City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
1 like 0 dislike
164 views
What is the function of the adverb CAI (才)?  
asked Mar 21, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (25,240 points)
edited Mar 27, 2018 by admin | 164 views

1 Answer

0 like 0 dislike

The main function of the adverb c´ai (才) is to signal an exclusive condition.

For instance, the sentence 你去我才去 (n˘ı q`u w˘o c´ai q`u/ I will go only if you go.) implies that there is only one situation in which the speaker would agree to go.

Therefore, c´ai (才) can be used in counter-expectational Linking.

→  他敢吃,我才敢吃 (tā gǎn chī,wǒ cái gǎn chī/ I won't eat it unless he eats it.)

c´ai (才) also suggests a sense of lateness of the event that should have taken place sooner.

→  他明天才來 (t¯a m´ıngtian c´ai l´ai/ He will not come until tomorrow.)

Reference: Chinese: a linguistic introduction by Chao Fen Sun

answered Mar 21, 2018 by admin (25,240 points)
edited Apr 26, 2018 by admin

871 questions

1,106 answers

4 comments

5,514 users

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