Oracle-bone scholars have long uniformly read the charges (i.e., the portion that mentions the event being divined) of Shang oracle-bone inscriptions as questions. Since the 1970's, many foreign oracle-bone scholars have proposed a new view that the charges are never questions, or at least are generally not questions. Whether or not the charges are actually questions is a very important question bearing not only on oracle bone studies, but also on research on ancient divination and on ancient Chinese grammar. Based on an examination of a great number of Shang oracle-bone inscriptions, the author of this essay believes that charges that can now be determined to be questions are mainly those choice-type charges in early inscriptions that contain the final particles yi
, and true-or-false type charges that contain yi. Charges of the type “V bu
V” (such as “rain not rain” [yu bu yu
]) and “V bu,” regarded by many as choice-type questions, are actually comprised of the charge and a verification or use notation, the “bu V” being a verification and the “bu” being either a verification or a use notation (similar to the notation bu yong
, “do not use”). Charges that can now be determined not to be questions are mainly in those inscriptions with complex charges, such as “this *spring the king ought not ally with Wang Cheng to attack Xia Wei, (for if he does) he will not receive divine assistance” (jin ?chun wang wu bi Wang Cheng fa Xia? Wei, fu qi shou you you
, and “On ren we ought not hunt, (for if we do) it will rain” (ren wu tian, qi yu
), the syntax of which shows that they cannot be questions.