么 / 吗

yuechu

Senior Member
Canada, English
Hello/大家好,

I have a question regarding the interrogative particles 吗 and 么 (when pronounced "ma5"). Is there any difference between the two? (in meaning, usage.. ?) I sometimes see 吗 and sometimes see 么. Is 么 just an informal way of writing 吗 when asking a question?
Thanks/谢谢!
 
  • yuechu

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Thanks for your reply, Croas! Is 么 still correct though? (as in interrogative particle) or is it only used on Internet forums/chat, etc? (I think that's where I found this one.. )
     

    Croas

    Banned
    中文
    Yes,Both of them are the same meaning !!!
    I think you could speak "么" in anywhere, but usually we speak "吗“!!:)
     

    AquisM

    Senior Member
    English/Cantonese
    I suppose these particles are very flexible. Typically, I use 吗, but I wouldn't find it strange or abnormal to see 么 used in its place. Another example is 吧 and 罢. Nowadays, people usually use 吧, but in older literature (like the novels of 鲁迅 and 巴金), it's quite common to find 罢 instead. Some might argue that one has a slightly different nuance than the other, though. Really, it's down to personal preference and regional and temporal differences.
     
    么 was simplified from 麽/麼.
    吗 is newer than 麽/麼.
    Both are correct.
    吗 seems to be the standard usage in Mainland China.

    罢 was simplified from 罷.
    吧 is newer than 罷.
    But I seldom see people use 罢 instead of 吧/罷. Anyway, both are correct.

    When I write, I usually write 吗.
    But the standard(?) pronunciation of 吗 is “ma”. I seldom use the full open vowel “a” for this particle, I usually pronounce “me”(e is a schwa).
    When I type pinyin with my MS-IME, I always type “me” instead, which gives me only 么.
     
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