So this is actually the third question I've asked regarding 就... It's quite difficult for me to grasp. I've gained a lot of insight from the past two question (Usage of 就 in these two examples and What's the usage/meaning of 就 in this case?) but I came across an example sentence that has thrown me off.

I took a look at this online Cantonese dictionary that a previous answerer was kind enough to provide me with, but I'm finding it difficult to fit this use case into the grammatical rules and examples given. The specific sentence is:


The context is when a friend is greeting another friend at the airport after a flight. The meaning of the sentence is not hard to grasp (my rough translation is "You came out to catch the early morning flight, are you tired right now?").

What would the meaning be here?

5 Answers 5


This sentence is expressing in a colloquial way, and can be interpreted as:


So 起床(getting up)is omitted,就 means the later thing happens right after the former one.



在 is omitted,就 at here means the mentioned thing happened at an earlier time(eg. 我们很早以前就认识)



[1] [adv] right away; at once; thereupon

一大早 = (at) dawn

一大早 [就 + v] = [immediately + v] (at) dawn

一大早[就出门] = [immediately go out] (at) dawn


六點鐘 = (at) six O'clock

六點鐘 [就 + v] = [immediately + v] (at) six O'clock

六點鐘就出门 = [immediately go out] (at) six O'clock

在 in (在)一大早 and (在)六點鐘 is omitted

'(at) dawn' and '(at) six O'clock' are conditions, 'go out' is the 'following action'

就 denotes a condition is/was/will be met and a following action is/ was / will be carried out immediately

One more example of: [condition is met] + [就 (immediately)] + [following action]

晚飯後 = after dinner

就 = immediately

出门 = go out

晚飯後就出门 = go out immediately after dinner

(the condition needed for you to go out is after you finished dinner)

This usage is similar to :

[如果X] [就] [Y]

([if X] [then] [Y])

X is the condition; Y is the following action

就 denotes if the condition is met, the following action will then be carried out

'晚飯後就出门' doesn't imply 'if' -- (you are going to finish dinner), therefore, 就 is not translated as 'then' but 'immediately'



literal translation:

You, once dawn, (and+already) go out catch plane.

almost human translation:

Once a dawn, and you already go out catch plane.

就 - is conjunction which evolved from verb "to take". So basicly 就 is English "and". It, being a conjunction, has a perks:

  1. has connotation of "necessary contidion" marker (antonym of 才)
  2. has connotation of "already" that is "ealier then expected" marker. (antonym of 才)

read posts:


This is one of a list of 就 used as an adverb (goes before the verb). It's the immediacy 就 here (vs tardiness 才), for which there isn't always an English equivalent -- the English might come out as a different word each time, or one doesn't account for 就 in the English version. Thinking of immediacy 就 as "already" might help: already left for the airport as early as...

It tends to have a subjective (vs neutral) quality to it. One way to test the point of something is to remove it and see what happens:

你一大早就出門趕飛機:stronger with 就; in the speaker's view, the 一大早 is very early (already out of the door at early morning). 你一大早出門趕飛機:this 就-less version is not so strong; the 一大早 is not seen as THAT early (as the 就 version).

As a comparison, 五分钟就好了 / 五分钟才好: "5 mins" is the same length of time in both examples, yet the immediacy 就 version makes "5 mins" a short time (subjective quality; e.g., if the train's leaving in 6 mins, 5 mins is short -- whatever it is will get done in 5 mins, so you'll be in time to catch your train), vs the tardiness 才 version (if your train's leaving in 4 mins, then 5 mins is too long).

Note: no situational 了 for tardiness 才.


就 - then

The structure "一……, 就……" means "once..., then..."


You once (it's) dawn then came out (to) catch (the) plane, now very tired, right?

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