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Lesson Transcript

Hēi, dàjiā hǎo, wǒ jiào Mǎ Yànrú. Hi everybody! I’m YanruMa.
Welcome to ChineseClass101. com’s “Sān fēnzhōng Hànyǔ”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Chinese.
In the last lesson, we learned how to ask "Who" questions in Chinese.
This time, we are going to ask questions with the interrogative word "Why?"
Imagine your boss is giving you a call because you are not at work today. . . He will certainly ask you Nǐ wèishénme bù lái bàngōngshì ?
[slowly] nǐ wèishénme bù lái bàngōngshì ?
So let’s break down this question.
First we had-
nǐ, which is “you”,
and then wèishénme, which is the basic translation of "Why" in Chinese.
bù lái, as we learned in Lesson 15, which is the negative form of the verb lái
And finally bàngōngshì which is "the office"
Altogether it is Nǐ wèishénme bù lái bàngōngshì? meaning “Why didn’t you come to the office?”
So in Chinese, wèishénme is the exact translation of "Why", used to ask the reason for something.
So for example, if your boss is asking you "Why are you late?" he will say Nǐ wèishénme chídào?
Here, he uses "Why" in order to get explanations and reasons.
Let’s say your friend tells you that he can’t go to a party tonight, and you want to know the reason. In this situation of course, we can use Wèishénme for “why?” But if you are worried that maybe something has happened to him, you can also say Zěnme le? which literally means “What’s wrong?” instead to show your concern for him.
Now it’s time for Yanru’s Insights.
Because we have learned how to say both “why” and “not” in Chinese, you might think you know how to say “Why not?” as well, right? Well, technically it can be Wèishénme bù? But that’s actually not the real Chinese style. Although it makes sense, people don’t usually say it, and will choose to say something different instead, depending on the situation. So just remember to be careful about using it!
This lesson is the last lesson of this Absolute Beginner video series.
But it’s hopefully not the last you learn about the Chinese language! To take your language ability to the next level, check out ChineseClass101. com, the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Chinese. Thanks for joining me for this series, everyone!
zàijiàn !