Is it an aspect marker? Is it a specific grammatical construction with 就 or 要是? Is it there just for emphasis? I can't work it out...

5 Answers 5


了 - is not a verb complement. It's a realis maker, that is, by adding 了 at the end of the verb you render it to reality and not to a probabilistic-theoretical suggestion. So, in OP case, 了 renders possible situation to absolute truth.

你要是喜欢我就给你买 If you like it, I would buy it for you. (talking about possible situation)

你要是喜欢我就给你买了 Your liking is enough for me to buy it. or If you like it, consider the buyng as done (that is, real). (buying for sure, no way back!)

  • You overstate 买了. To express "buying for sure, no way back!", you have to add some words to emphasize: eg. 你要是喜欢, 我就【 一定 】给你买!
    – dan
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 11:41
  • No, no... 就 is the emphasis here... 就买了= buying it for sure! 就 should be translated as a kind of "AND" but with a hint of "already" (IMHO). 买了 without any emphasis will just mean that "the act of buying will/have/is taking place, without any indication that it is/was/will be complete or reach the goal.
    – coobit
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 7:39
  • 就 actually isn't that strong here. With a normal tone, 我就给你买了 is like saying "so I'm gonna go ahead to get it (bought) for you".
    – dan
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 9:01
  • Well, maybe not strong, but some power is posessed by 就. 就 - is kind of a consequential AND. Something, something.......... AND I'll buy it. Well, those are details.
    – coobit
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 9:08
  • by the way. 谢谢 vs 谢谢了. How would one explain the difference? In "realis" maker view it's quiet easy. thank you vs really thank you
    – coobit
    Commented Sep 11, 2018 at 9:10

I think the key is the usage of 了. In my opinion, 了 here works like a result complement, which indicates the status changed.

Semantically, they(with or without 了) denote the same meaning.

我买 vs 我买了:

我买 is like saying "I will buy" in English.

我买了 is like "I will have/get it bought. The status changed from not bought to bought.

Another example is 我走 vs 我走了. 我走 is I am going. 我走了 is I will be gone. The status changed from staying here to be gone.

Hope this could help you out.

  • This should be the accepted answer imho.
    – Aryaman
    Commented Sep 7, 2018 at 21:29
  • 我买 differs from 我买了 in a complete different sence. 我买了 - is a situation which took, taking, will take place in reality, as a fact. But 我买 is a probability, dream, habitual situation. 我买 I usually buy, I might buy, The buying is a habit of mine... there are may translation to this pair.
    – coobit
    Commented Sep 10, 2018 at 8:23

了 is used to indicate completed status, contrast with the current situation.

If you like it, I would buy it for you.
(If you don't like it, I wouldn't buy it.)

If you like it, I would have bought it for you.
(You don't like it so I didn't buy it.)

It's there for emphasis purpose, the sentence will have the same meaning even without 了. If translated to English, it would be something like this:

If you like it, I'll just buy it.

If you like it, I'll buy it.


了【le】 (aux.v) used after the verb or adj. to indicate completion (int) 1.To strong affirmation 2.To promote or discourage

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.