Hello I want to ask for the use of 过 in this sentence.

  1. 我给打过电话,但没有打通。 The translation of the book says, I tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to phone her.

  2. 大卫的朋友最近打过电话给大卫吗?

What I understood is that 过 is to do with something if it has been experienced. For example 你看过这本书。 Have you (ever) read this book? But in the above example when it says 最近 it means that maybe they have telephoned before.

What is the difference in this sentences if you use 了?

Thanks in advance.


过 means: has done something so 打过电话 means i have called him

in the mean time : 打了电话 means: i called him

the difference of the two chinese saying is: the first sentence is to emphasize that something is done by you, while "打了电话" or "打啦电话" is to telling a fact

  1. 我给谁打过电话,但未打通/接通。
  2. 大卫的朋友最近给他打过电话了马?大卫的朋友最近打过电话给他了马?

任何一个都可以:打过 = 打过了 = 打了


With 过, the action is just "an occurrence in time". With 了, the action comes with a "tangible result" (related to the object or to the subject) which has a status of more than just being "an occurrence in time".

If you just started learning Chinese, I would advice you to to use 了 when you want to indicate a past action. You can use 过, however, when you want to "attenuate the result or consequence" of the action (i.e. the result or consequence is irrelevant). For example:

  1. 谁吃了我的粥?(Who has eaten my porridge?)

1a. 谁吃过我的粥?(Who has been eating my porridge?)

The consequence is serious in (1) - my porridge is gone, but not so in (1a).

If you called David yesterday to invite him for dinner (you have a purpose, and therefore expecting a result), you use 了. If you called him yesterday and just chit-chatted a bit, you use 过:

  1. 我昨天给大卫打了电话,他说明天晚上来。

2a. 我昨天给大卫打过电话,没什么,我们聊聊而已。

How about (3) and (3a)?

  1. 我想找大卫,我给他打了三次电话,但是找不到他。


(3) sounds more urgent because the 3 calls are interpreted as "the effort I put in to get the result". In (3a), I just tried my luck to call him 3 times.

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