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I just learned that if you end the sentence with adjectival verb + 了, it means indicating a change. For example,

你高了。

This means "You got taller.", which is different from 你很高, which just means "You are tall.".

However, 太 can also be frequently used along with 了 to modify an adjectival verb. For example,

东西太贵了。 (not 东西太贵。)

你太聪明了。 (not 你太聪明。)

In my textbook, these two sentences seem to just mean "Things are too expensive." and "You are too smart.", without any stress on the change.

So I wonder if 太 + adjectival verb + 了 doesn't indicate a change at all. Is this correct?

Also, if it doesn't indicate a change, how can I make the "太 + adjectival verb + 了" sentence indicate a change as well (e.g. “Thing got too expensive." or "You got too smart.")?

  • "外国人实用汉语语法":modal particle(语气助词)"了"(2)"了"可用在陈述句末尾,表示认识、主张、想法、行动等有变化。(change in understanding,opinion,ideas, or action)例如:我明白你的意思了。我现在还有事,不能去俱乐部了。他可以不参加这次贸易谈判了。(3)"了"可用在句尾,表示催促、劝告或提醒。(express urging, advice or reminder) 例如:走了,走了,不能在等了。好了,不要在说了。别喊了,大家正在休息。上课了,快进教室吧。吃饭了,别写了。 变得 may be used to express change, e.g.things got too expensive 东西变得太贵了 jukuu:9. He's been getting too smart. 他近来变得真了不起。 – user6065 Aug 29 '17 at 12:27
  • @user6065 Is the book considered a standard for Mandarin learners? – Blaszard Aug 29 '17 at 19:03
  • just search title online – user6065 Aug 29 '17 at 20:47
  • @user6065 Surely I searched but you seem to always refer to the book, so I wondered. – Blaszard Aug 29 '17 at 20:53
  • own information only comes from the Internet – user6065 Aug 30 '17 at 8:42
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In 你(長)高了, 高 is a resultative verb particle of '長高'(grow tall)- the main verb 長 is omitted.

As you know, 了 in [verb+了] indicates 'completion of action'

你(長)高= you grow tall

你(長)高了= you have grown tall

~

In 你(是)高了, 是 is the omitted verb, 高 is the adjective, and 了 is the final particle that indicates 'change of status'

你(是)高= you are tall

你(是)高了= you have gotten taller

~

In 你太高了, 太 is the adverb, 高 is the adjective and 了 is the final particle that indicates 'conclusion of statement'

你太高= you are too tall

你太高了= you are too tall (really).

东西太贵= things are too expensive

东西太贵了= things are too expensive (really)

你太聪明= you are too clever

你太聪明了= you are too clever (really)

Also, if it doesn't indicate a change, how can I make the "太 + adjectival verb + 了" sentence indicate a change as well (e.g. “Thing got too expensive." or "You got too smart.")

Adjectival verb (I call it resultative verb particle) is part of a verb. 太 as an adverb modifies adjective, not verb. Therefore, 太 doesn't modify it.

  • You cannot say "你太長高了" (高 as an adjectival verb)

  • You can only say "你長太高了" or "你太高了" (高 as an adjective)

  • 了 in "你長太高了" or "你太高了" does not indicate change; it indicates 'conclusion'.

To use 太~了 to indicate 'change' , you need a verb that actually indicate 'change' . For example, 变得(become) as in "你变得太高了"

  • “你(是)高”?你真的会说这样的? – Pedroski Aug 29 '17 at 22:50
  • Usually followed by additional statement. For example, 你(是)高, 但还没高到能打职业篮球. – Tang Ho Aug 30 '17 at 2:47
  • or '你(是)很高' . 是 is usually omitted – Tang Ho Aug 30 '17 at 2:56
  • Thanks for the clarification but why did you use traditional characters only on 變得? – Blaszard Aug 30 '17 at 11:57
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The full form of 你高了! is 你变高了!. So, there is an omission here. you can also see the similar expressions: 你(变)瘦了, 你(变)胖了,你(变)漂亮了... ...

‘太 + adjectival verb + 了’ has no omission of 变 there, so it doesn't convey a change. If you really want to indicate a change with this structure, you could add '现在'(now) in it. Like 你现在太聪明了!, it implies that you were not as smart as you are. It indicates you are getting smarter compared with the past.

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Usually you put "太" before adjectival verb to emphasize the adjectival verb itself, does not change its original meaning, for example, "你太高了", just means "You are SO tall".

But, as you said, sometimes it comes with the opposite meaning, but most time it is for sarcasm.

For example, if someone likes to play fool or play tricks on the others, you probably could say "你太聪明了", which means you have such smart that do not acceptable by common people.

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