Hello I start learning Chinese since not long, after I fell in love with the Expanse book series. (Chinese explorers are one of the first to colonise Mars planet).

I studied that 在 and 着 are particles for describing the action is in progress, happening continuously.

For example:

我在开车 "I'm driving"

我坐着吃饭 "I eat sitting" (maybe I eat while sitting?)

I also studied that the negation 没 makes some particles disappear, for example 了 and 着, but not 在.

我吃了饭 -> 我没吃饭

我吃着饭 -> 我没吃饭 (same as above!)

我在吃饭 -> 我没在吃饭

My question: if 在 and 着 are for action in progress, why the negation 没 must remove 着 and not 在?

And how do native speakers know the difference in 我没吃饭, how do you know without negation if it is 我吃了饭 or 我吃着饭?

Thank you very much!

  • 我吃了飯 is past sentence which means I have eaten. 我吃著飯 means I am eating. Aug 30 '20 at 1:03
  • 沒 and 著 can work together. e.g. 我沒看著他. 我沒坐著吃飯. 我沒聽著歌做事. 他沒拿著筷子怎麼吃火鍋? Aug 30 '20 at 1:14

The negation for 我吃着饭 should be 我没在吃饭 or 我不在吃饭, not 我没吃饭. You should change 着 to 在 when you turn the sentence to a negative one.

With this clarified, I think your confusion can be removed. Otherwise, let me know.

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