wǒ” means “I”.
The Verb: “是, shì” means verb to be: is, am, or are” ,
it is used to indicate Subject and Object are equivalent, which means “He = David”.
The Object: “David” is a “Person Name”. We can use different names or nouns in an object position of the sentence.
These following sentences have the meaning as:
He is David. "他是大卫。"
He = David
Then, if we want to change a sentence from an affirmative form to a negative form, we need to add a negative adverb "不, bù" in front of “the verb to be” of the sentence:
“不, bù” means “No” or ‘not”.
“不是, bú shì” means “is not”, “am not” or “are not”.
Let’s illustrate more examples:
He is David. "他是大卫。"
He is not David. "他不是大卫。"
She is Mary. "她是玛丽。"
She is not Mary. "她不是玛丽。"
They are teachers. "他们是老师。"
They are not teachers. "他们不是老师。"
I am a teacher. "我是老师。"
I am not a teacher. "我不是老师。"
We have already learned the affirmative and negative sentences, how about the construct of a "question sentence" to ask for a person whom you want to know?
Let’s continue using “He is David” as an example to demonstrate how to construct a question sentence using a Chinese question word “谁, shéi”.
We put "shéi" in an Object position, making it a question sentence. For example,
“他是谁, tā shì shéi?” means “Who is he?”
“谁, shéi” is a question word, meaning “who” which is used to ask for a person or people whom you want to know.
Let’s see the following examples:
Who is he?
Who is she?
Who are they?
Is it clear how to use “谁, shéi” (who)” to ask for essential information about a person? Let’s do some exercises
Who is he? He is a fireman. "他是消防员。"
Who is she? She is a nurse. "她是护士。"