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Making Sense of Grammar
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asked May 8 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Mickey (3,740 points) | 73 views

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Is the sentence “我(wǒ)喝(hē)茶(chá)”(I drink tea) right?

No, it is wrong. The reason is that this sentence is only a concept rather than an event. Every event that happens in the reality should contain the concept of tense. Therefore, it would be right to speak sentences as follows:

我(wǒ)   昨(zuó)天(tiān)    喝(hē)了(le)    茶(chá)

I               yeaterday            drank           tea

(I drank tea yesterday.)

我(wǒ)   正(zhèng)在(zài)    喝(hē)      茶(chá)

I                     am              drinking        tea

You can see that the above examples contain the explicit tense such as “yesterday”, “is doing”, which indicates the event happened/ is happening/ will happen in the real world.

However, there is one circumstance that the tense is implicit. When speaker mentions the words as follows, the grammar is also right.

我(wǒ)     喜(xǐ)欢(huan)     喝(hē)     茶(chá)

I       like   drinking   tea

我(wǒ)     讨(tǎo)厌(yàn)     喝(hē)     茶(chá)

I       hate   drinking   tea

In these above sentences, the verbs show a stable state, which can be understood as the events happen from the past to the future. Therefore, the concept of tense is implicit.

Tips:

As a Chinese learner, you can remember these structure and add them into your sentences to make the tense clear:

1. If you want to describe the event happen before, the structure is:

“S+Time+V了(le)+O”

我(wǒ)    昨(zuó)天(tiān)    买(mǎi)了(le)    衣(yī)服(fu)

I                 yesterday           bought           clothes

(I bought clothes yesterday)

2. If you want to describe the event happening now, the structure is:

“S+正(zhèng)在(zài)+V+O”

他(tā)    正(zhèng)在(zài)    写(xiě)    文(wén)章(zhāng)

He                  is                 writing           essay

3. If you want to describe the event that will happen in the future, the structure is:

“S+(time)要(yào)/将(jiāng)/打(dǎ)算(suàn)+V+O”

我(wǒ)     要(yào)/将(jiāng)/打(dǎ)算(suàn)     参(cān)加(jiā)    会(huì)议(yì)

I                          will/plan to                               attend         conference
answered Jul 17 by Mickey (3,740 points)

871 questions

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871 questions
1,106 answers
4 comments
5,514 users