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Hi everybody! Yinru here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Chinese questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: How do I use the final particle 啊 a?
In Chinese language, especially colloquial Chinese, you’ll often see particles at the end of a sentence. They usually don’t have any substantive meaning themselves, but they do play a very important role in carrying out the intonation of a sentence. We call those “final particles.” Words like 吗 ma, 吧 ba, 啊 a, 哦 o are all particles that appear at the end of a sentence to show the emotions of the speaker.
Today we’ll be talking about one of the most common final particle: 啊 a.
Generally speaking, 啊 can be put at the end of a greeting, a question, an exclamation, or an imperative. It can soften the tone, strengthen the emotion, and make the conversation more colloquial.
Let’s look at some examples.
When you want to ask: “Who is it?” you can say:
是谁? shì shéi? This sounds very intense.
But if you say:
是谁啊? shì shéi a? The tone is much softer and less impersonal.
To agree with someone, you can use the word 好 hǎo, 对 duì, 是 shì, etc.
Many times, you’ll hear 好啊 hǎo a, 对啊 duì a, 是啊 shì a in conversations. For example:
A: 这里的人好多啊!(zhèlǐ de rén hǎo duō a! “So many people here!”)
B: 是啊/对啊。每天都这样。(shì a /duì a. Měi tiān dōu zhèyàng. “Yeah. It’s like this every day.”)
今天天气真好啊!Jīntiān tiānqì zhēn hǎo a! is an exclamation. We use 啊 to emphasize the fact that the weather is really very nice.
快吃啊!Kuài chī a! is an imperative. You’ll often hear parents say that to their kids, to make them hurry up and eat their food.
Here’s another example of how to use 啊:
动物园里有很多动物,老虎啊,狮子啊,大象啊,骆驼啊,长颈鹿啊等等. Dòngwùyuán lǐ yǒu hěnduō dòngwu, lǎohǔ a, shīzi a, dàxiàng a, luòtuo a, chángjǐnglù a děngděng. It means “There are lots of animals in the zoo, such as tigers, lions, elephants, camels, giraffes, and so on.”
啊 here is used when listing a series of things in spoken language.
Generally speaking, 啊 is a final particle we use in colloquial language to make the speech softer, less abrupt, and more conversational.
是不是很有意思啊?Shì bú shì hěn yǒu yìsi a? “Interesting, right?”


How was it? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below, and I’ll try to answer them!
I’ll See you next episode. 我们下期再见吧。Wǒmen xià qī zàijiàn ba. Bye!