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ma
par. used at the end of a question or a rhetorical question; used within a sentence to mark a pause
Discussion of 吗/嗎
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In this post, we compare two particles: 吗 and 吧.

- 吗 is a modal particle indicating interrogation. When the speaker does not know about something and expects an answer, he can put 吗 at the end of a statement to form a yes/no question.

- 吧 can also be used to form a question. When 吧 is used at the end of a statement, the speaker is not very sure about something but he has an estimate. A question mark is usually used at the end of such a sentence to indicate a mild tone.

Example 1a. 你结婚了吗? [phr] Are you married?
is a real question. The speaker does not know the interlocutor is married or not, so he is posing a question and expects an answer. Now if we use 吧 in this sentence instead:

Example 1b. 你结婚了吧?
The speaker already has an estimate that the interlocutor is probably married but he is a bit uncertain. The English translation is a bit different. We can put it in this way: You are married, right?
lisaC
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