speak chinese like a native

Really confused about tenses and use of participles,the conditional and subjunctive?

Posted by EmmaLouise1 March 29, 2010 in the Group General Discussion .

I've trying for aaaages to grasp the concepts of tenses in Chinese but I just honestly cannot understand at all >.< In European languages, I can get that fine. I mean, I've just completed making a verb/tense table in Spanish of (I think) all the possible tenses in Spanish (there's about 18 entries). I then tried to do the same for Chinese, using the same tense headings. I know what you're thinking, I was perhaps stupid trying to compare Chinese alongside a romance language :P So needless to say I've been totally stuck >.<

To help, I also used the sentences that xiaophil posted in his post The Final Grammar Result but I'm still finding things hard to grasp >.< From my understanding, what determines a tense is a particle in each sentence. So this is what I've got so far:


  • 我看
  • I read
  • No particle needed
Present Continuous
  • I am reading
  • 在 indicates an action is ongoing at that time
Present Perfect
  • I have read
  • 过 indicates the action has been experienced in the past
Present Perfect  Continuous
(I wasn't really sure what to put for this one)
  • 我看了
  • I read ('red' not reed' - past)
  • 了 indicates a completed action
So are those tenses right? Because after I got to past I really coudln't figure out any particular particle I was meant to use :/ From what I saw in various books, you just pick a word, like when forming the future, just add in 'tonight'/'tomorrow' or something. So do you basically make up the rest of the tenses or is there a set way that I've missed?
I'd be really really really grateful if someone could help me out ^_^ these tenses have been driving me insane for ages and I can't work them out >.<
Another quick question, is there such thing as the conditional, subjunctive, present participles or past participles as there are in Spanish? Also the imperative, would you form it just like 看 and then an exclamation mark to show the order? 
I'd be really grateful for any help on tenses! 

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