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Say It Right Series

The Final Grammar Result - repost (i.e. Tenses)

Posted by sebire October 28, 2009 in the Group General Discussion.

 

Tags: grammar, sentences, phrases, punctuation,

Posted by xiaophil July 26, 2009 .

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changye says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

Hi xiaophil

I found a few examples of using 着 in the past/future tense shown in some of my grammar books.

(a) 昨天我去找她的时候,她正电话呢。

(b) 昨天傍晚,我坐在湖边落下去的太阳。

(c) 明天你再来的时候,这儿一定会一套家具。

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

Hi changye

I seem to recall studying some examples of the past/future tense using 着 too, but it seems that it seems to be a little hard too predict how to use it in Mandarin, at least from a native English speaker's viewpoint.

好像我也回忆学到些用“着”的将来/过去时的例子,但是说本英文的人的观点来看,好像比较难辨别什么时候能不能用“着”。

Thanks

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orangina says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

xiaophil

thank you so much for this post... very, very helpful

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aaaaz says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

I don't agree with changye

在他的句子中,这个“着”字是可以省略的。

(a) 昨天我去找她的时候,她正电话呢。

(b) 昨天傍晚,我坐在湖边落下去的太阳。

(c) 明天你再来的时候,这儿一定会一套家具。

(a)句子中,有“正”字即可,“着”字比较多余(spilth)

(b)(c)句也是一样

 

用“着”是表示 现在进行时

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lovelygreentea says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

@xiaophil thank you :-)  this is very helpful

and Changye you really know your stuff!!  :-)

 

so much to learn in chinese grammar and I need all the help I can find, thank you to all

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changye says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

Hi xiaophil and aaaz

Thanks a lot for your replies. Maybe I should have said "a few examples of using 着 in the past/future continuous tense" instead of "a few examples of using 着 in the past/future tense".

Precisely speaking, "在看书" is slightly difference (grammatically) from "看着书", for example. "在看书" connotes "action in progress", and “看着书” connotes more of a feeling "continuing of situation/action". "门开着呢" should be a good example of "continuing of situation".

I think the two sentences below basically have the same meaning, and both are correct Chinese.

(a) 昨天我去找她的时候,她正电话呢。
(a)' 昨天我去找她的时候,她正在电话呢。

However, example (b) is clearly different from (b)'. The former implies "I was seeing sunset for some time", but the latter doesn't.

(b) 昨天傍晚,我坐在湖边落下去的太阳。
(b)' 昨天傍晚,我坐在湖边落下去的太阳。

As for example (c), I think the is a must in this sentence. You can't say "这儿一定会摆一套家具" nor "这儿一定会在摆一套家具".

(c) 明天你再来的时候,这儿一定会一套家具。

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

orangina and lovelygreentea

You're welcome (although it was nothing).

 

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

changye

Thank you.  This sentence finally made me understand:

"在看书" connotes "action in progress", and “看着书” connotes more of a feeling "continuing of situation/action".

Actually, last night I was thinking, "How come 空调开着 sounds okay, but 空调在开 just seems wrong."  I think there may be two reasons.  One reason is because of what you said.  The other reason is I feel that when using 在 in conjunction with a verb, there normally is an object. 

Any thoughts on this?

------------------------------------------

谢谢,学到你的句子以后,我终于明白了:

"在看书" connotes "action in progress", and “看着书” connotes more of a feeling "continuing of situation/action".

昨天晚上我想起“为什么好像说‘空调开着’对的,但是‘空调在开’不对的”?我觉得有两个原因。一个是你前面提到的原因。另外的是因为一般来说我觉得用“在”和动词在一起的时候,应该把宾语放在后面。

你觉得怎么样?

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

paulinurus wrote this a couple days ago.  我觉得有的人会发现这戏比较有用。

The word 就 is frequently used in Cpod's diagloues, so I've compiled from 3 grammar books  the different meanings and ways 就 is used in Chinese sentences. There may  be some more meanings and uses of 就 but so far all the Chinese sentences I've come across with 就 fit into one of the following seven categories.

Using 就

jiu4 is an adverb. Its functions:

1. Signal a relationship of sequences between events occurring in a series. It often occurs with 以后 yi1hou4 (after).

我学了中国历史以后就想去中国。wo3 xue2 le Zhong1guo2 li4shi3 yi3hou4  jiu4  xiang3 qu4 Zhong1guo2.

就 is also used to link two verb phrases to signal a relationship of sequence between them. It has the meaning of ‘then'.

他如果喝醉了我们就送她回家。ta1 ru2guo4 he1zui4 (to get drunk) le, wo3men jiu4 (then) song4 ta1 hui2 jia1. Note the V-le structure  喝醉了.

她很聪明。一学就会。She is really smart. As soon as she studies it, she gets it.

Note words meaning ‘then' : 就 (then), 才 (only then), 再 (then)

要是你不舒服,那么就别来了。lit: if you not well, in-that-case then don't come le.

他做完了功课才上楼去睡觉。ta1 zuo4 wan3 le gong1ke4 cai2 shang4 lou2 qu4 shui4jiao4. lit: she do finish le homework only-then step upstairs go sleep.

Use 就 to complete a series of action verbs:

她洗了脸,刷了牙,脱了衣服,就上床睡觉去了。ta1 xi3 le lian3, shua1 le ya2, tuo1 le yi1fu, jiu shang chuang2 shui4jiao4 qu4 le. lit: she washed face, brushed teeth, took-off clothes, then get-on bed sleep go.

Use 再 to mean ‘then' in making requests  relating to naturally projected rather than completed action:

茶刚泡上,闷一会儿再喝。cha2 gang1 pao4 shang4, men1 yi1huir4 zai4 he1.

lit: tea just steeped, brew a while then drink.

2. When就appears before a verb, it conveys the meaning of uniqueness. In many cases, it means ‘only'.

我就有一块钱。

In some contexts, 就 conveys precise identification of a noun phrase.

我就是。

If the noun phrase is a specifier (这,那) or a directional expression, 就 means ‘right' or ‘precisely'.

图书馆在那那儿? 就在火车站的对面。

3. 就 usually precedes negation, but it may also follow negation e.g.

这件事情不就是我一个人知道。Zhe4 jian4 shi4qing bu4 jiu4 (only) shi4 wo3 yi1 ge4 ren2 zhi1dao5. This matter it is not just I who knows.

4.   就 (only/just) can be used interchangeably with 只。In the sentence above, 只 can be used instead of 就 i.e. 这件事情不只是我一个人知道。

5。When 就 is used with 要 (planned probability meaning ‘about to') 就 has the meaning of ‘soon'.

火车就要开了。lit: train soon about-to start (leave). The train is about to leave.

6. 就 also used as a marker of immediacy:

我就来。I'll be right there.

7. 就 meaning ‘according to'

就我来说,还是不去好。lit: according-to I come say, still not go good. In my view, it is best not to go.

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

I have made some new examples.  I hope someone can take a look at them because there almost certainly mistakes.  Thanks for any help.

我造了些新例子.因为我几乎肯定犯错了,所以我希望牟人能看一下.谢谢你们的帮助.

1) Present Tense

我经常画画儿。

2) Present Continuous Tense

我正在写博客。

他在给他打电话。


3) Present Perfect Tense

我吃过那种菜。

他们来过了我老家。

4) Present Perfect Continuous Tense

我最近在帮我爸爸。(Actually, I would like to qualify this sentence, i.e "lately I have been helping my father a lot," but I don't know how.

我最近在打游戏。


5) Past Tense

我收到了他给我寄封信。

我买了台新电脑。

6) Past Continuous Tense

那时我正在备备课。

我当时正在做饭。


7) Past Perfect Tense
我那时已经毕业了。

我那时已经告诉他了。

8) Past Perfect Continuous Tense

那时我一直在准备到中国去。

她那是一直盼望结婚。

9) Future Tense

他们马上去买东西。

大学将会举行跑步比赛。

10) Future Continuous Tense
我那时在吃饭。Does anybody know if this is right?  I want to say, "At that time I will be eating (food)."

11) Future Perfect Tense

 我6点会听完ChinesePod的MP三。

我明天会把责任做完。

12) Future Perfect Continuous Tense
到8点的时候,我就练习了8个小时汉语了。

到那时,我已经吃了半天饭了。

到下个月,我已经学了两年汉语了。

到二月,我已经住在上海四年了。 (I'm especially curious to know if this is right.  I want to say, "As of next February, I will have been living in Shanghai for four years.)

 

 

 

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aaaaz says link to this comment
July 27, 2009

Dear changye ,some of your opinions are right but some may be wrong.

你认为“着”是表示一种状态,那是对的。但是我们中国人对用不用“着”字还是不在乎的。

如:“门是开的”就 等于(=)“门是开着的”

另外,我很抱歉说下面的:

 你所说的(a)(b)(c)三个句子,“着”可以不加。

所以 xiaophil,你以后少用“着”试试,这样你的句子可能会更好。

 

If you have some words do not understand,please tell me,I'll help you.

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lujiaojie says link to this comment
July 28, 2009

1) Present Tense
我经常画画儿。(OK)

2) Present Continuous Tense
我正在写博客。(OK)
他在给他打电话。(OK)


3) Present Perfect Tense
我吃过那种菜。(OK)
他们来过了我老家。 should be 他们来过我的老家了。

4) Present Perfect Continuous Tense
我 最近在帮我爸爸。(OK)(i.e "lately I have been helping my father a lot," could be 我最近在帮我爸爸做很多事, but sounds a little bit weird, not very natural)
我最近在打游戏。(OK)

5) Past Tense
我收到了他给我寄封信。should be 我收到了他寄给我的一封信。
我买了台新电脑。(OK)

6) Past Continuous Tense
那时我正在备备课。should be 那时我正在备课。 If there is a clear time word, like 那时, 三点, 下午, you should not use a reduplicated verb.
我当时正在做饭。(OK)

7) Past Perfect Tense
我那时已经毕业了。(OK)
我那时已经告诉他了。(OK)

8) Past Perfect Continuous Tense
那时我一直在准备到中国去。(OK)
她那时一直盼望结婚。(OK)

9) Future Tense
他们马上去买东西。(OK)
大学将会举行跑步比赛。(OK)

10) Future Continuous Tense
我那时在吃饭。"At that time I will be eating (food)."  那时我可能在吃饭。sounds more natural.

11) Future Perfect Tense
我6点会听完ChinesePod的MP3。(OK)
我明天会把责任做完。should be 我明天会把工作做完。 or 我明天会完成任务。责任 is abstract, so can not 做完。

12) Future Perfect Continuous Tense
到8点的时候,我就练习了8个小时汉语了。(OK) Maybe it's a good translation, but actually, we never say like this.
到那时,我已经吃了半天饭了。(OK) Maybe it's a good translation, but actually, we never say like this.
到下个月,我已经学了两年汉语了。(OK)
到二月,我已经住在上海四年了。should be 到二月,我就在上海住了四年了。You should not add a time word after 住在。

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lujiaojie says link to this comment
July 28, 2009

 xiaophil:

你上面的新句子已经写得很好了,你学得很快!我只改了一点点。

"在看书" connotes "action in progress", and “看着书” connotes more of a feeling "continuing of situation/action". (correct)


About 着:
Some verbs are not continuous, so you can't say "在...". For example, 老师站着,学生坐着。can not be 老师在站,学生在坐。

We always say 空调开着-the air conditioner is on," to show its status.

空调在开,sounds like 空调 can turn on by itself.

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 28, 2009

lujiaojie

Thanks.  Very helpful.  Can we ever add 在 before verbs that have no objects?

我在去。(Confusing.  Sounds like 我再来)

我在来。(Also confusing)

我在听。

我在准备。(This seams okay to me.  Maybe because there are two syllables?)

我在洗。

Maybe it just is that in most situations verbs require an object.  However, all of these situations might be replies to somebody on the phone who says, "你在干什么?”.

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 28, 2009

lujiaojie (or anybody else)

How would you translate these in a more natural way?

到8点的时候,我就练习了8个小时汉语了。(OK) Maybe it's a good translation, but actually, we never say like this.
到那时,我已经吃了半天饭了。(OK) Maybe it's a good translation, but actually, we never say like this.

lujiaojie, you have been too helpful.  辛苦你了。

 

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lujiaojie says link to this comment
July 28, 2009

Yeah, we can add 在 before verbs that have no objects. It depends on the context. For example:

A: 你在听MP3吗?
B:对,我在听。

A:你在准备晚饭吗?
B:是啊,我在准备。

A:你在洗衣服吗?
B:我在洗。

我在去。and 我在来。are not good. You can say:

A:你在哪儿?
B:我在去学校的路上。

About “来” and "去:

A:你来我家吧。(A 在自己家)
B:好,我去你家。(B在别的地方)

A:你去过中国吗?(A不在中国)
B:我去过。(B也不在中国)

A:你以前来过中国吗?(A在中国)
B:以前没来过。(B也在中国)

 


 

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lujiaojie says link to this comment
July 28, 2009

到8点的时候,我就练习了8个小时汉语了。
到那时,我已经吃了半天饭了。

Xiaophil, although these are translated 'correctly', most Chinese don't actually think in this way, therefore saying such things is very strange for us. Hence if you were to say it, people would look at you funnily.

Matt 说:

As we mentioned before, language and culture are intertwined, therefore one must gain a better understanding of the culture in order to start thinking in the language. Mentally translating back and forth will cause you more strain in the long run - for example if you directly translate an English idiom into Chinese, people may not understand you. So you have to find a Chengyu (or other Chinese idioms) that will have the same effect on your Chyinese audience that the English idiom has on the Western audience. How can you choose? by having a grasp of each culture.

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 28, 2009

Matt

Okay, thanks for the advice.  I know you are trying to help.  But really, why am I getting this advice about culture 'again'?  Just to let you know, I perhaps love learning Chinese culture more than I like learning Chinese.  Besides ChinesePod, I have a fairly advanced textbook that I learn both Mandarin and Chinese culture at the same time. I often talk to Chinese people about their culture in Chinese and English.  I often study Chinese idioms even though I find them very difficult.  (In addition, I also have other studying approaches that are less related to culture.)  I feel like ChinesePod is suggesting that because I want to find my mistakes in a systematic way, that means I have a narrow, clumsy approach to learning.  I'm sorry if I am testy, but I feel like I have been treated like a first-week newbie speaker who has just jumped off the boat in China, who doesn't have his own language learning experiences and who has never talked to or seen a Chinese person in his life.  I get it.  We think differently in English than Chinese do in Mandarin.

By the way, I'm annoyed.  Not angry.

PS: Actually, I am following your advice.  I am trying to learn how natives would actually say something.  This is the whole point of this exercise: to inch closer to saying something natural.  So when I ask a native speaker how they would say something, I think it is strange to get an answer that says, "Study more culture."  Isn't that what I'm doing?

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zhenlijiang says link to this comment
July 28, 2009

Many (I'd like to say 'most', but am not sure) of us get it already that Chinese and English thinking are different and that some things you just don't say in Chinese. I'm constantly telling Japanese clients of mine "We don't say that in English!".

It would be helpful in these discussions or elsewhere if points like this ☟ from Jiaojie 老师's last post were highlighted or something. These we learners always want to know and need to have pointed out to us.

到8点的时候,我就练习了8个小时汉语了。
到那时,我已经吃了半天饭了。

Xiaophil, although these are translated 'correctly', most Chinese don't actually think in this way, therefore saying such things is very strange for us. Hence if you were to say it, people would look at you funnily.

This is not at all to criticize Jiaojie's response and helpful attitude re translation of these sentences, but I think it would be good to let us understand this when the question is first asked.

I've said this already, but I wish people didn't have to feel like they need to apologize or defend themselves for trying to be clear about something or asking questions (CPod is a learning place, right?).

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 28, 2009

Yeah, I want to say that lujiaojie's work has been outstanding (and as well as others).  As a customer, I do expect some kind of response.  To be honest, though, I pay so little that I kind of don't expect a all-out effort. Nevertheless, ChinesePod's attention to customer service has been very good.  Even though I laid down a little rant on Matt, I know he means well, and I think he is doing good work here.  I think what we have here is one drawback of this kind of online learning, i.e. the staff/teachers don't know their students except through the comments they read here.  Matt probably at least thinks he has me slightly figured out as a student, and is giving me advice accordingly.  But to be honest, after already getting and replying to this advice, the second time it feels a bit patronizing, even if that isn't what was intended.

zhenlijiang

You always have good insights.  Thanks for throwing in your 2 cents.

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changye says link to this comment
July 29, 2009

Hi xiaophil

Once you upload a thread, it's not only for you and the people who post a comment here, but it's for all the poddies who read comments in this thread. Therefore, you sometimes need to repeat something you mentioned in other thread for the sake of all the other poddies, which I think is a reason why Matt repeated the "culture" remark here.

Personally I very much like this series of threads, but at the same time, I know very well what Matt and lujiaojie mean. As zhenlijiang said above, owing to these threads, I realized again the difference between Chinese and English. In a sense, Chinese is a language that is rather sloppy about "tense", and this influences the way of (linguistic) thinking of speakers.

到8点的时候,我就练习了8个小时汉语了。
到那时,我已经吃了半天饭了。

Xiaophil, although these are translated 'correctly', most Chinese don't actually think in this way, therefore saying such things is very strange for us. Hence if you were to say it, people would look at you funnily.

For me, this answer is very honest and useful. In short, you can't properly translate something that doesn't exist, hehe. Having said that, I suppose the two translations can also be "properly/naturally" used in a given (rare) context and situation, perhaps. Anyway, these threads are very educational for me, because thanks to you I learned a lot about Chinese tense and aspect!

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xiaophil says link to this comment
July 29, 2009

changye

Good point. This is not just my private lesson here.  (Although, it did at least appear to be directed towards me.) I know that I shouldn't take things too seriously.  Matt and the rest of ChinesePod are just trying to help us.

That said, the anti-grammar element of ChinesePod is a bit annoying.  We may learn best in "chunks," but grammar still has its uses.

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