For example, if I want to say "I wish I learned Chinese when I was little", is it ok to say "我希望我小的时候学中文"?

If not, is there another word I could use instead? Possibly "我最好小的时候学中文"?

Or do I need to entirely rephrase and say something like "我小的时候学中文更好"

  • 1
    jukuu may help: 9. I wish I had brought my gun. 我真希望我把枪带了出来。11. 'I wish I had finished this work, ' she said with a sigh. 我希望我完成了这项工作,她叹口气说。36. I wish I had not told you." 我真希望我没有告诉过你。”
    – user6065
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 0:59
  • Hey Dong Wei, you may write your own answers if you wish, there is plenty of room. I'd rather you did not edit my answer and make it a long mess. I checked it with 朱教授 before I posted, she approved.
    – Gangosa
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 9:48

3 Answers 3


As a 老外 saying this, maybe: 我希望从小就开始学中文了。 Using 希望 is good.

  • 这个句子的话,【就】和【过】表示一样的意思吗?可以说【我希望我小的时候就学过中文】吗? Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 2:24
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    我们看看这一个句子吧:【他的爸爸昨天晚上八点回家】如果他的爸爸通常五点回家,那你就可以说【他的爸爸昨天晚上八点才回家】。如果他的爸爸通常十二点回家,你就可以说【他的爸爸昨天晚上八点就回家】是不是? Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 3:50
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    “我希望我小的时候就学过中文” is not ungrammatical, but sounds incomplete. Your understanding for 就 is accurate, but normally when people use 就 in a sentence like this, there will follow an explanation on why (you wish you had learnt Chinese in that early age).
    – NS.X.
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 4:01
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    OK I understand what you mean:Yes,……This is a past time. But it's ambigous:if 就 is combined with 小时候. (=already). Yours is quite right (And in fact this statement is right). But to be honest, most of us will take this as “Emphysis” for the 1st time because of the word's frenquency in Emphrasis. So you'd better remove 就. In fact, I see that you can use syntax to make sentences. However sometimes Chinese's meaning is different from pure syntax according to cultures, behaviors or tendency This is a difficulty thing……ect. I've changed my post above.
    – xqMogvKW
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 4:23
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    @williamlue929:Nice question! It doesn't conflict if you use both 就 and 过. Because 过 is a complete word to mean that your period of Chinese learning is over when you are young (You'd already had this period of time for chinese leanring). And 就 just means already(that's the easy explaination for you and fact this just emphrasis that I already really learnt Chinese when young.) So if you say 我希望我小时候就学过……This is right. But the meaning is just the OPPOSITE against what it really was:我小时候没有学过。So I just wanna tell you that sometimes Syntax is different from meaning in Chinese.
    – xqMogvKW
    Commented Dec 11, 2016 at 4:47

我真希望我小时候学过中文。or 要是我小时候学过中文就好了。


The subjunctive mood of “wish” sentence could be literally translated as “希望”。 but in actual use 希望carries a connotation for the future. So the sentence “I wish I had learned Chinese when I was a child.” in reality would be

要是(如果)我小时候学过中文就好了。要是(如果)我从小就开始学中文 那该多好啊/就好了。

我希望我小时候学过中文…….我希望我从小就开始学中文 sounds like a translation from English.

我真希望我小时候学过中文…….我真希望我从小就开始学中文 sounds better but still there’s a tinge of future connotation, therefore a slight feel it’s not authentic Chinese.

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