I'm working on a lexicon for the main Chinese characters, and I only have a few words to give a meaning. I am wondering about the two main significations of the character 过.
All dictionaries online give the meaning for the 4th tone, before giving the use as time marker with the neutral tone (after the verb refering to a past event, that past event must have completed; or that an action has taken place, but does not continue up to the present).

Where find statistics of usage concerning that character, the use as time marker looks like very common, maybe more than used with the fourth tone.

2 Answers 2


● 过(過)[guo ; ㄍㄨㄛ]

  1. 用在动词后表示曾经或已经:看~。用~。

  2. 用在动词后,与“来”、“去”连用,表示趋向:拿~来。走~去。

The above is listed by "汉典", but I doubt it is commonly pronounced that way (first tone) in daily conservation.

  • " I doubt it is commonly used in daily conservation " my doubt is the opposite ! we aren't go forward without other elements :-( maybe a Chinese corpus, a search in this corpus of 过, and count when it is used after a verb ?
    – faure
    Feb 7, 2023 at 13:52
  • @faure being after a verb has nothing to do with the very specific use of certain auxilary definitions. please don't equate them together to avoid confusion.
    – zagrycha
    Feb 7, 2023 at 22:22
  • @zagrycha The OP was interested in knowing the uses of 过 when it is pronounced with a neutral tone rather than the 4th tone commonly shown in the dictionaries.
    – r13
    Feb 7, 2023 at 22:59
  • @zagrycha Thank you to warn readers, you are right :-) just in this case we can reasonably conclude that if 过 comes immediately after a verb (without object) it is pronunced guo (neutral tone) and means " refering to a past event, that past event must have completed; or that an action has taken place, but does not continue up to the present " as an " experienced action marker ". But this doesn't help for the question :-) what should help is a free Chinese corpus, or any information about frequency frequency of use of the character in this usage.
    – faure
    Feb 8, 2023 at 1:47
  • 1
    @faure I disagree with the assumption that every time a verb is followed by 过 to be this type of marker. for example the also very common meaning of "over/exceed" is often right after the verb. There are other such uses of unrelated definitions. Also, keep in mind that even when it is a marker in neutral tone it may not mean this: it could be referencing a change in direction, movement from one side to another, etc. Please keep these thoughts in mind, sorry I have no idea how to get the statistics you desire on its usage in different definitions.
    – zagrycha
    Feb 8, 2023 at 7:00

This is another character with many common uses, both solo or together with other characters.

I would recommend going with the first use of the dictionary again, since there are so many.

this would be "go through/pass(a place/time/action/process)"

Used as a marker for things you've experienced is also common, and other uses. But once again we are choosing one to choose one. I do think it is usually guò unless a very specific type of verb auxilary.

some pleco examples:

过河 cross a river

过草地 pass through a grassland

过生日 pass the time of (have take place) one's birthday

假期过 pass the time of (have take place) one's vacation

稿子再过 go through the process of another draft (of a paper etc.)

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