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Some sentences that I have seen contain the pattern "verb + 了 + verb". An example of this is:

"他們碰了碰杯子。" [1]

Since in all examples that I have seen the verb before and after 了 is the same, I believe that this pattern is a combination of verb reduplication and 了1 (comes after verbs and expresses completion).

A very literal translation of the above sentence would therefore be:

"They have briefly hit the glasses."

So far, I have been unable to verify or falsify the above hypothesis. Am I on the right track or does the "verb + 了 + verb" pattern express something else?


[1] https://www.chineseboost.com/grammar/peng-pengjian-pengshang/

  • media.eblcu.cn/cls/demo/401053/course/1/1/sid002.htm:如果表示过去,在中间加上“了”for more discussion and confirmation search web using e。g。动词重叠-> – user6065 Jul 30 '16 at 14:44
  • You're correct. Colloquial verb reduplication means 'briefly' and 了 indicates completion. – NS.X. Jul 30 '16 at 19:12
  • "实用现代汉语语法"|第二编|词类|第四章|动词|第四节|动词的重叠|三、动词重叠的表达功能(二)用于已然的动作时,重叠的动词之间往往加"了",所表示的动作持续的时间一定很短,一般用于两种情况:1。有一些人体动作可以表示大家公认的特定的意思,如摇头表示否定或惋惜,点头表示肯定,称赞或打招呼,拍肩膀表示关系亲密,皱眉表示不满意,耸肩表示无可奈何,挠头表示没有办法,努嘴、用手指有指示作用,眨眼睛表示困惑不解,伸舌头表示不好意思,等等,即通常所谓的体态语、身势语。这些动作一般持续的时间都相当短,动词重叠形式是表达这种动作的最常见的方式。例如:(1)小宁伸了伸舌头不觉摸了一下脑袋,又嘻嘻笑了起来。(2)祥子摇摇头:"不要紧。"(3)他见了我只点点头,没说话。2。用于一个持续时间不会很长的动作。例如:(4)欧阳海看了看停在旁边的火车,又看了看从火车上下来的人,微笑了一下,就闭上了眼睛。(5)徐书记又给他讲了讲酒厂的前途,摆了摆条件。(6)善良的铁人羞怯地笑笑,眨巴眨巴眼睛,红了脸。(7)祥子更上了火,他故意把车停住了,掸了掸身上的雪。这样用的动词重叠形式,所表示的动作也有比较随意的意味。比如例(5),如果改成"徐书记又给他讲了酒厂的前途,并摆了有利条件和不利条件。"语气就严肃正式得多。表示已然动作时,如果动作须经过一个过程才能完成的,就不能用动词重叠形式。比如下面的句子是不对的。 – user6065 Jul 30 '16 at 21:04
  • *我昨天晚上看了看电影。 *老师上课的时候给我们讲了讲故事。*我们昨天听了听他的演讲。不是短时的动作也不能用动词重叠形式。如不能说:*我去年夏天去中国完完。 Some of above examples do not have "了" and an earlier section has examples with "了" w/o previously being justified, -> authors apparently take for granted that readers will conclude that aspect particle "了" combined with verb duplication requires "了" to be between the duplicated verbs. Here is the earlier section: 二、动词重叠的语法意义 动词重叠的基本语法意义是表示动作持续的时间短或进行的次数少,即表示"少量"。如果动词表示的是持续性动作,重叠后表示动作持续的时间短:(1)老四不好意思地笑笑,‌​退回到墙根去了。(2)祥子咽了口气,咬了咬嘴唇,推门走出了。(3)我向窗外看了看,一个人也没有。如果动词表示非持续性的,但可以反复进行的动作,重叠后表示动作进行的‌​次数少。例如:(4)他用力扯了扯衣角。 – user6065 Jul 30 '16 at 22:07
  • (5)听了我的话,他点了点头,没说话。(6)老师敲了敲桌子,叫大家注意听。 – user6065 Jul 30 '16 at 22:10
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Users https://chinese.stackexchange.com/users/798/ns-x and https://chinese.stackexchange.com/users/6065/user6065 have both confirmed that the pattern is, indeed, verb reduplication combined with 了1, the combination indicating that the action is both brief and completed.

Thanks both for your answers! Although this is very basic to most of you readers, it means a lot to me to have the confirmation.

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