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Introducing the time-measure complement

In this video, the time-measure complement will be explained by Dr Li.

In this video we learn the time-measure complement, “Shíliàng bǔyǔ”. If we want to indicate the duration of an action or state,we can use the time-measure complement. For example:

Wang Xiaobao took a plane for two hours.

We can translate it into Chinese in the following three ways:

王小宝坐了两个小时。
Wáng Xiǎobǎo zuò le liǎngge xiǎoshí.

王小宝坐了两个小时(的)飞机。
Wáng Xiǎobǎo zuò le liǎngge xiǎoshí(de)fēijī.

王小宝坐飞机坐了两个小时。
Wáng Xiǎobǎo zuòfēijī zuòle liǎngge xiǎoshí.

The structures of these sentences are:

S + Verb + “le” + time-measure complement” (No object)

S + (Verb) + “le” + Time-measure Complement +(的)+ O (have an object)

S + (Verb) + O + Repeated Verb + “le” + Time-measure Complement.
(have an object).

These three structures are all forms of time-measure complements. You can use any of them to indicate the duration of an action or a state. But pay attention to the fact that only the durations can be used as time-measure complements, such as “liǎngge xiǎoshí” .

The interrogative form of the time-measure complement often uses the phrase “多长时间duō cháng shíjiān”(How long).

丽丽吃饭吃了多长时间?
Lìli chīfàn chī le duōcháng shíjiān?
How long did Lily eat?

丽丽吃饭吃了十五分钟。
Lìli chīfàn chī le shíwǔ fēnzhōng.
Lily ate for fifteen minutes.

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

西西:王小宝,你昨天怎么没来图书馆?

王小宝:我昨天在家看京剧。

西西: 哇!京剧有意思吗?

王小宝:有意思!我昨天看了一天!你呢?你昨天做了什么?

西西:我昨天睡了一个上午,然后吃饭吃了半个小时。吃完饭我去了图书馆,做作业做了一个下午。真累啊!

Xīxi: why didn’t you come to the library yesterday?

Wáng Xiǎobǎo: I watched Beijing Opera at home yesterday.

Xīxi: Wow! Do you find Beijing Opera interesting?

Wáng Xiǎobǎo: Yes! I have watched it a whole day. What did you do yesterday?

Xīxi: I slept till the noon. Then I had lunch for half an hour. After lunch, I went to the library, doing my homework for the whole afternoon. How tired I am!

© Shanghai International Studies University

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Learn Chinese: Introduction to Chinese Grammar

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