I want to say that I studied mandarin for 3 months last summer (and have not studied since then) but am confused about about sentence order and 了 placement

Is 下个暑假我学了三个月汉语 correct?

If I wanted to add in that I studied in Shanghai would 在上海 go before 学了 (下个暑假我在上海学了三个月汉语)?

Thank you!!

  • "last summer" is 上个暑假, so you can say 上个暑假我学了三个月汉语 and 上个暑假我在上海学了三个月汉语.
    – dan
    Oct 12, 2020 at 11:00

4 Answers 4


"下个暑假我学了三个月汉语" has two problems.

First, "下个暑假" is next summer, not last. If it's next summer, "了" , as a resultative verb suffix, should not be there, since the action cannot have been completed yet. The correct time is "上个暑假" or better still, "去年夏天". since you never indicated that it's during the summer vacation, so I would simply say "夏天", summer.

Second, "我学了三个月汉语" tells me you learned Chinese for three months. And most people would understand it to be a continuous three months, unless you specify that it's off and on, just like you would in an English sentence. I would add an adverb of manner "斷續" before the verb to indicate it is off and on.


If you want to add an adverb of place, then it will come before the verb.


  • A thought the discontinuous nature of their studying was implied by the fact that they only studied for 3 months, several months ago. Is there really that big of a difference between studying on and off for 3 months and studying for 3 months? Oct 13, 2020 at 1:51
  • But that's what the OP asks. See the subject line: how to say I studied for 3 months (not continuous). "Not continuous" means off and on.
    – monalisa
    Oct 13, 2020 at 4:43
  • And yet the very next sentence says "I want to say that I studied mandarin for 3 months last summer (and have not studied since then)", saying that you did something last year and haven't done it since then makes the act not continuous Oct 13, 2020 at 5:40
  • I think OP should clarify, whether their studying over that 3 month time frame was uninterrupted or not is a separate matter since the act of them not studying since last summer makes the action discontinuous Oct 13, 2020 at 5:42
  • 1
    @小奥利奥 Now that I've re-read the question more carefully, I do understand your point. When I wrote my answer, I was too focused on the subject line, and was even wondering why nobody picked up on the "not continuous" part. Haha. If the OP had written "discontinued", it would have been much clearer. Anyhow, now the OP knows how to say "on and off" as well. I hope that's a good thing. :)
    – monalisa
    Oct 13, 2020 at 22:51


The "when" must come at the beginning of the sentence, either before or after the subject and before the verb phrase.

The duration must come after the verb phrase.

See my answer here for clarification on where to place 在.


Last summer should be translated into 去年夏天 or 上个夏天. The first translation is more commonly used in China. 夏天 is a general term for summer (the season) while 暑假 refers specifically to the summer holidays. In China, we will normally express the sentence as 去年夏天我学了三个月的汉语. If you would like to add the location, you can say 去年夏天我在上海学了三个月的汉语.


Last summer in Shanghai I studied Chinese language for 3 months, but since then, alas, I have not studied it anymore.


I'm so lazy!

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