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Hi, everybody! Welcome to Chinese whiteboard lessons. I’m Yinru. In this lesson, we're going to talk about the end-of-sentence particle 吧 (ba). This type of end-of-sentence particle are used in order to express certain tone or emotion. Now, let's find out what 吧 (ba) can do in a sentence.
The first use of 吧 (ba) is also the most common one which is to soften the tone from a command to a suggestion. Now, we have some examples here with the particle 吧 (ba) and without the particle 吧 (ba). Let's make some comparisons.
The first one…
我们走吧 (Wǒmen zǒu ba) versus 我们走 (Wǒmen zǒu). Okay, 我们走吧 (Wǒmen zǒu ba) is to make a suggestion, let's go, how about we get going? If you say 我们走 (Wǒmen zǒu), you sound more angry. It can be translated as “Let's get out of here. / We're leaving.”, 我们走 (Wǒmen zǒu). And 我们走吧 (Wǒmen zǒu ba) - 我们走吧 (Wǒmen zǒu ba) is a lot more soft.
The second one is…
别看了吧 (Bié kànle ba) versus 别看了 (Bié kànle). So 别什么什么了 (bié shénme shénmele) is to stop doing something, 别看了 (Bié kànle). 看 (kàn) means to see, to look, to watch, 看 (kàn). 别看了吧 (Bié kànle ba) is like your mom trying to convince you to stop watching your show, 别看了吧 (Bié kànle ba) and how about not watch it, how about stop watching it versus 别看了 (Bié kànle) “Stop watching!”. It's more like a command, an order, 别看了 (Bié kànle) “Stop looking now!”, okay.
So the third one...
你喝点儿水吧 (Nǐ hē diǎr shuǐ ba) versus 你喝点儿水 (Nǐ hē diǎr shuǐ). 喝 (hē) is “to drink”, 点 (diǎn) or 点儿 (diǎr) is “a little”, “water” 水 (shuǐ) “water”. So 你喝点儿水吧 (Nǐ hē diǎr shuǐ ba) means how about you have some water? 你喝点儿水 (Nǐ hē diǎr shuǐ), it sounds more like someone ordering you to drink your water. 你喝点儿水 (Nǐ hē diǎr shuǐ) and 你喝点儿水吧 (Nǐ hē diǎr shuǐ ba). The first one with 吧 (ba) is definitely more soft, the tone, okay.
The second use is we use 吧 (ba) to make a decision but reluctantly. How do we use this? Let's look at the examples.
第一个 (dì yī gè). 好吧,我不去了 (Hǎo ba, wǒ bù qù le)。 好 (hǎo) is “okay / good / all right”, 我不去了 (wǒ bù qù le) “I'm not going”, I'm not going and 好吧 (hǎo ba) it sounds like alright, okay, I'm not going. Even though I'm not thrilled about this decision, I'm not going even though I really wanted to go, but okay, I'm not going. 好吧 (hǎo ba) to agree to do something or to decide to do something reluctantly.
第二个 (dì èr gè) “The second one…”
我们还是下次再去看那部电影吧 (Wǒmen háishì xià cì zài qù kàn nà bù diànyǐng ba)。 Let's break down this sentence. 我们 (Wǒmen) “We”, 还是 (háishì), 还是做什么事情 (háishì zuò shénme shìqíng), 还是 (háishì) to do something, we’d better…we’d better do this. 我们还是 (Wǒmen háishì) “We’d better”, 下次 (xià cì) “next time”, 再 (zài) “again”, 去看 (qù kàn) “to go see / go look / to go watch”, 那部电影 (nà bù diànyǐng), 电影 (diànyǐng) is “movie” and 那个 (nàgè), 那部 (nà bù) is “that”. 部 (bù) is the measure word for 电影 (diànyǐng), 一部电影 (yī bù diànyǐng), 那部电影 (nà bù diànyǐng) “that movie”, 吧 ba. 吧 (ba), don’t forget the 吧 (ba). “I think we’d better see that movie another time.” I know we want to see it, but it's the best that we see it another time. So making a decision reluctantly.
The third one…
老婆不让我抽烟,我还是不抽了吧 (Lǎopó bù ràng wǒ chōuyān, wǒ háishì bù chōule ba)。 Okay, 老婆 (lǎopó) is a very, very casual and informal way to refer to someone's wife or to call your own wife, 老婆 (lǎopó). And 老公 (lǎogōng) is “husband”. So 老婆不让 (Lǎopó bù ràng), 让 (ràng) is “to let someone / to allow or to let”, and 不让 (bù ràng) is “not allow / not let”. 我抽烟 (wǒ chōuyān) - 抽烟 (chōuyān) is a verb meaning “smoke”. Okay, 老婆不让我抽烟 (Lǎopó bù ràng wǒ chōuyān) “My wife doesn't allow me to smoke.” So 我还是 (wǒ háishì) “I’d better”, 不抽了吧 (bù chōule ba)。 抽 (chōu) is a short form of 抽烟 (chōuyān). 抽烟 (chōuyān) is that type of verb we mentioned before with a verb + noun, verb + complement, so we can use just the verb in a short form. So it is the same meaning but 抽 (chōu) is short for 抽烟 (chōuyān). So 不抽了 (bù chōule) “I’d better not smoke”. 不抽了吧 (bù chōule ba) “Ah, I know because my wife doesn't allow it.” I want to but I'm not going to do it. So 老婆不让我抽烟,我还是不抽了吧 (Lǎopó bù ràng wǒ chōuyān, wǒ háishì bù chōule ba). Better listen to your wife, okay.
The third use I'm going to introduce is 吧 (ba) can be used in a question, not only a statement, but a question. So 吧 (ba) can turn a statement into a question too just like this particle 吗 (ma). But when you see 吧 (ba) in a sentence, you're making a good guess meaning you almost know the answer, but you're just asking to seek agreement or to expect someone to agree with you or to confirm the answer.
So the first one…
明天不会下雨吧 (Míngtiān bù huì xià yǔ ba)?明天 (Míngtiān) “Tomorrow”, 会 (huì) is “going to” and 不会 (bù huì) is “not going to”, 下雨 (xià yǔ) “to rain” so “Tomorrow, it’s not going to rain right?”. 明天不会下雨吧 (Míngtiān bù huì xià yǔ ba) is to make a good guess. If we say 明天不会下雨吗 (Míngtiān bù huì xià yǔ ma), if we use 吗 (ma), you really don't know the answer so you want the other person to tell you yes or no, but with the 吧 (ba), you’re almost certain that it's not going to rain, you're just asking to confirm, okay.
The second one…
那个人是张总的秘书吧 (Nàgè rén shì Zhāng zǒng de mìshū ba)? It's another guess. 那个人 (nàgè rén), 那个 (nàgè) “that” 人 (rén) person, 是 (shì) is 张总 (Zhāng zǒng). 张 (Zhāng) is a family name and 总 (zǒng) is a title. You put 总 (zǒng) after a family name. It's like general manager or manager or anybody in charge, you can call them 张总 (Zhāng zǒng), 李总 (Lǐ zǒng), 王总 (Wáng zǒng), 刘总 (Liú zǒng), a lot of 总 (zǒng) right? Okay. 张总的秘书 (Zhāng zǒng de mìshū), 秘书 (mìshū) is secretary. So that person is 张总的秘书 (Zhāng zǒng de mìshū) right? So you're making a guess and you think he is, but you're just not 100% sure. You're pretty much 80% sure, you're just making a good guess here with 吧 (ba) and a question, okay.
The third one…
便利店关门了吧 (Biànlì diàn guānménle ba)? 问号 (wènhào) “question mark”. 便利店 (biànlì diàn) “convenience store”, 关门 (guānmén) is a verb literally translated as “close door” so 关门 (guānmén) “some store close door”. 便利店关门 (biànlì diàn guānmén) “The convenience store is closed.” 关门了吧 (guānménle ba), I'm asking. I think it is close because at this time, it should be closed. I'm asking to get a confirmation from you. So 便利店关门了吧 (Biànlì diàn guānménle ba). “The convenience store must be closed now right?”
So these three uses of 吧 (ba) are the three most commonly used ones. Now, let's do some exercises. In the quiz section, I have five more Chinese sentences and let's try to figure out what they mean in English and try to match the use of 吧 (ba) with these three uses.
The first one…
我们先问问老师吧 (Wǒmen xiān wèn wèn lǎoshī ba)。 What does this sentence mean? 我们 (Wǒmen) “We”, 先 (xiān), 先 (xiān) “first”, 问 (wèn) is “to ask”, 问问 (wèn wèn) is a more colloquial way of saying “to ask”, 问问谁 (wèn wèn shéi) “to ask someone”, 问谁呢 (wèn shéi ne) “to ask who”, 老师 (lǎoshī) “teacher”, 吧 (ba), at the end of sentence. Let's go ask the teacher first. “How about we go ask the teacher first?” It's to make a suggestion so it's the use number one. Let's go ask the teacher first, okay.
第二个 (dì èr gè)
你是德国人吧 (Nǐ shì Déguó rén ba)? So with the question mark here, we know it is a question and we turn the statement into a question. It's not because we don't know the answer. It's because we're pretty sure about the answer. So this use of 吧 (ba) matches the third one, making a good guess. 你是 (Nǐ shì) “You are”, 德国人 (Déguó rén), 德国 (Déguó) is Germany and 德国人 (Déguó rén) is “German people”, okay. 你是德国人吧 (Nǐ shì Déguó rén ba)? “You must be German right?”, okay.
The third one…
你说不去就不去吧 (Nǐ shuō bù qù jiù bù qù ba)。 你说 (Nǐ shuō) “You say”, 不去 (bù qù) “not go” and then not go. Okay, since you don't want to go, well, let's not go then, 你说不去就不去吧 (Nǐ shuō bù qù jiù bù qù ba). Because I really wanted to go, but you don't want to go, well, let's not go then. So it's this reluctancy, reluctance, to agree to do something with reluctance, the second use. You said not go then let's not go, okay.
第四个 (dì sì gè) “The fourth one…”
再吃碗饭吧 (Zài chī wǎn fàn ba)! 再 (zài) - We talked about 再 (zài) means “again” and 吃 (chī) “eat”. 碗 (wǎn) means “bowl”, 饭 (fàn) is “rice”. So 碗 (wǎn) here is actually a measure word. 吃碗饭 (chī wǎn fàn) means “to have a bowl of rice”. So this is actually 吃一碗饭 (chī yī wǎn fàn). It's short for 吃一碗饭 (chī yī wǎn fàn). 吃碗饭 (chī wǎn fàn) is short for 吃一碗饭 (chī yī wǎn fàn) and we tend to omit the 一 in colloquial language. So 再吃碗饭吧 (zài chī wǎn fàn ba) means “have another bowl of rice”, to make a suggestion, try to convince someone to do something and the tone is much softer than 再吃碗饭 (zài chī wǎn fàn) which sounds like an order or a command, okay. So this is the first use.
The last one…
这个方法行不通吧 (Zhège fāngfǎ xíng bùtōng ba)? 问号 (wènhào), question mark here, can you see? 这个方法行不通吧 (Zhège fāngfǎ xíng bùtōng ba)? 这个 (zhège) “this”, 方法 (fāngfǎ) “method”, 行不通 (xíng bùtōng) means “not working / not work”. So “This method is not working right?”. It's not working right? I don't think this is working so I'm just bringing it up to see if you agree with me or not which is the third use of 吧 (ba).
Okay, well this is the end of the lesson. We talked about different uses of the particle 吧 (ba). I'll see you later. Bye-bye.