Not all Chinese characters carry equal weight in their usage in the language, but we could definitely consider the word 怎么 (zěnme) among its heavy hitters. This character will almost always reflect an idea of "How?", and is one that you will learn and very quickly start hearing in conversations once you recgonize it. Let's examine some of its uses:

1) To mean "How?" as a question word
nǐ zěnme zhīdào wǒ xǐhuān zhèyàng de dōngxī ne?
How did you know I like this kind of thing?
nǐ zěnme huì shuō Zhōngwén shuō dé nàme hǎo
How can you speak Chinese so well?
nǐ zěnme néng wàng le wǒmen de jiéhūn jìniànrì
ow could you forget our wedding anniversary?!?

Without a doubt, you will quickly learn the art of 怎么样, which is best translated as “How about it?”

2) To mean "How about it?" in many contexts with 怎么样 (zěnmeyàng)
How about it?
jīntiān guòdé zěnmeyàng
How have things been lately?
nǐ de jiātíng zěnmeyàng
How is your family?
wǒmen xiàgè xīngqīwǔ yìqǐ qù chīfàn zěnmeyàng
How about we get dinner together next Friday?

When you add a negating 不 (bù), the phrase 不怎么样 (bù zěnmeyàng) can also be used to convey a sense of blandness or nothing special.

3) The use of 不怎么样 (bù zěnmeyàng)
bù zěnmeyàng
Nothing special or particular, nothing to write home about, nothing much
wǒ zuìjìn de chéngjì bù zěnmeyàng
My recent grades are nothing to write home about
wǒ zuìjìn guòdé bù zěnmeyàng
Haven't been up to anything much lately

With all the problems in our worlds with so many complex situations, inevitably your expertise will be called upon at some point with the infamous Chinese cry of "怎么办?" (zěnme bàn), or "What should I do?". By the way, Yahoo Answers trolls exist in China too, as Baidu Answers trolls, and this is their lure!

4) Seeking world solutions with 怎么办 (zěnme bàn)
zěnme bàn
What should I do? (frequently at the end of sentences)
wǒ huáiyùn le dehuà gāi zěnme bàn
What should we do if I get pregnant?
zhēn láibují ba, nǐ kàn wǒmen gāi zěnme bàn
There's really no time for that, what do you suggest we do?

This term is so useful, that when you combine it with a few other characters, it can express an entire sentence.

5) When 怎么 (zěnme) means more than the sum of its parts
zěnme le
What's up with? / What's gotten into ? / What's the deal with? / What's the problem with?
ni zěnme le
What's gotten into you? (You aren't your normal self)
tā huì zěnmeyàng
What's going to happen to him? / What could happen to him?

And one last bit here, you can also hear 怎么 (zěnme) used with 回事儿 (huíshìr) to mean something like "What's going on here?" or "What's this about?".

6) Together with 回事儿 (huíshìr)
zěnme huíshìr
What's up with? / What's gotten into ? / What's the deal with? / What's the problem with?
zhè shì zěnme huíshìr
What is this (matter) all about? / What's going on here?

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