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There's a rule in Chinese that says that when you have two or more verbs in a sentence, you should put 了 in the last one. As in:

他们请经理吃了饭。

How bad would it sound if you put 了 before 请?

他们请了经理吃饭。

If it's not bad at all, what would be the differece between the two?

Thanks!

  • It sound fine to me. It depends on which action you want to put emphasis on. – songyuanyao Nov 21 at 0:28
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他们请经理吃了饭- subtle emphasize what they eat, but not necessarily.

他们请了经理吃饭- to emphasize who they buy dinner for

There's another possible way to say this:

他们请经理吃饭了- subtle emphasis on the thing happened, but not necessarily.

It really depends on how you say it, your tune can change the emphasis too. They all have the same meaning. The second one probably has stronger effect.

Please correct me if i'm wrong.

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Most likely, I'd say 他们请经理吃饭了 or 他们请经理吃了饭 in practice.

他们请了经理吃饭 might be ok, but it doesn't look a normal word order. Usually, we just say: 他们请了经理 meaning they invited the manager. What that invitation is for is often implied(assuming it can be figured out from the context).

This is probably just me. Others might take different opinions.

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他们请经理吃了饭。

It was dinner that they invited the manager to have.

他们请了经理吃饭。

It was the manager that they invited to have dinner.

  • Then what about sentences like 他们是请经理吃饭的 and 他们请经理是吃饭的? (the 2nd one I'm not sure if it's possible) What would be the difference between them and the ones with 了? – Enrico Brasil Nov 21 at 13:27
  • @EnricoBrasil 是 emphasizes (stronger than 了) the object directly after it. 他们是请经理吃饭的=他们请了经理吃饭, but the former one emphasizes more on 经理. 他们请经理是吃饭的=他们请经理吃了饭, also, the former one emphasizes more on 饭. – 帕菲菲 Nov 24 at 7:30

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