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I'm taking an intermediate Chinese course and ran across a character whose usage I can't quite wrap my head around: 就.

I believe the meaning of the character itself are "then, right away, etc." However, I'm finding it difficult to really understand the usage from just the definition itself. Here is an example from the textbook I'm using:

  1. 等你来天津, 我就给你当导游。 (When you come to Tianjin, I'll give you a tour.)

  2. 等你来天津, 我给你当导游。(When you come to Tianjin, I'll be your guide.)

How should I interpret 就 in this context?

Thank you.

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[等 (X) 就 (Y)] = [wait till (X) then (Y)]

Example:

(你来天津), 我(给你当导游。)

wait till (you come to Tianjin,) I'll then (be your tour guide.)

Other combinations:

[一 (X) 就 (Y)] = [once/as soon as (X) then (Y)]

Example:

(来天津), 我(给你当导游)

Once (you come to Tianjin,) I'll then (be your tour guide.)

[如果(X) 就 (Y)] = [if (X) then (Y)]

Example:

如果(你来天津) 我(给你当导游)

If (you come to Tianjin,) I'll then (be your tour guide.)

  • Is it a rule to use 就 with 等? I'm asking because in English it makes perfect sense to take out the "then" in the examples you gave, and I'm wondering if it applies in Chinese as well. For example, would it make sense if I just say "等你来天津, 我给你当导游。"? – Seankala Mar 11 at 9:00
  • @Seankala Yes, you can omit 就 in "等你来天津, 我(就)给你当导游。". Because 'then' is implied even without '就'; Just like in English, "Wait till you get to Tianjin, (then) I'll be your tour guide "-- First you have to go to Tianjin, and it is the condition to be met. '就' indicates the condition is met, and the following statement "I'll being your tour guide " will applies. – Tang Ho Mar 11 at 10:33
  • Even without 就, we can tell '你来天津' has to happen before '我给你当导游' . because we have 等 (wait) in '等你来天津'-- Just remember '就' indicates a condition is met in the previous statement, and a following statement will apply – Tang Ho Mar 11 at 10:36
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Unlike English, 等你来天津 here is actually a conditional clause. It means if it comes to the time when you come to Tianjian. The OP's sentence can be interpreted by if... then ... structure in English. So, 就 does mean then in that sentence.

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