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(1)明天他就要回来了。
(2)明天他要回来了。

I wonder if both sentences are different. Can anyone tell me the difference between 就要。。。了 and 要。。。了?

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In practice, I doubt if anyone really says 明天他要回来了 although there seems to be no grammar mistakes in the sentence. 明天他就要回来了 or 明天他就回来了 is more likely to be used colloquially.

I think it probably because the way Chinese expresses this is different from English. If we want just to express "he will be back tomorrow", we would say 他明天回来.

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"就" in "X 就 Y" denotes " when the condition X is met, the occurrence Y will happen right away"

In "明天他就要回来了" the condition is "when tomorrow arrive" and the occurrence is "he will come back"

明天他要回来了 --> he will come back tomorrow

明天他(就)要回来了 --> he will come back (right away) tomorrow

meaning "he will come back immediately or shortly after tomorrow arrives"

A long discussion about 就

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There are only a little bit different on emotion.

(1)明天他就要回来了。 (more expected) ("就要" like "be about to happen""almost") To meet husband after his military service. Some situation like that.

(2)明天他要回来了。 only 要 similar to "will" He will come back tomorrow. Just narrate a fact without emotion.

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