A-not-A questionwikipedia
In linguistics, an A-not-A question is a polar question that offers two opposite possibilities for the answer.

Yes–no question

yes-no questionyes–no questionyes/no question
In linguistics, an A-not-A question is a polar question that offers two opposite possibilities for the answer.
In Chinese, yes–no questions typically take an A-not-A form.

Yes and no

yes and nonoyes
is a neutral question where the answer to this can be yes or no in response to the first and more explicitly stated alternative.
In all languages, yes-no questions are often posed in A-not-A form, and the replies to such questions are echo answers that echo either A or not A.

Chinese grammar

ChineseChinese aspectsChinese aspect markers
In Chinese, there are 6 attested patterns of A-not-A: A-not-A, AB-not-AB, A-not-AB, AB-not-A, a-not-A, and a-not-AB of which "A" stands for the full form of the predicate, "B" stands for the complement, and "a" stands for the first syllable of a disyllabic predicate.
An alternative is the A-not-A construction, using phrases like 吃不吃 chī bu chī ("eat or not eat") (either the verb or the whole verb phrase may be repeated after the negator bù; it is also possible to place bù after the verb phrase and omit the repetition entirely).

Echo answer

echo answerecho responserepeats the verb used in the question
The response to this question must be an echo answer, stating either "I am happy," or the correct alternative, "I am sad".
Often, yes-no questions in Mandarin are expressed in the A-not-A form, and are answered with either A or not-A.


interrogativeinterrogative sentenceinterrogative mood
Another way of forming yes–no questions is the A-not-A construction, found for example in Chinese, which offers explicit yes or no alternatives:

Written Cantonese

written CantoneseCantoneseCantonese characters
In the above table the two Chinese sentences are grammatically identical, using an A-not-A question to ask "Is it theirs?"

Intonation (linguistics)

There are four basic sentence types having distinctive intonation: declarative sentences, unmarked interrogative questions, yes–no questions marked as such with the sentence-final particle ma, and A-not-A questions of the form "He go not go" (meaning "Does he go or not?")..or


In linguistics, an A-not-A question is a polar question that offers two opposite possibilities for the answer.

Varieties of Chinese

varieties of ChineseChineseSinitic
This disjunctive question is predominantly found in Sinitic languages that offers a choice between an affirmative predicate and its negative counterpart.

Leading question

leading questionleading questionsleading
In other words, this sentence is a leading question, where the speaker has an expectation as to what the answer will be. In contrast, (1.b) "Are you happy or not?"

Modal verb

modal verbmodalmodal auxiliaries
"A" is essentially a variable which can be replaced with a grammatical particle such as a modal, adverb, adjective, verb, or preposition.

Grammatical aspect

aspectgrammatical aspectaspectual
However, this clause does not apply when using perfective in aspect.

Classifier (linguistics)

classifierclassifiersnoun classifier
The word ben is a classifier, which means it is a counter word for the Noun book.

Standard Chinese

MandarinChineseMandarin Chinese
Despite having the same negative marker as Standard Chinese, "不" bat1 is only used in fixed expressions or to give literacy quality.


CantoneseCantonese ChineseCantonese language
One distinction in Cantonese when compared to Standard Chinese is that certain forms of A-not-A questions are not attested due to dialectal differences.


Then, reduplication occurs to yield the surface form of the A-not-A question.

Government and binding theory

government and binding theorygovernment and bindingmaximal projection
The A-not-A operator can only lower to a MWd which is immediately dominated by the maximal projection that is also immediately dominated by the maximal projection of the A-not-A operator.

Covert (linguistics)

covertnotovertcovert gender
Otherwise, the reduplicant can move covertly, not spelled-out, to the right of the base maximal projection containing the MWd.