How to Use ne 呢 (HSK 1)

June 30, 2021

Ne 呢 is a question word in Chinese that has no meaning on its own (this is also called a modal particle). Ne 呢 has a couple different uses in Chinese.

The first use of 呢 is to create a “bounce-back” question by adding 呢 to the end of a sentence. In other words, 呢 can mean, “How about X?” or “What about X?” This 呢 sentence structure is:

Topic + 呢

For example:

A: 你好吗?
Nǐ hǎo ma?
How are you?

B: 我很好。你呢 ?
Wǒ hěn hǎo. Nǐ ne?
I am fine. How about you?

Here is another example of a sentence using 呢 to ask, “What about X?”:

Běijīng hěn lěng. Shànghǎi ne?
Beijing is very cold. What about Shanghai?

Additionally, 呢 can be used to inquire about the location of someone or something. In this case, 呢 can also mean, “Where is X?” added to the end of the sentence.

Be careful: 呢 here is not used for asking directions. Instead, this 呢 structure is used to express surprise, implying that the object should be here, but it is not. The meaning of呢 in these sentences is similar to asking “Where did it go?” or “Why is it not here?”

This 呢 sentence structure is:

Missing person or thing + 呢

For example:

Wǒ de shǒujī ne?
Where is my cellphone?
(My cellphone should be here, where did it go?)

Zhāng lǎoshī ne?
Where is Teacher Zhang?
(Teacher Zhang should be here, where are they?)