Ni yao shenme ?


Ni yao shen me is the pinyin for 4 characters:

* ni 你

* yao 要

* shen 什

* me 么

and it means “What do you want?”

ni = you

yao = want

shenme = what

Expanding The Pattern
By changing the first word ni/你 (meaning “you”) to ta (the 3rd person personal pronoun meaning he, she, and/or it), your new sentence (question) is

Ta yao shenme (what does he/she/it want?)

There’s no need to change the verb, worry about agreement, etc. Just change the pronoun. Note that ta means he/she/it and is spoken identically for all 3, though it is written differently 他,她,它 (he, she, it).

Ni yao shenme (What do you want)


Ta yao shenme (What does he/she/it want)

Plural personal pronouns are formed by adding men/们 to the 3 singular personal pronouns. Wo, ni, and ta (I, you, he/she/it) become women, nimen, tamen. Note that there is no subjective-objective difference in Mandarin, so I and me are both wo/我, and so on.

Wo = I, me
Ni = you, you
Ta = he/she/it, him/her/it

Women = we, us
Nimen = you, you
Tamen = they, them

Get more info on personal pronouns in English and in Chinese.

Note on zanmen:
The usage of zanmen is common in Mandarin as meaning “we” or “us”, it is a variation of women. It emphasizes that the speaker is part of the group considered “we or us”. Used colloquially, written as 咱们.

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