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This is a HSK5 mock exam question from 新HSK5应试指南:

男:这两天怎么不见老王出来早锻炼啊?
女:别提了。昨天他们同学聚会,他兴奋得前一天一晚上没睡着,昨天早上才四点就起床了。结果今天累得爬不起来了。
问:关于老王,可以知道什么?
(original)

The given answer is:

(A) 很期待同学聚会
(B) 每天都坚持早锻炼
(C) 今天锻炼得太累了
(D) 这两天身体不太舒服
(original)

I chose D thinking 老王 has a hangover after partying too hard yesterday (after all, today he is 累得爬不起来了), which was incorrect. Their explanation as to why A is correct is:

老王因为同学聚会而兴奋得睡不着,可见很期待这次聚会。
(original)

I neither see why my chosen answer is incorrect, nor why the given answer is sensical. What's throwing me off here is the word 期待:

CC-CEDICT: 期待 (qī​dài​): to look forward to / to await / expectation

My understanding is that 期待 refers to something in the future, not in the past. In the question, we hear that the 同学聚会 occurred 昨天 (yesterday).

Question: Why does Lao Wang look forward to the student party when the party happened yesterday?

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  • There's a missing character and typo in the first quotation: "他兴奋得一天一晚上没睡 ()", which are both important information. I can't edit it because "Edits must be at least 6 characters". Jul 3 at 1:51
  • 他兴奋得一天一晚上没睡觉 can be fixed by changing it to 他兴奋得一晚没睡觉 (he was so excited, he didn't sleep the entire night)
    – Tang Ho
    Jul 3 at 1:57
  • Thanks! That's just me being a bit careless: it should match the original textbook.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Jul 3 at 1:59
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期待 is a verb. One thing you have to remember about Chinese grammar is, it doesn't have tense

期待 can be 'look forward to' or 'looked forward to'

Example: 抗战初期,人们都期待着其他国家的帮助(但誰都没有来) - In the early days of the war against Japanese invasion, people looked forward to the help of other countries (but no one came )

BTW, the reason 老王 couldn't get up early was not he looked forward to the student party, it was he got up too early yesterday, tired himself out, and couldn't recover even today

  • Looked forward to the student party caused him to get up early yesterday

  • got up early yesterday caused him to be tired and couldn't get up early today

My understanding is that 期待 refers to something in the future

The future of the past can also be the past of the present

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This question was asking how much we know about 老王 from the short conversation.

A is fine, as "昨天他们同学聚会,他兴奋得前一天一晚上没睡着" told us that 老王 was so excited about, and even lost sleep over the reunion party, this fact indicated he expected the reunion party very much - 很期待同学聚会. Note this answer does not mean 老王 expects the party at any specific date, but from the conversation, there is only one such event which is yesterday, so it is acceptable.

B is also fine because the question "这两天怎么不见老王出来早锻炼啊?" indicated that 老王 came to the morning exercise routinely but has missed yesterday and today. However, from the short conversation, we couldn't determine whether 每天都坚持 (means every day without interruption) is true or not. So this answer shouldn't be selected for the uncertainty.

Answer C is incorrect because 老王 hasn't shown up today, how could he get tired from the exercise he has not performed.

Answer D is also incorrect because it does not fit the storyline. He can be tired from getting up early yesterday morning for the party and getting late to bed last night for overstay in the party, but he couldn't feel sick, at least for yesterday, though sickness could be part of the reason he got up late this morning. So 这两天, means today and yesterday, couldn't be right, at least, couldn't be certain.

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There's no past tense in Chinese, so the answer 很期待同学聚会 means 老王 looked forward to the party the day before yesterday.

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昨天他们同学聚会,他兴奋得前一天一晚上没睡着。

Yesterday (i.e. one day ago), they had a classmate party, and he was too excited in the evening one day before (i.e. two days ago) to fall asleep.

"Yesterday" (one day ago) was the future of "two days ago". Two days ago, he looked forward to the party one day ago.

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