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This is on page 11 of the textbook New Practical Chinese Reader Textbook 5 (photo of original, p.11, #8):

他毕业以后很快 _____ 找到了一个理想的工作。

And the given options for the blank are 才, 可, or 便. Now I think it should be left empty, and I discussed it with ChatGPT, and ChatGPT also thinks it should be left empty.

The textbook chapter discussed 便, so I'm guessing that's the answer, but it feels awkward. I don't like 才 since it seems to contradict the use of 很快. I can't justify excluding 可.

Question: Should the blank be filled with 才, 可, or 便?

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    他毕业以后很快 _就_找到了一个理想的工作 is probably better than the other three, IMHO.
    – Nobody
    Oct 26, 2023 at 4:59
  • 这题呀,我是中国人,就填便。为什么?没有为什么。便的意思是“于是就”。😁
    – Lts Leo
    Oct 26, 2023 at 23:32
  • Although many people answer 就, I prefer 便. No difference between them. 才 is different. If it takes a long time to find a job, you use 才.
    – joehua
    Oct 27, 2023 at 0:16
  • I've put this question under protection based on the number of low-quality responses here (4/10 answers here say basically the same thing).
    – dROOOze
    Oct 29, 2023 at 8:59

10 Answers 10

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When I saw the sentence and not seeing the answer options yet, my first thought was 就 because "... 很快就..." normally goes together.

Seeing the options, and 就 is not there, it seems some strategic reasoning is needed.

So, assuming one is uncertain, a course of "worst-option elimination" exercise is required.

First, consider 才 in the sense of "only" / "just"

If this is the correct option, then the sentence would need to read, 他毕业以后很久才找到了一个理想的工作 So, 才 is out.

How about 可?

At first glance 可 is not too far off, as it expresses an ability to obtain an objective, which in this case is to get a job, any job.

But the sentence says, 理想的工作, meaning something more than just obtaining a job, but a job which is desirable or ideal.

Now, 便 has the added quality of not just something coming your way, but also "easily" and "conveniently", which also fits in with 很快, (quickly).

So, between 可 and 便, I would opt for 便 as the safer bet.

Someone said to leave out all options altogether. Yes, but as an examination exercise, that option is therefore out because there is no "None of the above" option.

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Both leaving blank and inserting 便 are correct.

In formal writing, 便 can be used as an equivalent of 就 or 即使. See 现代汉语词典第7版 p.81

不是刮风,便是下雨(= 不是刮风,就是下雨)

没有他的帮忙,任务便无法完成(= 任务就无法完成)

便是再大的困难,也能克服(= 即使有再大的困难)

可 is usually used to express capability or possibility, it is usually not followed by a 了 sentence. In oral language we say 可把我急死了 (= 我急死了) or 可愁死我了 (= 我愁死了), but that's clearly not the usage here.

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Yes, you can skip the conjunction and the sentence still makes sense, but with a conjunction, the sentence would be easier to read (avoid run-on sentences) and the meaning of the sentence would slightly change.

便 is the correct choice here. It serves the same function as 就, which connects the two phrases by indicating the second phrase occurs shortly after or immediately after the first phrase happened

Example of conjunctions that affect the sentence :

我回家洗澡 - I go home to take a shower

我回家[便/就]洗澡 - I take a shower shortly after I get home/ I take a shower as soon as I get home

他毕业以后很快 _____ 找到了一个理想的工作

You can skip 便/就 here because 很快 (quickly) already indicated "soon after".

If the sentence is: "他毕业以后找到了一个理想的工作" then you need 便 or 就 to indicate it happened very soon, not a year or a few years later

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Language is not written in stone. (Well maybe sometimes!) And there is always more than 1 way to kill a cat.

That said, I think, if you ask 100 Chinese people, 99 would say, "Use 就." But otherwise 便 would do.

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  • Yes, I am one of the 99, so +1. But, please don't kill a cat.
    – Nobody
    Oct 26, 2023 at 8:59
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(1) 他毕业以后很快找到了一个理想的工作. emphasizes the words 很快 and 了. It contrasts 过了很久找到工作 or 过了很久还没有找到工作. In the two sentences, you do not use the word 了.

(2) 他毕业以后很快便找到了一个理想的工作. It is very close to (1). Here 便 indicates a subsequent result. For example, 接到妈妈的电话,他便回家了. He went home as soon as he received his mom's phone call.

(3) 他毕业以后很快找到一个理想的工作. means a probability. You could not use the word 了.

(4) 他毕业以后很久找到一个理想的工作. With the word , you can only say 很久, but not 很快. Here is a negative adverb in a positive statement, which means something was not as good as originally expected. For example, 这么晚了,你才来呀。You indeed come, but it is very late.

The answer to your question is (2) 便. (才, 可, or 便).

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Well, if you have to choose one from 才, 可, 便 to complete the sentence, the only choice is 便. 可 makes no sense here, and 才 doesn't fit.

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'可' is not an option here, it just does not work.

'才' does not make sense because you said '很快', if you want to express 'he finally landed his first job, it was 2 years later after his graduation', you can say '他终于找到了他的第一份工作,那是他毕业两年之后了' '他毕业两年之后才找到了他的第一份工作', please notice '才' here.

What about '就' and '便', they both work in general, here is the difference, '就' is more like in casual, in speaking, you can hardly expect '便' in daily conversation between regular, normal people, '便' is preferable for literature, formal, article.

You can replace '就' with '便' almost anywhere, but NO vice versa, i.e.

  • 晴空一鹤排云上 便引诗情到碧霄 - 刘禹锡《秋词》
  • 金风玉露一相逢 便胜却人间无数 - 秦观《鹊桥仙·纤云弄巧》
  • 便纵有千种风情 更与何人说 - 柳永《雨霖铃·寒蝉凄切》
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答案是便

表示很艰难取得的成果

便表示很顺利取得的成果

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可以使用便字。很快和它们连读,很自然很贴切,其它组合都不通顺。

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It's tricky that the character "" in "找到" is usually a sign of perfect tense, and you seldom use "can"("可") with a perfect tense verb except for subjunctive mood.

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  • Would you please provide an example of "use 可 for subjunctive mood?
    – PdotWang
    Oct 27, 2023 at 12:37
  • @PdotWang 他毕业以后本可找到一个理想的工作。He could have found an ideal job after graduation.
    – Bowen Shen
    Oct 30, 2023 at 1:49
  • Thank you for discussing. But I feel that, in your example, the word 本 (本来, 原本) is more important and there usually has another word 但 (但是, 不料).
    – PdotWang
    Oct 30, 2023 at 11:40

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