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In an exercise, I came across this sentence with the translation:

每天早上她都要慢跑一个小时。

Měi tiān zǎoshɑnɡ tā dōu yào màn pǎo yí ɡè xiǎoshí.

She goes to jog every morning for an hour.

What is the meaning of 要 in this sentence?

I know from Auxiliary verb "yao" and its multiple meanings from resources.allsetlearning, 要 has several meanings:

  • Want / need. However, any of these meanings appear in the translation.
  • Going to, referring to a future clause. But, also, this sentence seems to be a constant happening every day, not something happening only on the future.

Maybe the translation is incomplete? Otherwise, I don't see any difference in suppressing 要 from the sentence.

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    Not fleshed out enough to be a full answer, but I feel a nuance of the person feeling driven to go for an hour's jog each morning. Not "must" or "has to," but something more than mere occurrence. – Brian Tung Jul 8 at 0:54
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每天早上她都要慢跑一个小时。

I disagree with Tang Ho's answer ["要 only indicates "needs to/ has to" here"].

要 in the sentence denotes the sense of 将要 (going to). It doesn't necessarily mean 必须,必要(has to).

The sentence is just stating a fact that she would be running for an hour every morning. It might look inconsistent or ungrammatical from English stand point. But I can't think of a better way to explain it in English.

都 here is to emphasize she is always doing it.

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  • So what is the difference between the sentence with 要 and without? Is it because without 要 (as Tang Ho said) means "she goes jogging every morning (a constant that occurs without exception)", while with 要 means "she has the intention to go jogging every morning (she is going to do it), but she might not able to do it always"? – Puco4 Jul 6 at 8:54
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    @Puco4 I don't see much difference with/without 要. Without 要,the speaker may be more objective(plain fact). With 要,there's a bit his opinion in it. But the difference is very subtle and no one would care about it probably. – dan Jul 6 at 9:13
  • Sorry to bother @dan, but which opinion is expressed with 要?The intention to go jogging every morning? – Puco4 Jul 6 at 9:46
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    @Puco4 I'm not sure how to make it clear in English. In Chinese, we say 带了一点感情色彩(add a bit of emotion in English?). – dan Jul 6 at 10:11
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  • "每天早上她[]慢跑一个小时"。 -- "Every morning, she [has to] jog for an hour"

  • "每天早上她()慢跑一个小时" -- "Every morning, she (without exception) jogs for an hour"

(都 has many usages. In here, it is a word particle that indicates 'without exception')

"每天早上她(都)[]慢跑一个小时" -- "Every morning, she (without exception) [has to] jog for an hour."

要 only indicates "needs to/ has to" here. Depend on context, 'has to' can mean someone 'wants to' (therefore insist on)' do something; or someone 'must' do something because it is demanded of or forced upon him.

Example:

因為跑步跑上癮了,她每天早上[要]慢跑一个小时 (we know 要 here means 'wants to' because we know she is addicted to jogging in the context)

教練吩咐她每天早上[要]慢跑一个小时 (we know 要 here means 'must' because we know she is ordered to jog every day)

Side note:

Depend on the context 要 can also mean 'going to' :

Example:

我明天要上班 -- I have to work tomorrow (you will go to work because you have to/ want to)

我要杀了他 -- I will kill him (you will kill him because you have to/ want to)

Since 'everyday' indicates the action is in past perfect continuous tense, '都要' in "每天早上她都要慢跑一个小时" doesn't indicate a future tense 将要 (going to)

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  • I found that you always tried to use English grammar to explain Chinese without noticing the differences between the two. That's why I have taken issue with many of your answer (I really feel sorry for that!). – dan Jul 6 at 22:56
  • Ok, i see what is going on there. To me, I'm here for fun. I might not be a good contributor to this site. I just do what I feel right here without noticing the rules in this site. In my opinion, if we want to attract more users to this site, we'd better have more tolerance. We don't want to set up a perfect set of rules but end up with no users. lol. Anyways, I'm not interested in those rules. Sorry! lol – dan Jul 6 at 23:35
  • I also have issues with many of your answers that I strongly disagree with. When it happens, I just tell myself that we are from different part of the country, and might not have the same understanding on some issues, I would just present my explanation in my own answer, and let the readers decide whom to believe. I hope you can do that too and stop insisting one of us must be right or wrong – Tang Ho Jul 6 at 23:42
  • Sure, ok, we just live in our own small rooms. lol – dan Jul 6 at 23:54

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