I have very limited access to Chinese books, but I have noticed some texts that seem to make a point of avoiding 了。Is there a discernible reason? Does it sound more educated?

This one is from the cover of a book the author doesn't seem to be trying to write short keywords. enter image description here

  • news headlines well known for abbreviation do not have 了 (see e。g。cntv, rfa, rci, bbc, pars, rfi,dw, TRT中文, 俄罗斯卫星网,人民日报,FT中文网,纽约时报中文网 etc.),accordingly cv's(英),résumés(美) 简历 (see Q)are unlikely to have 了 – user6065 Sep 5 '16 at 5:22

It is an introduction of an novelist, listed her major works, plus some brief comments on her style and achievements.

了 is mostly a final particle that finishes sentences, Since the text in question is basically a bulletin style list of items, it is possible to not use 了 even once.

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in modern written vernacular chinese (白話文), several characters are used abusively.

"的", "麼", "了", "嗎", "性", "地", "們"

the more these characters are used, the worst the article are.

therefore the implications of pointedly avoiding 了, or any above mentioned characters is:

authors tried to write "elegantly, more beautiful" article, using less, or without these characters.

reading some good articles, you would feel the differences. the first recommendation is 董橋, learn from him, you won't be regret.



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  • in modern written vernacular Chinese (白話文), several characters are used abusively. "的", "麼", "了", "嗎", "性", "地", "們" ---- Agree, in first person narrative, using less unnecessary characters is considered elegant writing. However, many people actually fill their speeches with empty words and phrases, writers cannot avoid them when writing dialogues of characters. – Tang Ho Sep 5 '16 at 8:05
  • Thank you again for this recommendation. As my vocabulary slowly grows, I begin to see how well written his works are. – Ludi Jun 26 '17 at 14:19
  • @ludi, one more recommendation: 古德明, "spicy", anti-communist, current affairs. hktext.blogspot.hk/search/label/古德明 . have fun :) – 水巷孑蠻 Jun 27 '17 at 7:07

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