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The usage of “了”

This is the video about the usage of “了”.
Welcome to my Chinese class. Let’s see what Xīxi did yesterday morning. Zǎoshang,Xīxi hē le yìbēi niúnǎi.
chī le liǎnggè miànbāo.
chī le yígè píngguǒ.
Have you noticed that le is used several times here? This is the grammar we are going to learn, using the particle le after verbs to indicate completion of an action. For example, Wǒ hē le yìbēi niúnǎi. means I drank a glass of milk. If we don’t use le means I am going to drink a glass of milk. The structure is subject plus verb plus le plus attribute plus object. Please note the object needs an attribute such as a measure-word, adjective, or a pronoun.
Tā hē le yìbēi niúnǎi.
Tā mǎi le hěn duō dōngxi.
Tā diū le tā de shǒujī .
Without an attribute, the sentence is not complete. For example, Xīxi hē le niúnǎi. we needed to add more information. We can say, Xīxi hē le niúnǎi jiù qù xuéxiào le.
Please rearrange the following sentences into the right order. Tā mǎi le piàoliang de qúnzi.
Tā xǐ le sān jiàn yīfu.
Now let’s listen to a dialogue to end the lesson. Wáng Xiǎobǎo, shàng zhōumò nǐ gàn le shénme? Wǒ hé péngyou qù le Rénmín Guǎngchǎng,hái kàn le diànyǐng.
Wǒ shàngzhōumò yě kàn le diànyǐng,hái chī le Sìchuāncài. Sìchuāncài zěnmeyàng Yǒudiǎnr là,dànshì hěn hǎochī

In this video we discuss the usage of the particle “了” after verbs to indicate completion of an action.

It’s similar to the past tense in English. For example: “我喝了一杯牛奶。Wǒ hē le yìbēi niúnǎi. ” means“I drank a glass of milk. ”

The structure is:

“Subject + Verb + 了 +Attribute+ Object”

Please notice that the object needs an Attribute,such as a measure-word, an adjective or a pronoun. For example:


Tā hē le yìbēi niúnǎi. She drank a glass of milk.

“一杯”is a measure-word.


Tā mǎi le hěn duō dōngxi.

She bought a lot of things.

“很多”is an adjective.


Tā diū le tā de shǒujī. She lost her cell phone.

“她的”is a pronoun.

Well,you can try to use “了”to answer the question “你今天做了什么?what did you do today?”

The following is Chinese and English Version of Situational Dialogue in the Video:






Xīxi:Wang Xiaobao, what did you do last weekend?

Wáng Xiǎobǎo:I went to the People’s Square with my friends and watched a movie.

Xīxi:I also watched a movie last weekend and ate Sichuan food.

Wáng Xiǎobǎo:How about Sichuan food?

Xīxi:It’s a bit spicy, but delicious!

© Shanghai International Studies University

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Learn Chinese: Introduction to Chinese Grammar

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