I'm struggling with where some time phrases go? I understand that 'when' comes before the verb and 'how long for' goes after. However I have found sentences using 很久 and 整天 that seemingly break this rule (sometimes).

我很久没看到你(了) 我整天打网球

I'll be fine as soon as I understand why.

Any ideas?

  • 1
    adverbial adjuncts (adverbials) (状语)precede the verb, while complements (补语)follow it,some "time phrases" (e.g. 很久)can be both
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 16:13
  • So could I then say both: 我很久看电视 and 我看电视很久?
    – Gâr
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 17:01
  • 1
    Phrases in Q with 很久 in front of verb are negative, whereas those with 很久 after verb are positive (even 我不会在这里呆很久)justifying 我很久没看电视 and 我看电视很久 while 我很久看电视 sounds unfamiliar to say the least
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 17:18
  • @user6065 I Get it now - thank you!
    – Gâr
    Commented Nov 19, 2016 at 17:39

3 Answers 3


中文常会有倒装句(inverted sentence),建议不要执着文法,谁先谁后。

Both sentences in the Question can be reversed with a little modification.



  • @Gâr Phrases of locality indicating position or time e.g. 屋子里边,三天以前 can be an adverbial adjunct but not a complement, therefore must precede the verb, there are complements of degree (程度)and quantity (数量) 很久 and 整天 could indicate quantity, therefore can be used as complement, the predicate 打网球 is of type V+object, therefore the following are possible: 我打网球打(了)整天 (repetition of verb),or 我打整天(的)网球 (see grammar on complements)。Regarding 很久 or 整天 with negative predicates, they apparently do not indicate quantity of activity but just absence of it.
    – user6065
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 7:45
  1. 很久 + verb: 很久 here is acting as an adverb, and Chinese grammar allows adverb to be placed right before the verb.

Ex: 很久沒有見你了

  1. 很久 at the very last of the sentence, but before the grammatical endings like 了: Since it is a time, it conveys the meaning of "For (a period of time)". The meaning itself, actually, is being expressed by putting the period of time at the end of the sentence.

Ex: 沒有見你很久了

The meaning in these two are exactly the same. However native speakers tend to use the first one.


1) “很久”+verb:Generally speaking, the "verb" is usually a negative one (not + verb) in the English meaning, in this structure, this means the "The state of the negative verb lasts for a long time/ages."

A typical example is:

很久没有住在这里了。(I haven't lived here for a long time或者It's for ages since I left here.) And we DON'T SAY "我很久住在这里了".

However, sometimes when you see “很久才……”, this MUST BE ADDED before a verb (positive/negative), meaning "After a long time, Someone (begins) to do something":

i. 他很久才吃饭 (It's been a long time before he began to have breakfast).

ii. 他很久才告诉我真相(It's been a long time before he told me the truth)

2)S+verb+……+很久:The verb can be positive or negative, this still means "for a long time/ages".

i.我住在这里很久了。(It's been a long time since I began to live here).

ii.我不玩游戏很久了。(It's been a long time since I stopped playing games).

3)As for "整天", this is much easier to learn and use. This is PURELY an adverb to modify a durable verb that means "The state of the verb lasts for all the day":

他整天陪我玩(He's playing with me all the day)

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