Unlike in English, most questions start with a question word such as ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘weather’, in Chinese, we place question particles at the end of a question where there is a lack of question words, or simply just to add emphasis to the tones in your speech.
The three common question particles in Chinese are:
吗 ma：for asking yes or no questions, where there is only one answer to the question, it’s either this way or that way.
shuǐ shǒu men jīn tiān tiān qì hǎo ma? huì xià yǔ ma? kě yǐ kāi chuán ma
Sailors, is the weather good today? Is it going to rain? Can we set sail?
zhè yàng kě yǐ ma
这样可以吗？Is this okay?
zuì jìn hǎo ma
最近好吗？How are you recently (Are you good recently?)
nǐ hē chá ma
你喝茶吗？ Do you drink tea?
呢 ne: for asking open, reciprocal questions
Ā gān, nǐ zài zuò shén me ne? zěn me bù qù kāi chuán ne
A Gan, what are you doing? How come you are not helping to get the ship going?
zěn me zhè me màn ne
怎么这么慢呢？！ How come it is so slow?!
tā shì nǎ lǐ rén ne
他是哪里人呢？Where is he from?
nǐ jué dé ne
你觉得呢？ What do you think, how do you think about this?
吧：used when asking for confirmation or reassurance
nǐ hái hǎo ba? méi shì ba
Are you okay? Is there any problems?
nǐ hái méi huí guó ba
你还没回国吧？ You haven’t returned to your country yet, have you?
wǒ méi shuō cuò ba
我没说错吧？！I didn’t say it wrong, did I (this phrase is often used when you’ve made a prediction, and it had come true).
zhè bú shì zhēn de ba
这不是真的吧？！ This is not for real, or is it?! (Is this for real?!)