City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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Why is the sentence 怎麼就只來了三個人? acceptable, while *怎麼才只來了三個人? is not?
asked Mar 29, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (25,520 points)
edited Apr 26, 2018 by admin | 550 views

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zhī (只) has similar meaning with jiù (就) in terms of the limiting of the number. They are hence semantically compatible. Therefore, the sentence "怎麼就只來了三個人?" is acceptable.


c´ai (才) has additional meaning of counter expectation. It is semantically incompatible with zhī (只) . Therefore, the sentence "怎麼才只來了三個人" is unacceptable.

answered Mar 29, 2018 by admin (25,520 points)
edited Mar 29, 2018 by admin
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One does not know how many people will come, one already knows the number of people coming

answered Mar 14, 2019 by 118030100407dgx (260 points)

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