Recently, working through a popular Chinese textbook, the usage of 才 contrasted with 就 came up in the context of the dialog:
A: 我一个月就回来了 (I'll return in a month -- i.e the time will go by quickly)
B. 什么”就”回来，你一个月”才”回来。 (i.e. no, it will be a *whole* month until you return)
Looking for other examples of usage of 才 did not really help it all click for me too much.
It seems to sometimes be used to indicate something is later than expected:
他九点钟才来 (He didn't come until 9 o'clock.).
一直到中午才散会 (The meeting didn't end until noon)
In other cases, it seems to be used to say something happened earlier than expected:
这孩子才五岁，已经认得不少字了 (The boy is only five, but he has already learned quite a few characters)
他们结婚才一年就分开了 (They separated after only one year's marriage)
I'm hoping it's actually not as complicated as I'm making it :-). If this has been covered in a podcast already, I haven't found it yet. Thanks for any help on this topic.
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