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It is from my correct-the-sentence exercise.

我终于快到中国了。

I asked a Chinese, he said that this sentence is understandable.

In my opinion, "终于" seems redundant. If not, the original sentence should be put in a particular context to be understood, e.g it expresses the eagerness of a person after a long time away from China.

Please tell me your opinion on this sentence, does it need to be corrected?

  • I think 終於 is just a emotion word to express, like Oh, "finally" found you the finally worked. So you could add it if you are expected for a long time. – 高鵬翔 Jul 29 at 3:17
  • This sentence sounds fine to me. It means you managed to overcome all the obstacles, or it's been a long time in an airplane, and now you are about to arrive in China. – Just a learner Jul 30 at 13:50
  • @Just a learner The problem is as long as you haven't arrived in China yet, you can say "finally, I am about to arrive in China soon" as many times as you like. That renders the word 'finally' meaningless. – Tang Ho Jul 30 at 13:57

11 Answers 11

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我快到中国了。 I will arrive in China soon (O)

我终于到中国了。 I finally arrived in China (O)

我终于快到中国了。I finally arrive in China soon (?)

'finally' refers to the present or past events (you cannot say 'I finally arrive tomorrow'), while 'soon' referring to the upcoming events (future). These two words are conflicting with each other

Some said 我终于快到中国了 is understandable. In that case, 终于 would act as an exclamation (not adverb) -- "我终于快到中国了" could be interpreted as "Finally, I will arrive in China soon!"

does it need to be corrected?

To avoid confusion, you should change it to '我快到中国了' or '我终于到中国了'

If you really want to use 终于 as an exclamation, you should say '我终于, 快到中国了'

There's another reason I don't like this sentence. It is like counting chickens before they hatch. Imagine, someone saying "Finally, I am going to be promoted soon" before he actually got the promotion, and ended up didn't get it?

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6

If you put it into Baidu "我终于快到中国了", you'll see Chinese people sporadically use this sentence. Nevertheless, I believe the intended issue is the mismatch between:

  1. 终于 = "at last" (or "finally") implying the event is complete.
  2. 快到 = "soon arrive in" implying the event is incomplete.

In fact, the same question was asked on a Sina blog, where the answer given was:

终于常常暗示一件事情有了结果;快……了则这件事情还没完。
终于 often hints [at how we] finally have a conclusion, whereas 快……了 indicates it hasn't finished.

The Sina blog also includes corrected sentences: 我终于到中国了 (without 快) or 我快到中国了 (without 终于). They also include some skepticism about the sentence being incorrect.

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  • The blogger seems to have doubt about the answer. – fefe Jul 29 at 3:28
  • I think 终于 will be more distinguishable from 快到 if the former is termed "at last" rather than "finally", because the context of the sentence as a whole connotes that 终于 here implied putting in a lot of effort which "finally", (completion), does not quite convey. This suggestion would solve the troublesome dichotomous relationship between 终于, (if termed "finally", complete), & 快到, ("arriving soon", incomplete) – Wayne Cheah Jul 29 at 3:44
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No, I think there is no need to correct this. It is totally understandable and acceptable. I interpret the meaning of sentence 我终于快到中国了 as "finally, I nearly arrive China."

There is no need to modify the sentence however if you want you can. After omit 终于 the sentence still complete, understandable and acceptable. I interpret the meaning of sentence 我快到中国了 as "I nearly arrive China."

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4

The sentence is good.

"终于" in Chinese grammar wiki:

终于 (zhōngyú) expresses that something has finally happened after a long wait. Usually the speaker is looking forward to what is happening at long last, and thus, 终于 (zhōngyú) typically carries a sense of joy or relief.

"终于" by itself can convey the meaning of "a long wait" (implicitly). You do not have to add extra context to express the long wait explicitly.


《现代汉语词典》gives the definition of 终于 as:

副词,表示经过种种变化或等待之后出现的情况

adverb, used to a situation that occur after various changes or wait

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3

我终于快到中国了。

This is an interesting question. Technically, there is nothing wrong with the sentence.

终于 is usually to imply that one is waiting or expecting something for a long time and it finally comes. What's one expecting in 我终于快到中国了? It's 快到中国了(arrive at China soon). In practice, I couldn't imagine one has been waiting for a long time just to "nearly arrive the place he likes so much", instead of "arrive at it already".

So, my conclusion is that the sentence isn't wrong grammatically, but it doesn't seem to make much sense in practice if you think deep. I'd suggest correcting it.

PS. In correct-the-sentence exam, we'd expect to correct not only grammatical mistakes but logical or practical ones.

However, colloquially, we often hear 终于要到了;终于快到了; We may say this when we are in an airplane and have a long flight already and finally it will land soon.

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2

the most common 2 cases: 我终于到中国了 i finally arrived to China. 我快到中国了 i will arrive china soon.

so the first one means the action is done, you arrived. the second one means the action still going on, you still need to travel.

Usually we dont combine these 2 states together, and we usually seperate them in below's fashion: 我终于快到中国了 => 终于,我快到中国了 finally, I will arrive to china soon. (maybe you trapped in a traffic jam or something and finally you can move now)

so to me it is correct, though a little bit un-common, but we understand the sentence.

So if you are required to correct the sentence, you can choose either way: 我终于到中国了 我快到中国了

Here is another sentence for you to correct, and it has the same problem as your question.

这事情几乎已经完成了。

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2

我终于快到中国了

I think this sentence is understandable, but it has a little difference with:

我快到中国了

and

我终于到中国了

Let me explain why. First start with the simple one.

我快到中国了 ----> I will arrive in China soon.

This means you are out of China, and will arrive soon. In this time, you are in a peace mode. But If you use 我快到中国啦!, this may indicate you are excited.

我终于到中国了 ----> Finally, I arrived in China.

This means you are now in China. Also, this sentence means maybe you are blocked when you are trying to enter China, or some other reason, but you finally made it. Some similar sentence like "I finally worked the issue out. 我终于把这个问题解决了"

Second, combine the two together.

我终于快到中国了 ----> Finally, I will arrive in China soon. (Maybe my translation is not right.)

This also means you are still not in China, but you have some trouble while trying to enter China. For example, a Chinese is in US, he is trying to fly to China. But some policy don't allow him to fly to China directly. He has to fly to Australia first, and then fly to Thailand, and then to China. So when he is arriving in China, he can say "我终于快到中国了", with tears running.

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我终于快到中国了

I would translate this sentence as:

I eventually reached the time point that I would arrive in China soon.

Seems redundant, doesn't it? So most people would just say:

终于到中国了 -> Finally, I arrived in China

or

到中国了 -> I will soon arrive in China

As you can see, the word "终于" tends to imply past tense while "快" implies future tense. When they come together, it sounds a bit weird. However, Chinese language doesn't strictly follow the grammatical rules (especially when it comes to tenses) so it is also quite reasonable that your friend thought this sentence is understandable.

Personally, as an ordinary native-speaker (not a teacher), I would say that this sentence sounds a bit weird and would lead to some kind of ambiguity.

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Finally, I'm about to arrive at China.

There's nothing fundamentally wrong about this sentence, it's just the scenario that this sentence can fit perfectly into, rarely exists. I can think of one example, that you are on a plane to China, there's still some time till landing, say 2 hours, you're so excited that you want to share this excitement with people sit next to you when you say: "Finally, I'm about to arrive at China.".

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  • I'm a native Chinese speaker and I found this answer pretty decent. Why down vote it? Just because he's a new user? – Just a learner Jul 30 at 13:40
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I don't think there's much ambiguity here.

Consider this scenario: you had a hard week at work and it's Friday morning. You have one day left before you're done for the week. You want to express your eagerness to get this over with so you say "This week is finally about to be over. / 这周终于快结束了。"

I would say the simultaneous usage of "终于" and "快" implies a context of eagerness by itself.

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-2

no grammar problem, but it would be making much sense with "我终于快到达中国了". Since you are expressing "I'm finally arriving in China". Use "到达-arrive" instead of "到-come".

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