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I just spent an hour of class trying to figure out the difference between: "这辆车几乎 撞 到我了" and "这辆车几乎 要撞 到我了". The only differnence is 几乎要 and not 几乎. The teacher kept saying something about "emphasizing a process" but I still don't know what she was talking about. They both mean that I was almost hit by a car. In neither sentence was I hit by the car. It doesn't mean I am about to be hit by a car. What does 要 add to this idea?
Thanks!

4 Answers 4

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这辆车 几乎 撞到我了 = This car almost hit me

这辆车 要 撞到我了 = This car is about to hit me

这辆车 几乎要 撞到我了 = This car was about to hit me

Both "almost" and "about to" describe "close to". Using both emphasize "close to"

几乎撞到 is in the past tense

要撞到 is in the future tense

几乎要撞到 make it past tense again

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  • This answer is similar to that of @Pedroski, though different (but not necessarily contradictory) from that of user36132. That is, 几乎撞到我了 appears to be in the perfective aspect, while 几乎要撞到我了 is imperfective in aspect with an additional emphasis on emotional impact. Is this the correct way to look at it? Or, is it only the emotional emphasis that changes (or, conversely, only the aspect that changes)? May 26, 2023 at 17:25
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几乎要 = 几乎就要 emphasizes the nearness/closeness of the described event/experience:

  • 这辆车 几乎 撞到我了 = This car almost hit me.

  • 这辆车 几乎要 撞到我了 = This car is almost about to hit me.

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You can get tied up in time traps. An event: knocked into me nearly happened, but didn't. Is that then in the past? Or anywhere in time?

More context would clarify the situation.

almost: the greater part of something

1. 这辆车几乎撞到我了。
   That car almost knocked into me.
2. 这辆车几乎(将)要撞 到我了。
   That car was on the verge of knocking into me. (You took some evasive action?)

将要:即将; 用在动词前面,表示行为或情况在不久以后发生;
即将:on the verge of; used in front of a verb, expresses an action or situation will happen very soon

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In my understanding, the only difference between "几乎撞到我了" and "几乎要撞到我了" lies in the fact that the former is an objective narration, while the latter carries your subjective judgment and emotions. With the latter, you believe that the accident was unavoidable. So the former is used to recount your previous experience to others, and the latter phrase is usually used when arguing with the driver.

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