New answers tagged usage
对不起: Literally means "can't make it right". Carries the connotation of being in the wrong. 不好意思: Means something like, "that was bad". Describes the action more than the character of the one saying it.
“了” really means the suffix of a verb like "-ed" for past tense in English. However, this "suffix" word is usually following some verbs that may last for ages. For example: 我吃饭 (I'm having lunch) In Chinese, 吃 is a verb that can last for ages (this isn't a shorted-time verb). So if you wanna explain that the verb comes to an end, just add "了"： 我吃饭了。(I had ...
I would say that Chinese language is not that rigorous in grammar as in English. You example sentence is definitely okay and readable for a native Chinese speaker. There is no general rule for when to use "了". To make your example sentence more authentic, you may say instead: 我走到海灘邊, 看到一棟屋子. 屋前掛著一塊牌子, 寫著 "旅館". Note that the key is to think in Chinese, ...
Tense in Chinese is inferred from context, there are no grammatical constructs for it. 了 indicates completion, not past time per se.
Top 50 recent answers are included