Chinese Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Chinese language. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

我一個晚上開銷就不只三萬了. What's 了 doing?

share|improve this question

It really depends on the conversation context. The difference is too subtle to describe to people from different cultures.

It is hard to use your sentence directly to build an example. Suppose a client is bargaining/discussing some expense or price with you.

When there is no "了", you are probably just stating the fact.

When there is a "了", it is likely your tone is dropping during talking, you could be rolling your eyes too. You are indicating the client is too ignorant about the real expense you need and his estimation is way too low.

Or you could say it with a "了" in a tone of something close to "撒娇", indicating the client should pay a bit more than what he offered. In this case, you could probably or will intentionally choose to use "啦" instead of "了".

share|improve this answer

If it is a complete sentence: With a 了, it sounds more casual. The speaker may be rich. Without 了, it sounds rude, like you are arguing with someone.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.