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The wrong sentence is “我们八点快要上课了。”

There are 2 answers for this sentence (in my Chinese textbook):

(1) 我们八点要上课了。
(2) 我们八点就要上课了。

I think that 快要...了 is equivalent to 要...了 (both mean “is about to do sth.”).

So can anyone explain to me why the answer uses 要...了?

  • 2
    我们八点要上课了 doesn't sound quite right. I prefer 我们八点就要上课了. – dan May 27 at 10:41
  • Can you explain? – Jenny May 27 at 12:00
  • It's a emotion express, represent the emotion of "urgent","almost" or "look forward to" 's emotion. – 高鵬翔 May 27 at 14:29
  • Hi @Jenny your question title uses a structure 快要 ... 了 whereas the examples you gave use 要...了 and 就要...了. As you can imagine, this creates some confusion as to what question you're actually trying to answer. – Marko May 29 at 3:23
  • @Marko I just edit, you can see my edition – Jenny May 30 at 9:21
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is equivalent to 要...了

You can say that 我們星期一要上課了(We will attend the class on Monday) or 我們明天要上課了(We will attend the class tomorrow.) but you cannot say that 我們星期一快要上課了 or 我們明天快要上課了。 because when people use 快要, they don't add time to modify somethings in a sentence or component.

In this situation, 要...了 is not about to do something.

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  • So what does 要。。。了 mean? – Jenny May 27 at 11:59
  • @Jenny To do something but not necessary about to do something. – 000 May 27 at 21:53
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Generally speaking, 要...了 implies that some action is to be taken in the future. So 我们八点要上课了 simply means that at 8 o'clock (in the future), we will attend class. The 了 indicates a specific instance of the 8 o'clock class will be attended in the future, whereas omitting the 了 would make it sound more like you're talking about a schedule with a regularly recurring class. In English, the difference would be akin to

"We will attend the 8 am class." 我们八点要上课了

vs

"We attend an 8 am class." 我们八点要上课

We can modify 要...了 with either 就 or 才. The former indicates a feeling that it is happening soon, earlier than perhaps expected, in a rush etc... all the feelings related to time being too short. 才 is the opposite: something being eventual, late, slow etc. To illustrate:

我们早上六点就要上课了

This means that we have to attend class in the morning at 6 o-clock (again, referring to a specific instance of a class to be taken at some point in the future), and the feeling is one of that timing being too early. Contrast this with

我们晚上十一点才要上课了

where the author expresses that 11 o'clock at night is quite late for a class (again, that will be taken in the future).

When we use 快要...了, we essentially indicate that something is imminent.

我们快要上课了

means "we are about to start taking class." Since there is a sense of imminence implied by the construction, it is not suitable to modify it with a time, since that time will either conflict with the sense of imminence, or just be an outright tautology. This hopefully answers your question in the heading.

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