I've been trying to work out how to form an equivalent of the English present perfect with a stative verb. I'd like to say something along the lines of:

I have known her since we were both 2 years old.

So far, I've cobbled together this:


I could be way off! I'm only at elementary level and this grammar point hasn't occurred in any of my books yet so maybe it's much more complex than this.

  • Actually, there s no typical perfect tense as in many European languages. You only need time, action and logic. Your sentence can be simply translated into " 我是我们俩两岁时认识她的 " Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 14:49
  • If you wish to say you were both "childhood sweethearts", then use an Idiom -- 青梅竹马, (qīng méi zhú mǎ), (Green Plum, Bamboo Horse), which is derived from a poem by Li Bai, (李白), a famous Tang Dynasty poet. Commented Dec 8, 2020 at 11:10

3 Answers 3


"I have known her since we were both 2 years old."

I would translate this as simply:

我们两岁就认识的 "We were just 2 when we got to know each other"

Sometimes the tricky part of translation is that different languages communicate the same information using different structures, or a structure that is natural in one language is very weird in the other.

The word "since" can only be translated as 自从 in certain contexts. In sentences like this, it is more natural to switch around the word order and use 就. Here's another example:

I've been here since 3 o'clock! Where are you?!

Hope that helps.


Chinese language doesn't have tense. So you need to use connectors sparingly to make the translation fluent.

  • I(我)
  • have known , 已经/经已 认识
  • her 他
  • since we were 自我们
  • both 俩
  • 2 years old 两岁大

You cannot construct the sentence directly, because it lack the fluency. Here are some suggestion.

  • 我们两岁大的时候,我就认识他了。
  • 我从小就认识他了,那是我们两岁大的时候。
  • 我认识他的时候,我们都只两岁大。
  • 我俩认识的时候,大家才(只)两岁(大)。

Here is the closes version but too awkward for today usage.

  • 吾识彼于微时岁皆两。
  • 两岁大 feels a bit awkward to my ears... I would just use 两岁
    – enumaris
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 21:10
  • While there isn't a formal tense system in Chinese, many expressions are actually sensitive compared to the tense system in western languages. 我吃饭 (I eat) 我吃过饭了 (I have eaten) 我早就吃完了 (I had eaten a while ago) etc. However, direct comparison/mapping from present/past/perfect tenses to Chinese often looks awkward as you've noticed.
    – iBug
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 18:45
  • @enumaris indeed... but I feel both 两岁 and 两岁大 feasible and comfortable - people speak casually and the trailing 大 is only a preference or favor
    – iBug
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 18:47
  • Perfect is not a "tense" anyway, it is an "aspect". And while Chinese does not have tense it does have aspect. 了 and 过 are very common aspect particles. This does not mean there is any 1:1 equivalence between them of course. Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 3:58

Alas, the Present is never Perfect!

I've known her since we were two years old.

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