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What is the function of 了 in the following sentence? Does it imply a sequence of actions?

她会杀了你的。"She will kill you."

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A small class of verbs (including 杀,喝,吃,扔,忘) can take 了 as a resultative complement meaning 掉. These verbs can use 了 in places where it might otherwise sound odd. In this case, 杀了 is not expressing completed action; rather, it expresses the result of the verb.

Some other examples:

我不会忘了。 I won't forget.
把它吃了! Eat it!
他把旧的衣服都扔了。He threw out all the old clothes.

Grammatically, 了 here functions as an indication of the verb's result. In the last case, it simultaneously expresses completed action (and, I suppose, new situation.)

EDIT:

Here is a more complete lists of verbs which can use 了 in this way (from the very useful 《现代汉语八百词》):

忘、丢、关、喝、吃、咽、吞、泼、洒、扔、放、涂、抹、擦、碰、砸、摔、磕、撞、踩、伤、杀、宰、切、冲、卖、还、毁

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It implies (or puts an emphasis on) the result or the consequence (of "you" being dead/killed).

Imagine how the meaning would change if you left out the "了"。Though it would sound awkward, the resulting sentence would be almost reduced to mean that "She" attempts to kill "you", with no guarantee in regard to the result.

Also consider the case of "她会杀*死*你的"。It may look strange that the "死" (death) seems to be part of the verb. But if you look at it another way, you can take "死" to be an attribute of the direct object "you" (I know they have that in French, "attribut de l'objet direct"), which is really a consequence on the direct object due to the effect of the predicate. Now substitute "了" for "死", and you would realize that "了" has nothing to do with verb tense, but is in fact an attribute of the direct object "你".

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Hello Kai! Welcome to the C&LU. Do you mind expanding your answer? On the StackExchange sites, we generally avoid one-line answers and encourage more elaboration. :) –  Alenanno Mar 5 '12 at 11:50
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From iciba:

  1. (用在动词或形容词后, 表示动作或变化已经完成):
  2. (用在句子的末尾或句中停顿处, 表示变化, 表示出现新的情况, 表示催促或劝止):

Here when the one says "她会杀了你的", of course "she" hasn't killed "you". The speaker wants to say "she will kill you". And thus the 了 (le) here applies to the second explanation above.

If a context is given, it will be easier for us to understand the 了 here.

For example:

(来了一个女杀手)快跑,她会杀了你的!
(A woman killer comes) Run! She will kill you!

(The speaker is pressing the listener to run from the killer.)

or:

这件事要是被她知道,她会杀了你的!
If she knows this, she will kill you!

(The speaker is trying to stop the listener from doing something that will make "she" crazy, or trying to tell the listener the terrible consequence of what the listener is doing/going to do.)

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多谢啊! Unfortunately I cannot provide any further context, as there was none to begin with. I subscribe to numerous "daily sentence in X language" accounts on Twitter, and this was one of them. –  Benjameno Mar 5 '12 at 11:02
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了 indicates present perfect. For instance:

杀 kill
杀了 have/has killed

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Hello Obj-Steve! And welcome to CL&U. Do you mind on expanding your own answer? The more things you write and the better your answer will be considered... :) –  Alenanno Mar 25 '12 at 11:12
    
了 is NOT a completed action indicator in this case. –  Jon Mar 25 '12 at 13:36
    
I don't think so Alenanno. As for this question, the answer is quite simply and clear. Too much redundant information will be wasting and confusing. –  Obj-Steve Mar 26 '12 at 9:39
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