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I have been taught that the sentence 我刚到了 (wǒ gāng dào le) is not correct because 了 cannot be used as a complement of 到. Is this right? If so, why?

  • Hello ncasas, I removed the "strong" tags because characters this way are thinner and therefore, ironically, more visible. :) – Alenanno Jan 9 '12 at 20:02
  • Can you provide some context, e.g., the conversation setting? – Terry Li Jan 9 '12 at 21:22
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我刚到了 is perfectly understandable in oral communication. Your teacher probably thinks this is verbose because:

刚 = just

了 = already

我刚到了 = I just arrived already

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Before you provide more context, I would say this could be perfectly understood by people except that it might not sound that natural.

Depending on the context, you would prefer to say:

我刚到

or

我到了

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    How about sentences like 他到了没有?, 你看到了没有,?他什么时候到了? etc. These all sound natural to me? Is it only in the context of "刚到" that using 了 sounds unnatural? If so why? – going Jan 9 '12 at 21:50
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    @xiaohouzi79 I guess it has to do with 刚,which in this case means just (arrived). On the other hand, 了 indicates have arrived (complete tense). So I believe you are right, 刚 makes it unnatural. By the way, 他什么时候到了? sounds unnatural to my ears. – Terry Li Jan 9 '12 at 23:31
  • For 他什么时候到了 how about if an old friend has been in the country for a couple of months and you only just heard about it and you want to ask when they arrived? I thought it should be 他什么时候到悉尼? When will she be arriving in Sydney and 他什么时候到悉尼了? When did she arrive in Sydney? Can this second sentence be shortened to 他什么时候到了? when used in context? Or can you suggest a better alternative I should use? Thanks! – going Jan 9 '12 at 23:45
  • @xiaohouzi79 You should say 他什么时候到的悉尼 instead. In other words, replace 了 with 的. – Terry Li Jan 10 '12 at 0:35
  • Dunno. My southwestern friends put "ne" after just about every present-tense sentence, and "le" after ever past-tense sentence. One calls it a "go" word (as in: every sentence needs a word at the end to "go" ). Sure it's redundant, but bejeezus, just about all modern written Chinese has redundancy, given that one character words would often suffice where dual-character words are used today. – Mark Gerolimatos May 23 '17 at 6:34

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