Questions tagged [past-tense]

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4answers
111 views

How to say I studied for 3 months (not continuous)

I want to say that I studied mandarin for 3 months last summer (and have not studied since then) but am confused about about sentence order and 了 placement Is 下个暑假我学了三个月汉语 correct? If I wanted to add ...
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2answers
95 views

Translating as Past or Present tense

I am translating an excerpt of a Chinese short story. In general, do any indicators in Chinese grammar exist that would require the usage of past tense (in English) instead of present tense? In this ...
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1answer
64 views

What are some examples of stative -le and iterative aspect in Mandarin?

I'm a graduate student studying how bilinguals interpret certain aspectual expressions in Mandarin. I'm currently preparing all of my stimuli, but I'm hoping for some help from native speakers since I'...
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1answer
127 views

What is the etymology of Chinese tense words?

So according to Wikipedia and other sources, Chinese was a tenseless language. It has aspects and moods that refer to time frames, but not tense itself. This suggests to me that the nouns expressing ...
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1answer
42 views

Where should 了 go: 你去了商店买什么衣服? or 你去商店买什么衣服了?

I want to ask, "What clothes did you buy at the store?" Which sentence is correct, or which sounds more correct. 你去了商店买什么衣服? 你去商店买什么衣服了? Where should the 了 go?
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4answers
680 views

Why is 我的朋友今年住在美国 translated to both “my friend [is living in / lived in] America this year”?

Here I am trying to translate two different English sentences to Chinese. "My friend is living in America this year." He is still living in America at the point of stating this fact. Translation :...
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3answers
381 views

How can both 过 (past actions) and 会 (future actions) turn up in 下过雨以后,空气会好很多?

I found this example in a Chinese grammar teaching web. 下过雨以后,空气会好很多。 What I do not understand is: I learn that "过" is used for past actions, "会" = "will" (for future actions). So, how can both 过 ...
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4answers
110 views

If I was fat, and now I'm not, which is better: 我长胖 or 我长胖了 or 我长了胖 or 我长了胖了?

Suppose in the past I was fat, and now I'm no longer fat. I'm wondering which 了 is appropriate: 我长胖 我长胖了 我长了胖 我长了胖了 I don't think we can just leave off the 了. It makes sense to put 了 at the end as ...
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3answers
144 views

了 vs 是…的 as “factuality markers”

I'm a proponent of 了 as 'factuality marker' (that is it has nothing to do with 'perfectivity or completness of action'. See post: How exactly do time and "tense" work in Mandarin REALLY? for ...
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2answers
307 views

Is there any difference between 想, 觉得 and 以为?

想, 觉得,以为 all mean to think. But is there any subtle difference between the three or tense difference? When would you be more likely to use them in context?
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3answers
828 views

How to say “I thought you are…” to a response?

Let's start with an example: A: 你是学生吗? B: 不是,我是老师。 C: I thought you are student! Note that C is a different person from A. In this case, how can I say "I thought..."? I know in Mandarin, ...
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5answers
164 views

Is it correct ot use 以前 in sentence with meaning of future plans 我以前打算去北京?

Is it correct ot use 以前 in sentence with meaning of future plans 我以前打算去北京? 我打算去北京 - I am going to go to Beijing Will it become: 我以前打算去北京 - Before I was going to go to Beijing Or do I need to ...
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2answers
152 views

How to negate an adjective in the past? [duplicate]

How can I negate an adjective in the past? For example: 这是红色的。It is red. 这不是红色的。It's not red. How could I say 'It was not red'? I read somewhere that 没有 only negates action verbs. If that's true, ...
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2answers
175 views

Proper use of 了 in Chinese

For my Chinese language class, I need to go through this practice worksheet and fill out which uses of 了 are correct. However, while I think I know decently when to use 了, I am not sure about some of ...
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2answers
1k views

What is the difference between 没有+V. and 没+V.?

What is the difference between this two constructions: S + 没有 + V and S + 没 + V E.g. 我没有输 and 我没输 As it was mentioned by @user6065 grammars, e.g. 实用现代汉语语法 make no difference between meaning and ...
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7answers
678 views

How exactly do time and “tense” work in Mandarin REALLY?

I am trying to figure out what the most proper way for one to say something simple like if someone asked, "How do you know that?" and then I say, "I read it in a book". Now what I'm wondering about is ...
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2answers
184 views

Can you use 希望 for actions in the past?

For example, if I want to say "I wish I learned Chinese when I was little", is it ok to say "我希望我小的时候学中文"? If not, is there another word I could use instead? Possibly "我最好小的时候学中文"? Or do I need to ...
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5answers
1k views

How do you specify past tense for 是?

For example, 'She was a good teacher' ? Any and all translations I get are '她是好老师'. Is there anyway to indicate past tense explicitly?
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3answers
612 views

Why is there no 了 in 以前我住在这儿

I am used to hearing phrases like this: 我住在这儿 To say "I lived here [before]", however, it seems you can't use 了 at all: 以前我住在这儿 Why is this not "以前我住了在这儿"? Is there a formal reason why 了 is ...
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2answers
403 views

How to translate “I have always been”

I have always struggled with this translation, but have never quite figured it out. How do I translate I have always been ... Some examples would be: I have always been an academic I have always ...
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4answers
3k views

How to say lived vs. have been living somewhere?

I want to say 1) "I lived in Beijing for six months." As in, I was there last year for six months but I am not living there anymore. Furthermore, how can I distinguish it from 2) "I have ...
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1answer
278 views

Learning past tense with Rosetta Stone [duplicate]

I'm learning Chinese using Rosetta Stone and i find 99.9% of the stuff that i encounter while learning to be quite logical. In fact this is the first thing in quite a while that doesn't seem to make ...
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3answers
2k views

Still confused about putting 了 at the end of a sentence or right after the verb

Obviously this question is very similar to When should 了 be after the verb and when should it be at the end of the sentence?. I just wanted you to know that I consulted that before I posted this ...
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7answers
671 views

Is 了 optional when a time word is present?

In sentences that already have a point in time word that indicates that the event happened in the past, is 了 optional? Or could there be some additional meaning with it present? For instance: ...
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3answers
572 views

病了: Function of 了

I came across the following sentence: 我病了。 I know 了 has many functions, and I believe one of them is a completive marker (past tense). But this sentence is apparently in the present, based on the ...
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3answers
234 views

有一天: past as well as future?

I'm told that to express something as "one day" in the future, it's 「有一天」. For example, 「我希望有一天能够说好华语。」"I hope that one day I can speak Chinese well." Would you also use this to the English idiom "...
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3answers
315 views

What's the role of 曾经 in 他曾经在北京学过两年汉语?

In this sentence: 他曾经在北京学过两年汉语。 what's the role of 曾经? I understand that 过 already implies that the action happened in the past.
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3answers
2k views

When should 了 be after the verb and when should it be at the end of the sentence?

In a sentence such as "因为我去面试了,所以我刮了胡子", in one case, 了 is after the sentence, while in the other case it's after the verb, even though in both cases, 了 is used to express the past tense. So how to ...
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2answers
1k views

When to use 了 and when to use 过 to express past actions or events

I kind of have an idea when 了 and 过 should be used but it's mostly on a case by case basis, and I don't know the exact rules. So if I want to express something that happened in the past, when should ...