What does 着 indicate in this sentence : "只要看着你" (I just want to look at you) indicate/mean? (This sentence is from a song called "Baby", sung by EXO-M. Since it comes from a song, the sentence might be shortened and could possibly lose some parts like subject, etc. Idk tho).

Also, aside of that sentence, is there any other usage of 着?

  • 着 is an aspect particle or 时态助词 indicating the continuous aspect of an action,"汉语语法基础":动词加"着"表示动作还在继续。Yufa! cf. A Practical Guide to Mandarin Chinese Grammar: an optional 呢 can appear at the end of the sentence 你看,邮局的门开着,邮局还在营业,我要去买几张邮票。Look, the door of the post office is open. The post office is still doing business. I am going to buy a few stamps.小王的眼睛闭着,我想他大概在睡觉所以没有跟他打招呼。Xiao Wang’s eyes were closed. I thought he might be sleeping, so I didn’t greet him. resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/…
    – user6065
    Aug 12 '18 at 7:56
  • 2
    @user6065 You could make it an answer.
    – zyy
    Aug 12 '18 at 15:31
  • users wonder whether question belongs to the category "finer points of the Chinese language"
    – user6065
    Aug 12 '18 at 22:10
  • Other similar usage: 着火了 fire is on.
    – WDC
    Aug 12 '18 at 22:45

Trashy lyrics. Take out the 着 changes the meaning.

只要看著你 Once I see you / Whenever I see you
只要看你 I just want to see you

There is no sense of continuous action, rather, repetitive occurrence, he is saying, 'Any (and every) time I see you, I remember the time we met.'

LuHan:停不住 我鼓足勇气去爱 can't stop I('ve got to) keep up the courage to love

Lay:只要看著你 just need to look at you

Lay:画面 倒回被命运击中的一刻 (and I) picture the moment destiny brought us together

我听见一个梦从银河降落 I heard a dream descend from the milky way

着 is used a lot in Chinese, but I find it mostly does not correspond to what is called 'the continuous aspect' in Western grammar, although it may in certain situations. So you should not just think, 'Aha, 着 = -ing.'

(Cf: 小王的眼睛闭着,Xiao Wang’s eyes were closed, (not 'closing') If 'closed' is 'continuous aspect' what is Past Tense?)

This sentence talks about a big old bird, which 'lived', not 'is living', a long time ago. In English, the so-called Present Tense mostly fulfills the task of indicating continuous action: I live in South America.

在6500万年前至250万年前的南美洲大陆生活着一种身体高达3米、 体重500公斤、不能飞翔的鸟类。


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