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I have been revising HSK 3 grammar, and came across these two alternatives:

  • 我妈妈一起床,就做早饭
  • 我妈妈起了床,就做早饭

On the basis that my book says that they both mean 'My mum makes breakfast as soon as she wakes up', is there any inherent difference between the two?

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一A就B
once A done, B right away

It has the meaning of doing B 'as soon as' A done.

A了就B
after A done, then B

It emphasizes more on "doing B, but not C or D" after A done.

  • Ah okay - so 一...就... has more time pressure to it. ...了,就... is more like 先..., 然后... ?? – Hashamyim Feb 20 at 14:39
  • Correct. You can consider '一' contains meaning of '一旦'(once) here. – Karata Feb 20 at 14:47
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The other answer is correct. I'd like to add that 我妈妈一起床,就做早饭 states the routine work, meaning my mum makes breakfast as soon as she wakes up.

我妈妈起了床,就做早饭 is more like a conditional sentence, meaning If my mum gets up, then the first thing she would do is make breakfast. In practice, you would hear 我妈妈起了床,(第一件事情)就(是)做早饭.

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就 must be treated as "AND" with connotation of "already". Mind you, there are many kind of "and"s in chinese, and 就 is one of them.

So

一A就B

must be trasnalted as "Once[一] A and[就] (there already be) B"

Now, 了 is a factuality marker (realis mode marker), that is "A了" means A was/is/will be reality.

So

A了就B

must be trasnalted as "A was/is/willbe true and[就] (there already be) B

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