Say It Right Series
speak chinese like a native

A question about our pesky friend 了

Posted by xiaophil December 16, 2009 in the Group I Have a Question.

Tags: 了, 过

I recently wrote the following:

我和我老婆今年夏天去过欧洲,我们到几个国家去。

I fretted a bit as to whether I should include 了 somewhere in the sentence.  It seems to me that 了 only goes with 去 to emphasize new information to the reader/listener but not to express the action is complete (somewhat similar to the past tense).   I also felt that because I clearly established that the action happened in the past (今年夏天) it isn't needed.  Can anyone clarify this for me?

Extra question: is 过 appropriate here?  The first time I learned this word, I was told that it is similar to 'before', but it seems to me sometimes emphasizes that the action occured some time before.

Second extra question: do Chinese people ever say 上个夏天, as in 'last summer'?  It seems to me they don't, but sometimes I say it anyway out of habit.

 

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