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Making Sense of Grammar
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What is the function of the adverb CAI (才)?  
asked Mar 21, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (23,690 points)
edited Mar 27, 2018 by admin

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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 (23,690 points)
edited Apr 26, 2018 by admin
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