5

Ok, I saw explanation that:

  • 我去了商店。(means: I have gone to the shop already)
  • 我去商店了。(means: I am going to the shop now)

So I expected to meet 了 for the past tense only right after the verb:

昨天我去了商店。

But actually I saw that this is also possible:

昨天我去商店了。/ 昨天我们去长城了。

So is it correct for the past tense to separate 了 with the verb? Is there any difference in meaning?

  • 1
    我去商店了 means I am going to the shop now under a very special circumstance: as a explanation to where you're going when you're leaving the company of people. Other times it just means the same as 我去了商店. – droooze Oct 2 '18 at 12:41
  • @droooze "I am going to the shop now" is "我(要)去商店啦", which sounds very close to "我去商店了". So, don't confuse "我去商店啦" with "我去商店了". They mean differently indeed. – dan Oct 2 '18 at 13:10
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    @dan I don't agree with that construction 我(要)去商店啦, it should be 我要去商店了, with 要 or 現在 omitted in colloquial speech. Similarly, 我要走了, 我要洗澡了, ... – droooze Oct 2 '18 at 13:14
  • @dan see this: 了 #3: Used at the end of a sentence to inform the beginning of an action. – droooze Oct 2 '18 at 13:23
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    @droooze also, refer to this dictionary definition: 啦 la 1 助词。“了”(le)和“啊”(a)的合音,兼有“了”和“啊”的作用。 – dan Oct 2 '18 at 13:27
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Both are correct for past tense. They have the same meaning, with subtle difference on the point of emphasis.

"我去了商店" lays emphasis on the action "went to the shop", while "我去商店了" lays emphasis on the destination of the action, i.e. "the shop".

So it'll be more natural to use "我去了商店" as the answer to the question asking "what did you do" (你做什么去了), and use "我去商店了" as the answer to the question asking "where did you go" (你去哪儿了). (Note that they are just more targeted and straightforward to the answer, using another one as the answer is fine too.)

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