I have a few English sentences I'm struggling to translate to Chinese, although I'm HSK5 level. Here they are, along with my attempted translations (please be strict and critical cos I want to know the most natural way of expressing these things):

You'll know when you get to Beijing 你到了北京就会知道的

Next month I'll have been married for 3 years 等到下个月我就结婚三整年了

Next year I'll have been to Beijing (and left) 等到明年我就去过北京的

I will have learned English for 12 years before I graduate from university … don't know how to translate this one :(

After I've gone to Beijing, I'll plan where to go next 我去了北京以后就打算后面去哪里 (can I use 打算 like this? Meaning "the act of planning" rather than talking about a specific plan)

I'll have finished by that time 那时候我已经做完了 (is the 了 right here even though I'm talking about the future?)

Any help on better understanding how to deal with translating English future perfect sentences to Chinese, or examples of such sentence translations, or corrections/alterations to my example sentences would all be hugely appreciated.

Thanks 哥们儿s

  • search web using e.g. "英语语法:将来完成时" get e.g. yygrammar.com/Article/200802/191.html I will have learned English for 12 years before I graduate from university 我大学毕业以前就已经学习了12年的英语。 – user6065 Dec 27 '17 at 19:18

You'll know when you get to Beijing 你到了北京就会知道

You'll know when you get to Beijing 你到北京就会知道

的 is not the right choice of final particle here.

Edit:

就会知道 = will then know

in 就会知道(的), '的' is a final particle that emphasizes the verb, stating it is in an existing state', that contradicts 就会(will then). You can say "他是知道的" (he knows/ he knew) but not "他將是知道的 (he will knows/knew)

in 就会知道(了), '了' is a final particle that indicates completion of the verb. Meaning 知道了 indicates the verb 知道 will be 'completed'. Since '了' is an 'aspect marker' not a 'tense marker', it can be used in any tense.

Next month I'll have been married for 3 years 等到下个月我就结婚三年了

Next month I'll have been married for 3 years 下个月我就结婚整整三年了

It is [整整 X year (X years no more no less)], not [整 X year]

Your English sentence didn't state 'wait until' so you shouldn't write '等到' In your Chinese translation

Next year I'll have been to Beijing (and left) 等到明年就去过北京

Next year I'll have been to Beijing (and left) 明年我就去过北京一趟

From the context, we know you've never been in Beijing, therefore "去过北京(一趟)" can make it more clear that you mean 'go and leave Beijing (been in Beijing)'

But it is English-Chinese, Native Chinese would phrase it as "明年我会去北京一趟" - "I will take a trip to Beijing next year (and leave)"

After I've gone to Beijing, I'll plan where to go next 我去了北京以后就打算后面去哪里

After I've gone to Beijing, I'll plan where to go next 去过北京之后才再想下次要去哪里

You said: " After I've gone to Beijing" meaning " After you had been in Beijing and back" (去过北京之后)

(then) I'll plan where to go next

才 = "only then" (you won't make plan for the next destination until you finished visiting Beijing)

打算 means "intend to" But you already intended to go somewhere else after the Beijing trip, so you should either use 计划 (to plan) or simply use 想 (think about/plan)

I'll have finished by that time 那时候我已经做完了 (is the 了 right here even though I'm talking about the future?)

I'll have finished (my traveling plan) by that time 那时候我就完成了我的旅行计划

'完成了' (completed) already indicate the action is completed, no need to add '已经' (have been already)

了 is an aspect marker that indicates 'completion of an action' it can be used in any tense.

  • Thanks for this :) but I don't understand this part..."的 is not the right choice of final particle here. '知道的' here implies 'already knew' , since you won't know until you get to Beijing, the final particle '的' is a contradiction" - Why is this? I thought I could use 会...的 to make confident predictions about the future? Such as 我们不会有问题的 – Angus Jan 2 at 15:00
  • Sorry, see my edition – Tang Ho Jan 2 at 16:35

Mandarin grammar is an essential part that you need to master when you are learning Chinese language. However, unlike English, the form of a Chinese verb never changes, regardless of whether it is present, past or future tense. So it is quite difficult for some Chinese beginners to recognize them.

1. Chinese Past Tense

Chinese past tense, just like English, is used when the thing you are describing happened in the past. There are some characters in the sentence that will prompt you, such as:

Chinese: 我昨天去医院了。 Pinyin: wǒ zuó tiān qù yī yuàn le。

This sentence means I went to hospital yesterday. zuó tiān means yesterday.

Chinese: 我吃过早饭了。Pinyin: wǒ chī guò zǎo fàn le。

In this kind of sentence, the particle “le” will be added at the end of the sentence in order to indicate the completion of an action.

Except for “zuó tiān” “le”, there are also some other characters to indicate the tense of the sentence such as “qù nián” “gāng gāng” “céng jīng” “yǐ jīng” etc.

2. Chinese Present Tense

The present tense in Mandarin Chinese is usually used to describe the present action or action commonly happens. We can usually see some special characters that can help us to figure out its present tense, such as 经常 (jīng cháng) often, 有时 (yǒu shí) sometimes, 每天(měi tiān) everyday, 每周 (měi zhōu) every week, 每年 (měi nián) every year. Below is some examples for you:

Chinese: 我喜欢看电影。 Pinyin: wǒ xǐ huān kàn diàn yǐng。 English: I like watching movie.

Chinese: 我每天骑车上学。 Pinyin: wǒ měi tiān qí chē shàng xué。 English: I ride a bike to school everyday.

3. Chinese Future Tense

Mandarin does not have a future tense, so something that has yet to occur is expressed by using time phrases that indicate the future, such as 明天 (míng tiān) tomorrow, 今天晚上 (jīn tiān wǎn shang) this evening, 后天 (hòu tiān) the next day tomorrow, 下个星期 (xià gè xīng qī) next week, 下个月 (xià gè yuè) next month, 明年 (míng nián) next year, 将来 (jiāng lái) in the future, 下次 (xià cì) next time. For example:

Chinese: 我明天回家。 Pinyin: wǒ míng tiān huí jiā。 English: I will go home tomorrow.

Chinese: 我打算去游泳。 Pinyin: wǒ dǎ suàn qù yóu yǒng。 English: I plan to swim.

I should first mention: The future is never perfect!

Often you can translate 'I will have' as '我将已经‘, but that will definitely depend on the context. My advice to you is, try to forget about English Tenses. When writing Chinese, wear a Chinese hat.

In English, with its Germanic roots, we can often write (time) [event] or [event] (time).
Chinese (and Spanish) seem less flexible, or rather, more consistent, in this respect: (time) [event]. Maybe our Chinese friends here can give examples of Chinese [event] (time) sentences that don't sound weird.

[You will know] (when you get to Beijing.)
(When you get to Beijing) [you will know]
[Sie werden es wissen] (wenn Sie in Beijing sind.)
(Wenn Sie in Beijing sind,) [werden Sie es wissen]
(Una vez llegar a Beijing) [tu lo sabrás.]
(你到北京的时候)[会知道。]

(Next month) [I'll have been married for 3 years.]
(到下个月),[我们将结婚三周年]

(Next year) I'll have been to Beijing (and left)
(明年这个时候)[我将已经到过并且离开北京。]

[I will have learned English for 12 years] (after I graduate from university.)
(大学毕业后,)[我将已经学了十二年英语。]

[I will have been learning English for more than 12 years] (after I graduate from university.)
(大学毕业后),[我将已经连续学习12年英语了。]

(After I've gone to Beijing,) [I'll plan where to go next.]
(等我去了北京后,)[我将计划下一次去哪儿。]

[I'll have finished] (by that time.)
(到那个时候,)[我将已经做好/做完了。]

Since the verbs in Chinese does not change forms together with the adverbial modifier representing time, you may have to complete the meaning that are implied by the tense of the verbs in English. Sample translations:

你到了北京就知道了。

下个月我就结婚三周年了。

明年我会去一趟北京。 [“一趟”implies that you will come back, while “我去北京”may not imply any other plans after you arrive in Beijing. If you want to be explicit, you add more details like “然后我再回来” or “然后我再去上海”, which could be modified to be a whole sentence like“明年我先去北京,然后去上海”. If you will stay in Beijing, you would not use “一趟”in general cases]

我去过 [or 我去了]北京以后再考虑我接下来去哪。

我到时候就[已经]做完了。

To conclude, if you want to express something implied by future perfect tense, you may use a combination of word representing a future time and a character “了”[sometimes “过” also make sense] following the verb to express the implicit meanings of future perfect tense in English.

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