Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only. T&Cs apply

Find out more

Introducing the use of adverbs “才” and “就”

In this video, Dr Li will introduce the use of adverbs “才” and “就”.

In this video we discuss the usage of adverbs “就jiù” and “才cái”.

“就jiù” usually indicates something is done early or quickly, while “才cái” usually indicates something is done late or slowly.

  • subject + measure word + 就(jiù)+ verb +了

We put “就” before the verb to emphasize somebody finished doing something quickly than expected or in a short time. Please notice that “quickly than expected or in a short time” is the speaker’s subjective view. For example:


Xīxi yītiān jiù kànwán yīběn shū le.

If the speaker thought it would be quick or in a short time to finish a book in only one day,he could add “就”before the verb. Notice that we always use “了”at the end of the sentence when we use “就”. Similarly,this structure can also emphasize somebody finished doing something earlier than expected,for example:

我今天早上六点就起床了。Wǒ jīntiān zǎoshàng liùdiǎn jiù qǐchuáng le.

  • subject + measure word +才 (cái)+ verb

“才” can express the opposite. We put “才” before the verb to emphasize somebody finished doing something slowly than one would think.


Similarly,“王小宝今天早上九点才起床。Wáng xiǎobǎo jīntiān zǎoshàng jiǔdiǎn cái qǐchuáng. ” Means Wang xiaobao got up later than expected.

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







Xīxi:Today is Sunday. I don’t get up until ten o’clock, and you?

Wáng xiǎobǎo:I got up at seven o’clock because I’m going to the library.

Xīxi:Is the library far from your home?

Wáng xiǎobǎo:It’s a far from my home, about an hour’s subway.

Xīxi:Oh, it’s really far away. The library is near my home, about fifteen minutes’ bike.

Wáng xiǎobǎo:Ah, it’s so convenient!

© Shanghai International Studies University

This article is from the free online

Learn Chinese: Introduction to Chinese Grammar

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now