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Here is a sentence:

厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳

Below are my translation variants. Bold letters should be a 'jiu' english analog here.

  1. The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace scared Harry the most.
  2. Even a (simple) mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace was enought to scare Harry.
  3. The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace scared the hell otta Harry.

What does it mean with 就 and what about without it? I know it should emphasis something, but my russian brain just can't get hold of it.

One more example of the same construction:

Context (paragraph before target):

他父母留给他的一点可怜的财产,存在古灵阁的地下金库里。当然,他的钱只能在魔法世界里使用,你不能在麻瓜的商店里用加隆、西可和纳特买东西。哈利从没向德思礼一家提起他在古灵阁的存款,他认为他们虽然惧怕与魔法有关的一切,但这种恐惧大概不会扩展到一大堆金币上面。

THE GAP HERE!!! I mean J.K. started the target sentence from a NEW LINE!!!

到了下星期三,韦斯莱夫人一大早就把他们叫醒了。他们每人匆匆吃了五六块咸肉三明治,然后穿好外套。韦斯莱夫人从厨房壁炉架上端起一只花盆,朝里面看着

so you see... it's given (in the book) WITHOUT any context as far as I understand the word context :)!!!

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I find both sentences quite odd. Are these sourced from a textbook? –  Question Overflow Aug 9 '12 at 16:05
    
the source is Harry Potter 2 book :) chapter 4. here is the full context: 陋居的生活和女贞路的生活有着天壤之别。德思礼一家喜欢一切都井井有条,韦斯莱家却充满了神奇和意外。厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳。他第一次照镜子时,镜子‌​突然大叫起来:“把衬衫塞到裤腰里去,邋里邋遢!”阁楼上的食尸鬼只要觉得家里太安静了,就高声嚎叫,咣啷咣啷地敲管子。 –  manuka Aug 9 '12 at 21:17
    
Context makes a HUGE difference here. Whether 就 is used here is heavily reliant on the sentence that comes before it (... 韦斯莱家却充满了神奇和意外). –  deutschZuid Aug 10 '12 at 0:33
    
How about some context for the second sentence as well :) –  Question Overflow Aug 10 '12 at 2:17
    
Per @QuestionOverflow. It prompts questions like - Why? What caused her to do this? What's the premise? This is actually a very good question. It reallly shows how easily intricacies like this can confound Mandarin learners. –  deutschZuid Aug 10 '12 at 3:04
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4 Answers 4

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Relating to your first sentence: 韦斯莱家却充满了神奇和意外。厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳。

This 就 is the 12th meaning of 就 as an adverb in 《现代汉语词典》:

表示事实正是如此:那就是他的家 ㄧ这人就是他哥哥ㄧ幼儿园就在这个胡同里。

It's meaning 12e in 《现代汉语规范词典》

表示事实如此。 这儿就是我的家 | 车站就前面。

It expresses that the facts or the situation are really like this. It can be seen as an illustration of or a proof for the previous sentence.

Relating to your second sentence: 到了下星期三,韦斯莱夫人一大早就把他们叫醒了

This pattern of 就 is explained here: http://chinese.stackexchange.com/a/1906/540 I'm not going to copy the answer I gave there :-)

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Now i SEE 一...就... structure! This stupid 一大早 blocked me from seeing this structure. So the SECOND IS SOLVED! :) not sure about the First one. I need to brood a little bit more on this. –  manuka Aug 10 '12 at 8:04
    
This answer is very convincing. TU:) –  NS.X. Aug 10 '12 at 8:32
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I am going to stick with your first example.

The use of 就 is reliant on the phrase or sentence that precedes the current one.

The sentence: "韦斯莱家却充满了神奇和意外" introduces the premise of the situation. The fact that the house of the Wesleys is full of mysteries and surprises primes the reader for what comes next.

The fact that Harry's startled by a mere mirror is the result of this premise. So the use of 就 here is to emphasize on how easily he's prone to be startled in a house like this. It's the result of the premise that leads up to this.

Therefore, the sentence: "厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳" without any context sounds very strange as the reader/listener expects a condition to precede it, whereas if you remove the use of 就, it becomes a simple statement that expresses a fact without any antecedent.

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In the second sentence, 就 is a kind of emphasis. The first is a little bit more complex. The meaning is, not to say more, only 厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子 has already scared 哈利. So, 2. in your question is the best in the 3 to explain the meaning of 就.

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"not to say more" do you mean by this that I should translate this like - [There were lots of scary things on top of the fireplace, but] Even a simple mirror was enough to scare Harry. ? –  manuka Aug 9 '12 at 12:01
    
Not exactly. Maybe there are other scary things, maybe there are not. But just a simple mirror on top of the fireplace has scared Harry. just, simple, this kind of meaning. I don't know how to explain in a professional way, but this is what this sentence means to me, a Chinese. –  ShinyaSakai Aug 9 '12 at 14:32
    
If sentence 1 came from daily life, I can't agree more on @ShinyaSakai's explanation. However in modern Chinese literature, (depending on the context of course,) it could also mean "The mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace, to Harry, is nothing but scaring". –  NS.X. Aug 9 '12 at 18:39
    
Now that @user913 gave us the complete context, I think in sentence 1 就 is emphasize as well. The tone is like "The mirror did get Harry, as an example of how Weasleys' house is strange and unexpected." –  NS.X. Aug 9 '12 at 22:49
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I'll stick with the first sentence. If the context was not given

厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳

means "Even a (simple) mirror on top of the kitchen's fireplace was enough to scare Harry", which implies that Harry is so easy to be scared.

However, if the context was set:

韦斯莱家却充满了神奇和意外

就 in the same sentence actually suggests an example. So,

韦斯莱家却充满了神奇和意外,厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳

means

韦斯莱家却充满了神奇和意外,(比如)厨房壁炉架上的那面镜子就把哈利吓了一跳

I guess the author will add more details about how the mirror actually scared Harry after that.

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