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I know you can make questions that are just declarative sentences with a question mark or intonation, like this: "Цей хлопчик хороший?"

But if you want to make a grammatically explicit question with Чи, what's the right way to do that? Does either (or both) of those work?

  • Чи цей хлопчик хороший? Чи я його кохала? etc
  • Чи хороший цей хлопчик? Чи кохала я його? etc

2 Answers 2

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This particle is optional. According to the Academic Explanatory Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language (Академічний тлумачний словник української мови),

Чи (particle), Section 2, interrogative sentences:

  • Used to enhance the interrogative nature of the sentence. In this case, чи is optional as it only adds more emotional expressiveness to the sentence.

  • Used for rhetorical questions. Subjectively, I find it merely close to English "isn't it?" and alike, except that the English one uses a negation while чи doesn't. See below for another use that involves the negation.

    Цей хлопчик розбив вікно. Чи хороший він? — This boy broke a glass. Is he good (now)?

    Here the speaker assumes that the underlying clause is untrue.

  • Чи не:

    1. used in meaning: maybe, expressing the possibility or the desire for something.
      I can't think of a good example (that would be essentially different from the next one), but generally it is for phrases like "shouldn't we...?" etc.

    2. used to express an assertion, making assumptions, a plausible guess.
      Here the speaker assumes that the underlying clause is true.

      Чи не кохала я його? — Didn't I love him?

      or a direct English equivalent:

      I loved him, didn't I?

      or another one:

      Чи не твій брат цей хлопчик? — Isn't this boy your brother?

    3. = roughly, mostly

      Цей хлопчик вчиться чи не на всі оцінки «відмінно» — This boy gets mostly all A*'s in his study.

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    Ой, ти раніше відповів і теж брав з СУМ-11-а. Ну, най буде.
    – stegetsj
    Jun 23 at 22:05
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The чи usually has two functions:

  • as conjuction it can express or;
  • as an adverbial form it introduces a yes-no question.

If we speak about second then it works as a simple question where you added чи.

Other notes. Just чи is usually used:

  1. To enhance the interrogative nature of the sentence.

  2. To make assumptions.

    Itʼs simillar to English where at the and of question: (comma) [negative verb]? And Ukrainian also has this construct: (comma) чи не так?

  3. For rhetorical questions.

There is also a construction as чи не which used:

  1. To make assumptions.

    Itʼs the same as with just чи but assumption is more notable.

  2. As like as similar to, can be used with numbers too.

    For example mentioned early чи не так? but as an indepence question also may mean like so? where так isnʼt used as yes as previous.

  3. For expressing the possibility, the [polite] desire for something.

    In the case of desiring it similar to would [noun] [verb]: чи не xoчете? → would you like?


You usally understand question from intonation and context what was asked. Otherwise an order of sentence can change your attention. For example I understand those questions in this way. About

  1. this good boy

    Both questions can mean just Is this boy good? But because of order you may understand those question as:

    • [Чи] цей хлопчик хороший? → Is it this boy [among others] who good? → То са́ме цей хлопчик, хто хороший?

    • [Чи] хороший цей хлопчик? → Is [exactly] this boy [really] good? → Цей хлопчик справді хороший?

    Where among others, exactly or something like those appeared because of in regular speech цей is usually redundant. Therefore the second question also can represent your doubt which in some contexts [especially with intonation] can be taken rudely.

  2. I love him

    Both questions can mean Did I love him? Again, but because of order you also can expect addition info like:

    • [Чи] я його кохала? → Was it me who love him? → То я, хто кохала його?

    • [Чи] кохала я його? → Was it a feeling of love from me to him? → Та дія від мене до нього була коханням?

    As you can notice, a first word or phrase can take your attention to itself.

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