Chinese Calligraphy



Lesson 15

The verbal suffix 過 (guò)

In Lesson 14 we learned that for expressing actions that were completed in the past but have an influence on the present, we use the particle 了 (le). Instead of using 了 (le) after the verb, you can also use the verbal suffix 過 (guò). Compared to 了 (le), the verbal suffix 過 (guò) emphasises the experiential aspect of an action. The verbal suffix 過 (guò) immediately follows the verb.

The verbal suffix 過 (guò) is used in situations where you talk about actions or experiences you do not perform on a regular basis. Such actions or experiences would translate as "have ever before" and in the negation as "have not yet".

過 (guò)

Note that 過 (guò) can only be used for actions which might be repeatable:

過 (guò)

But not for one-off actions:

One-off actions

There are also situations where the verbal suffix 過 (guò) and also the particle 了 (le) are used. This is the case when the action of the sentence reflects an experience (過) but was also closed and bounded in the past in its entirety (了).

過 (guò) or 了 (le)

Differences in meaning between 過 (guò) and 了 (le)

The following examples show you the differences in meaning between 過 (guò) and 了 (le).

Differences

The verb 去 (qù)

The verb 去 (qù) indicates motion away from the speaker. The motion terminates at a particular place. The verb 去 (qù) is often accompanied by the coverb 到 (dào).

去 (qù)

The verb 去 (qù) sometimes in combination with the coverb (坐) zuò indicates transportation away from the speaker.

去 (qù)

The verb 去 (qù) can also be part of directional compounds (DC) and directional verbs (DV) which indicate that the action is moving away from the speaker.

去 (qù)

If directional compounds (DC) or directional verbs (DV) are used together with an object, the object is often inserted between the DC or DV.

去 (qù)

The verb 走 (zǒu)

The verb 走 (zǒu) describes a movement towards a direction, whereas the verb 去 (qù) describes the way to a particular location, e.g. 我去商店買些東西 (I go to the store to buy some things).

走 (zǒu)

The verb 來 (lái)

The verb 來 (lái) is used in the same way as the verb 去 (qù) but indicates motion towards the speaker. The verb 來 (lái) is often accompanied by the coverb 從 (cóng).

來 (lái)

The verb 來 (lái) sometimes in combination with the coverb (坐) zuò indicates transportation towards the speaker.

來 (lái)

The verb 來 (lái) can also be part of directional compounds (DC) and directional verbs (DV) which indicate that the action is moving towards the speaker.

來 (lái)

If directional compounds (DC) or directional verbs (DV) are used together with an object, the object is often inserted between the DC or DV.

來 (lái)

Stressing actions using the 是...的 pattern

For emphasising a particular part within a sentence, we use the 是...的 pattern. We place 是 before the beginning of the part we want to emphasise and 的 at the end of the sentence or after the main verb.

Stressing actions