City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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What is the difference between 你昨天為什麼不去參加婚禮 and 你昨天為什麼沒去參加婚禮?
asked Jan 17, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (23,690 points)
edited Apr 25, 2018 by admin

1 Answer

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The negator bú (不) in the sentence 你昨天為什麼不去參加婚禮 (nǐ zuó tiān wèi shén me bú qù cān jiā hūn lǐ) negates the subject's intention/willingness of going to the wedding. bú (不) is used to negate anything other than eventive actualization, and the semantic meaning of the sentence is "Why didn’t you want to go to the wedding yesterday?"

However, the negator méi (沒) in the sentence 你昨天為什麼沒去參加婚禮 (nǐ zuó tiān wèi shén me méi qù cān jiā hūn lǐ) negates the actualization of the event of going. Semantically, the sentence means "Why didn’t you go to the wedding yesterday?"

answered Jan 17, 2018 by admin (23,690 points)
edited Apr 25, 2018 by admin
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