I came across the following passage in a Taiwanese short story titled 水鬼學校和失去媽媽的水獺.




I’m having trouble understanding how the bold part of the last sentence works and what exactly it means. Does 上月 mean the same as 上個月? If so, why is a time expression like that (like “last month” in English) not used adverbially but as an object of the verb 有? Or is the sentence saying, literally, this case now has “a previous month” and that’s supposed to be interpreted as meaning it has lasted long enough to extend into a new month?

3 Answers 3



Since it's a Taiwanese story and written in the traditional Chinese, it alludes to an old or dialectal use. Its meaning is vague from the modern simplified Chinese perspective. People don't usually say this way nowadays. If someone says it to me, I'd ask for the clarification from the speaker (do you mean 这事情有一个月了吗?).

If I have to digest the meaning, I'd go for: the thing has happened for the amount of time that can be measured by month (which means it can be a month or months). The point is that the time can be measured by the unit of month, so one month is the least criterion.

  • As someone grew up in mainland and was taught Simplified Chinese, I find this word pretty easy to understand. It may be a strange wording to other dialects, but as I'm from 河南 and speaks both 普通话 and 河南话,上月 doesn't seem too strange at all.
    – dvx2718
    Commented May 27, 2023 at 3:50

上 here means "up to".

Same as the in "成千萬" (reach thousand, up to ten thousand) = "great number of"

這事情有上月了,只是這三天很嚴重。= This has been going on up to a month now, and just got serious these three days

有上月了(literary) = 有足足一個月了 (colloquial)

More example


The word is used a lot in the Chinese language. It means "upwards" and extends to many similar means which depends on the context.

In your question, 這事情有上月了,只是這三天很嚴重. The word means that "it reaches as long time as this much (about a month)".

Another example with the word is 這事情是上个月了. The word means "it happened last month.

Both sentences are correct. The word means different things, which depends on the context. 有上月了 and 是上个月 are different.

The other related examples,

(1) 这个传说有上千年的历史了。= This legend has been known for about a thousand years

(2) 他欠了上万元的债。= His debt is up to tens of thousands of dollars.

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