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This question example is from the book "HSK Standard Course 1 (2014)". According to the Chinese Grammar Wiki:

When time, place, manner, or purpose are specified in a sentence, 了 can be used immediately after the verb to indicate completion.

Because of the time specification 昨天上午, I've thought that it would also be possible to put 了 after the verb, so that the question becomes 昨天上午你去了哪儿?. Would it still be considered correct? Does this sound natural at all?

3 Answers 3

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There are a few variations depending on the structure of the sentence, but generally speaking we can say that the particle 了 can be used in two different ways:

了 after the verb (了1)

It indicates completion of the verb's action.

昨天上午你去哪儿?

The "completion" of the action indicated by the verb 去 means that the subject actually got to be at the place in question.

了 at the end of the sentence (了2)

It indicates that a change occurred.

昨天上午你去哪儿

The "change" occurred might be, for example, related to the fact that the subject was seen, unexpectedly or unusually, leaving the office in the morning.

Both 了1 and 了2

We could also use both 了1 and 了2 in the same sentence, indicating completion and change.

昨天上午你去哪儿

Your question

Is it possible to put 了 in 昨天上午你去哪儿了?after the verb 去 instead at the end?

Yes, it is, but the meaning would be different.

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  • You mention that the meaning can be different. Can you indicate what the different meanings are for the three scenarios in this case? Mar 11, 2022 at 16:03
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    @2ndQuantized I'm sorry that the meaning of "completion" and "change" was not clear enough. Please see my edit. I wish it's clear now. Mar 11, 2022 at 19:06
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I don't know the Nothern dialect, but in standard mandarin, 昨天上午你去了哪裡/什麼地方? is perfectly fine, as "了" can be placed at the end of the sentence indicating occurrence or completion, it can also be placed in between the verb and its object.

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i'm a chinese from the south of china. Here is the thing: 1.Basically,了 implies something you've done or finished. 2.去 means like go 去了 means have gone

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