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I can't figure out when to use these words. It seems to me that both of them mean that the action has completed. And yet one of them means a "positive" result.

6 Answers 6

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Since you didn't bring in specific questions, below are my random thoughts.

In general, "好" is an adjective that means "good", or "okay", such as "學生 - good student", "很 - very good", or simply " - okay/good". Note, "好" is a noun after a possessive pronoun, "別忘了他的好 - don't forget his goodness".

When used as a verb, the pronunciation of "好" changes from the third tone (hǎo,ㄏㄠˇ) to the fourth (hào,ㄏㄠˋ), as in "他很動 - he likes to move around a lot", "她很哭 - she likes to cry a lot = she cries a lot", and "他很事 - he likes to stir up troubles, or he likes to mind others business".

"好了", as suggested by "了" in the end, means completion of the act specified by the leading verb, or a change of state. For instance:

  • 車子修(v)好了 - the car is fixed.

  • 作業做(v)好了 - the homework is done/completed.

"好了" as, or in a phrase:

  • 好了. - Enough.

  • 太好了 - great or good beyond expectation.

  • 不好了 - bad news or something (bad) has happened.

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  • thanks, yes, I didn't give a clear example, excuse me.I had this question because I didn't understand the difference between 她穿了 I don't remember the full sentence, but there was 她穿好了。。and my question is what is the difference between this and 他穿了。。
    – Tatiana
    Oct 27, 2022 at 14:47
  • 她穿了...means "she wears a (red jacket/shirt)," at the time of the event. 她穿好了 means "she has finished dressing", 好 means completion/done of the act "穿", which is understandable as putting on something wearable, such as cloth, shoes, sox... the complete sentence would be "她穿好(衣服/鞋子/襪子)了". Hope this helps.
    – r13
    Oct 27, 2022 at 16:25
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好 before a verb can indicate the verb itself is satisfying. The simple 好吃 as an example: (the food is) satisfying to eat.

好 after a verb can show that the verb is completed satisfactorily. This version is usually combined with 了 which also shows completion (note that 好了 with no verb can mean something is ready etc.) An example: 他做好了 He does his work well.

Also note that this can also be used in the negative, but you don't ever use 了 for negative completion. Example: 他做不好。 His work is unsatisfactory.

好 has many meanings and not all of the times it is around a verb or 了 will fit these two uses, but this should help clarify what you're talking about.

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    means , 好 shows a satisfactory shade, and 了 completion of the action. But in the sentence 他穿好了...how can i translate? She dressed well ?
    – Tatiana
    Oct 26, 2022 at 17:46
  • @Tatiana A translation could be "he is dressed properly" or it could also just saying "he is done dressing". (as I mentioned 好了 on its own instead vs connected to 穿)Note that both would be acceptable to just translate as "he is dressed" unless the context of the difference mattered. Context is most important with these subtle differences.
    – zagrycha
    Oct 26, 2022 at 22:02
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Actually 好 and 好了 all have different expressions in many scenarios. Could you provide some example sentences (such as: in this sentence ***, you don't know which one to choose)? Then you will be told how to use them and why.

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  • excuse me, but I can’t find this sentence anymore, I only remember what was there 她穿好了 (Maybe clothes )。。and then I immediately had a question why it added 好。。
    – Tatiana
    Oct 27, 2022 at 14:56
  • If only for this scenario, 她穿好了外套 can be treat as "present perfect tense", emphasize the "finished", may in a context like "some people are waiting her wearing jackets and then go out", whereas 她穿了外套 can be treat as "past simple tense or present simple tense", emphasize what she wore, may in a context like "some people are talking about the wearing".
    – Havier
    Oct 27, 2022 at 22:16
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I am not trying to confuse you, but life is just not always black or white. There is no 1 rule governing all possible uses of 好、好了。Don't waste your time searching for it!

You can modify the following sentences according to the () and the sentences are still acceptable.

他已穿戴好了,包括鞋子。(can remove 了)
He was fully dressed, including shoes.

你要是不懂,尽管问好了。(can remove 好了)
If there is something you don't understand, don't hesitate to ask.

她倚在门上,上好了门闩。(can remove 了)
She leaned against the door and slid the door bolt closed.

他已事先写好了答案。(can remove 了)
He prepared his answers beforehand.

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If these words are used alone,

好means "good", Express praise and positive meaning.

好了meas "It is done". Indicates the completion of the action.

Just like that.

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for the meaning of "done", better to mentally structure like (((V)好)了), so that the problem is mostly about usage of 了.

you could say 做好了,做好之后xxx,做好没?,做好也不够,做好是xxx的前提,先做好再说,把这件事做好. in these cases, you may append 了 for most of them, but in some certain cases it might be considered extraneous. without 了, it'll mostly sound like "to finish something, to do something well" where the phrase could be used as a noun.

here 好 is in the same place as 起 in 拿起、提起、唱起 and 下 in 放下、坐下, also 完 which is similar to 好. 趋向补语:来、去、进、出、上、下、回、过、起、开……

barely saying 好了(好了吗?没好!)is a special usage, or say here 好 is being used as a verb itself, although it also means generally done.

(尽管、干脆、还是)V好了 is a totally different usage, not related to "done" at all. mentally structured like ((尽管(V))好了), 好了 is grouped special word.

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