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I found this example in a Chinese grammar teaching web.

下过雨以后,空气会好很多。

What I do not understand is:

I learn that "过" is used for past actions, "会" = "will" (for future actions). So, how can both 过 and 会 turn up in this sentence? On the other words, all actions (in the sentence) happen in one tense, right?

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Question: When is the air fresher/cleaner?

  1. 下过雨以后,
    After the rain

  2. 空气会好很多。
    the air is/will be much better

1 is time, 2 is a statement

You could translate thus:

  1. 下过雨以后, After the rain has fallen,

  2. 空气会好很多。 the air is/will be much better

You might think 3 is past tense, but actually this has not yet happened, it's a projection in time, a 'when' in the future.

Definitely true of Nanjing, and it's raining now!

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  • Thanks Pedrosk :D – Jenny Mar 29 at 5:48
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I learn that "过" is used for past actions, "会" = "will" (for future actions). So, can both 过 and 会 turn up in this sentence?

Your understandings of both characters are correct. But here in this sentence, the usage is a bit similar to "subjunctive mood" in English.

The sentence basically means: "After raining, the air would be much better." You can understand it as "If it rained, the air would be much better."

But honestly, the concepts of "tense" and "mood" are from Roman languages. In Chinese, there is not a prohibition on putting two tenses in one sentence.

For example (I just made up the sentence, might not be perfect):

“我刚试过了苹果的新产品,一发工资我就买!” ("I have just tried Apple's new product, I would buy it on my next payday." )

In English, you have to put the words into the right tense, but in Chinese, it's almost the same for "present perfect" and "simple past".


Here are the standard usages of the two characters in Modern Chinese Dictionary 《现代汉语词典》.

过【·guo】

1 用在动词后,表示完毕:吃~饭再走|杏花和碧桃都已经开~了。

2 用在动词后,表示某种行为或变化曾经发生,但并未持续到现在:他去年来~北京|我们吃~亏,上~当,有了经验了。

Comment: Two meanings are similar. Here is the first one. "过" has many other meanings under other tones. This one is "neutral tone", but in oral usage you can use “falling tone” [guò] to emphasis the status of "finished".


会2【huì】

5 (助)助动词。表示有可能实现:他不~不来|树上的果子熟了,自然~掉下来。

Comment: 会 has more usages than I ever noticed. This one means "will" but without "a will". When someone says “我会去做的。”, it is the same usage but implies "I will do it without you saying." "It's in my plan already."


I'm a native Chinese but inexperienced in explaining my mother tongue. Feel free to ask follow-on questions. I hope my answer could help you.

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  • Thanks Jasmine. I think I got it. So "过" in my sentence is to indicate the finished action regardless of in the past or at the present ("After raining", you are right!)。 The part after comma (空气会好很多) is to describe an action that is certain to happen. – Jenny Mar 29 at 5:47
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    I don’t see any kind of similarity with the English subjunctive here. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Mar 29 at 12:45
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以后 means "after". 过 is used for done actions. So the part before comma means: "After the rain has finished falling" (or, more in English: "After the rain").

The part after comma means "the air will become better". As far as I understand, you don't have troubles understanding why.

All in all, the sentence means "The air will clear up after the rain". As you can see, it's written in exactly one tense.

all actions (in the sentence) happen in one tense, right?

Hmm, hard to say. But I hope you can answer this question on your own after my explanation.

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    Thank Musialmi! – Jenny Mar 29 at 5:49

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