For example:

I didn't eat breakfast today.

  1. 我今天没吃早饭。

  2. 我今天没有吃早饭。

  3. 我今天没吃早饭了。

  4. 我今天没吃饭了。(I didn't eat today.)

This rule implies that 1 and 2 are correct but 3 and 4 are incorrect.

Are 3 and 4 incorrect ?

I feel 4 might be ok when a non-specific object is attached to the verb (i.e. 我没写字了,我没说话了,我没睡觉了)

I feel 3 is a bit awkward when a specific object is attached to the verb (i.e. 我没写了一本书,我没写一本书了,我没说那句话了,我没说了那句话,我没睡了一个晚上,我没睡一个晚上了)


TL;DR: Yes and no. The most relevant grammar structures are:

  1. 没 + [verb] (with no 了), e.g. 我今天吃饭 (I haven't eaten today);
  2. [duration] + 没 + [verb] + 了, e.g., 我一天没吃饭 (I didn't eat for one day);

along with:

  1. 没 + [noun] + 了, e.g., 我没有米饭了 (I don't have rice [anymore]);
  2. 不 + [verb] + 了, e.g., 我今天吃饭 (I won't eat today [anymore]).

These last two use the change-of-state 了.

(I'm a learner, so there may be exceptions I'm unaware of. In writing this answer, I tried to cross-check as much as reasonably possible.)

1. Negating past actions

The most relevant grammar structure is the following.

Subj. + 没有 / 没 + Verb
Negation of past actions with "meiyou"

This should be thought of as the default:

I haven't eaten breakfast today

There's no semantic distinction between 没 and 没有 here: pick whichever is most suitable in the given context.

Adding in a change-of-state 了 here, if it isn't plain ungrammatical (i.e. no state is being changed), is probably going to sound weird. This was emphasized in dan's answer. As another data point, this Zhihu article (although not a reliable source for grammar) talks about how they feel 我还没吃饭了 (I still haven't eaten) is a regional dialect, with one author writing ...这个语法很奇怪 (this grammar is very strange). However, this doesn't stop it being used: see Baidu "我还没吃饭了". As an aside, we can use the modal particle 呢 here: 我还没吃饭呢.

2. Duration of inaction

Using 没...了 with a verb ordinarily (always?) implies we are using the construct:

Subj. + (已经 +) Duration + 没 + Verb + 了
Expressing duration of inaction

(I'll ignore 已经 for simplicity.) In the running example, 今天 is not a duration. So here's another example:

I, [for] more than twenty hours, have not eaten anything

If we wanted to use this grammar structure with 今天, we could say:

Today, I haven't eaten all day

3. Change of state (noun)

If you're anything like me, there might be confusion with

没(有) + [Noun Phrase] + 了
Expressing "not anymore" with "le"

It's the change-of-state 了, for when we no longer have something. For example:

2050年就没有巧克力了 (source)
in 2050, [there] will be no chocolate [future change of state]

4. Change of state (verb)

If we want to highlight a change of state for a verb, the appropriate grammar structure is:

Subj. + 不 + Verb + 了
Change of Situation in the Negative

In this case, there's some variety, such as:

I won't eat tomorrow [change of decision]
从今以后,我不吃肉了 (source)
From today on, I won't eat meat [current change of state]
我好几年吃猪肉 (source)
I, for many years, have not eaten pork [past change of state]

Above we have a change of state, but (for contrast) below we don't (so no 了):

Hui Muslims don't eat pork [no change of state]

  • +1, This is a perfect answer! Much better than mine. I couldn't cover all these cases off my mind at a time. 我还没吃饭了 is indeed bad grammar and stilted and I occasionally hear it's said, but I'd not recommend it. Usually, we say 我还没吃饭,我还没吃饭呢,etc. However, 我超过二十个小时没吃东西了 and 我今天一天没吃饭了sound right. Remove 一天,我今天没吃饭了 sounds a bit off. I don't see a strong reason for it.
    – dan
    Dec 10 '19 at 23:21
  • 巧克力 is a noun in " 2050年就没有巧克力了" . [没有 +verb] (did not/ have not +verb) is not the same as [没有 + noun] (don't have/ without + noun)
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 11 '19 at 11:40

As a particle, has two major functions

(1) [aspect marker] indicating completed action

(2) [final particle] indicating change of situation

*It can also be a final particle for emphasis or adding emotional tone *

[没 + V] or [没有 + V] denotes "absent of the action"

If an action is absent, it cannot be a completed action

You can only use 了 as a final particle that indicates change of situation or as a final particle that emphasizes the fact in the sentence or add emotional tone to the sentence, when a verb is negated with 没/ 没有

"我没吃早饭了" indicates the situation changed from eat breakfast to not eat breakfast (I used to eat breakfast, but not anymore)

The problem with "我(今天)没吃早饭了" is "今天" implies tomorrow you might eat again, the situation is not changed

Examples of [没 + V + 了]:

  • 我(己經)没吃早饭了 (了 indicating change of situation)

  • 我(許久)没吃早饭了 (了 as a final particle that emphasizes the fact in the sentence or add emotional tone to the sentence)

Base on the examples above, I would say a verb negated with 没 / 没有 can be suffixed with 了, but not for the function of "aspect marker that indicating completed action"

  • "我許久没吃早饭了" is possible in practice, meaning I haven't eaten breakfast for a quite long time. But 我没吃早饭了 is a bit off and stilted to my ear. And 我己經没吃早饭了 sounds wrong.
    – dan
    Dec 10 '19 at 13:18
  • 我没吃早饭了 need to be in the correct context: it implies 我(己經)没(再)吃早饭了 (I've no longer eating breakfast)
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 10 '19 at 13:24
  • 1
    Another example: 我(己經)沒去那健身中心了 (I've stopped going to that gym)
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 10 '19 at 13:32
  • Hmmm, in that context, we usually use 不, like 我已经不吃早饭了,我已经不去健身了. And 我已经不吃早饭了 is idiomatic.
    – dan
    Dec 10 '19 at 13:38

This rule implies that 1 and 2 are correct but 3 and 4 are incorrect.

Yes, it seems that this rule is applicable. I can't think an example against it off the top of my head.

(i.e. 我没写了一本书,我没写一本书了,我没说那句话了,我没说了那句话,我没睡了一个晚上,我没睡一个晚上了)

Those examples are all awkward because of that additional 了. In 我没睡了一个晚上, it has to be 我一个晚上没睡. 我没睡一个晚上 isn't natural and idiomatic.

Hope this could help.

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